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Wells couple seeks restraining order

By Staff | Jun 21, 2010

Zoa Heckman

A Wells couple is going to court to make sure a city official keeps his distance.

Jim and Zoa Heckman filed a petition for a harassment restraining order against Councilman Mike Weber on April 30.

Faribault County authorities served Weber the petition on the same day.

Weber’s attorney, Donald Savelkoul of Albert Lea, filed a request for a hearing on the matter on June 7.

Court officials have set a hearing for Aug. 5.

Weber called any allegations made in the petition “unfounded” and will be proven untrue at the hearing.

“The allegations are based on rumors and hearsay,” he says. “It’s a smear campaign. An attempt to discredit me for re-election which is just right around the corner.”

Claims made by the Heckmans, adds Weber, also implicate other city employees, councilmembers and the city attorney.

“I think they have a stake in this too,” he says.

Zoa Heckman is the city’s former community development director, while her husband serves on the Economic Development Authority board and is president of Paragon Bank.

The petition states there is an immediate and present danger of harassment to justify temporary relief.

The Heckmans contend that Weber has:

• followed, pursued or stalked them;

• made threats;

• frightened them with threatening behavior.

“The harassment has or is intended to have a substantial adverse affect on petitioners’ safety, security or privacy,” say court papers.

The Heckmans met with Deb Weiderhoft, Faribault County Victim Services program coordinator, on April 28 to see what steps needed to be taken for getting a restraining order.

Jim Heckman says Weber began harassing his family on or before January 2008 and it continues.

“I have no reason to believe that this behavior will change without help,” says Heckman.

He says his wife’s personality changed radically in July 2009 and he convinced her to seek medical attention. She started receiving therapy up until January of this year, but remains on medication.

“Her fear of leaving the house and talking with others was escalating,” Heckman says in court papers.

Court documents say Heckman met with Police Chief Jim Ratelle to get a permit in order to purchase a handgun. He also bought his wife mace and pepper spray for protection.

The Heckmans are asking that Weber not harass or have any contact with them and stay away from their home.

The petition requests the restraining order remain in effect until April 30, 2012, unless changed by a court order.