Video emerges in case involving Fond du Lac ChairThe small fourth-floor court room of the Carlton County Courthouse was filled to capacity Wednesday morning for a hearing to consider a request for harassment/restraining orders against Fond du Lac Chairwoman Karen Diver and her mother, Faye Diver.
The small fourth-floor court room of the Carlton County Courthouse was filled to capacity Wednesday morning for a hearing to consider a request for harassment/restraining orders against Fond du Lac Chairwoman Karen Diver and her mother, Faye Diver.
John Henry McMillen, who filed the requests, had been granted temporary orders against the two women following an incident that occurred at Black Bear Casino Resort following Karen Diver’s State of the Band address in February.
According to reports forwarded to Carlton County Attorney Thom Pertler, police were called in response to an argument in the hallway outside a conference room at the casino resort. Pertler said McMillen claimed he had been physically assaulted by Faye Diver after he reportedly questioned Karen Diver’s status as an enrolled member of the Fond du Lac Band, adding that Karen had yelled threats at him as well.
Attorney Terry Port Wright, representing McMillen, told Macaulay that she had just become aware that a surveillance video from the casino resort documents the incident.
“I think it’s critical for both parties and the court to view the video before proceeding,” said Port Wright. “It may show the events that took place that night were as represented or it may show otherwise.”
Port Wright went on to indicate that Carlton County Attorney Thom Pertler had only viewed only a brief portion of the surveillance video before making his determination not to file criminal charges against Karen and Faye Diver.
In an earlier interview, Pertler stated he had viewed the surveillance video and determined it showed a verbal argument in the hallway and Karen Diver stepping between her mother and McMillen in what Pertler said “looked to be an effort to keep the peace.” Based on that, he said, he saw “nothing criminal in nature.”
Port Wright went on to request that Macaulay keep the temporary restraining orders in place and continue the hearing until a later date after all parties have had the opportunity to view the video.
Karen Diver, appearing in her own defense, requested that Wednesday’s hearing proceed as planned, however, since she said she had eye witnesses in attendance who she said “were within five feet of the incident” and who could attest to the events of the night.
Macaulay said he couldn’t make a decision regarding the cases until after the video is viewed.
“I choose to view the video in open court, not just in my chambers, so this case can hopefully start and conclude in one setting,” said Macaulay.
Until that time, Macaulay informed Karen and Faye Diver they still have the opportunity to consider if they want to be represented by attorneys and encouraged all parties to try to reach an “arm’s length” agreement in the case before the next hearing.
The hearing was subsequently set for 1:15 p.m. Friday, April 27. Port Wright requested a half day’s time for the hearing, indicating it would involve not only the viewing of the 20-minute video but likely the testimony of approximately eight witnesses.
Until that time, the judge ruled that the temporary restraining order remain in place but agreed to vacate the provision that prohibits both Divers from McMillen’s place of work, which is Black Bear Casino Resort. Port Wright said McMillen agrees to waive the clause as long as the women have no contact with him while there.
Following Wednesday’s court hearing, Karen Diver stated she feels the evidence in the surveillance video will speak for itself in vindicating any claims against her and her mother.
“I have nothing to fear from his [McMillen’s] allegations,” said Diver. “It’s all there, clear as a bell.”
McMillen was one of nine candidates running against Karen Diver for the post of tribal chairperson in Tuesday’s Fond du Lac Primary, though he was unsuccessful in his bid. Diver, along with challenger Peter DeFoe, will continue to the general election in June. (Editor’s note: See “Fond du Lac primary election narrows the field” on Page 1 for more.)