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Restraining order hasnít ended feud
Council member, business owner battle continues

by Regional News Staff

August 25, 2011

Ruth Hackman
The battle between Lake Geneva City Council member Frank Marsala and Aerial Stunt Kites owner Ruth Hackman appears to be raging on.

About two years after a Walworth County court commissioner granted restraining orders to Marsala and Hackman, the two are in court again, this time regarding a July 21 incident that resulted in both receiving disorderly conduct citations.

Marsala runs the American Legion Canteen across Wrigley Drive from Hackman's store and was called a bully by County Court Commissioner Kristine Drettwan in August 2009 when she granted the four-year long restraining orders.

Until July 21, it appeared as though things had quieted down.

But, according to a Walworth County Sheriff's Department report obtained from Central Records, Hackman called police at about 2:30 p.m. that Thursday.

Hackman, 65, said that earlier, while she was talking to a neighbor, Marsala took a photograph of her and when she saw him, he "slinked" away. She said she believed it was harassment for her to have her picture taken by Marsala.

Marsala, 67, told police he did take a photo of Hackman because she has a video camera aimed at his store and she has repeatedly called the health inspector on him. Marsala said there was a complete investigation of his stand when Hackman had complained about diapers being changed in the "store."

Marsala said at no time have diapers been changed in the food stand and that he received a "clean bill" from the health inspector. He said he just recently received a second letter of an unauthorized person being in the cooking area of the food stand.

That complaint also was from Hackman, who sent the video to the health inspector. The officer at the scene decided both Hackman and Marsala were harassing each other and both were given citations.

Marsala said he understood and "had a good attitude" according to the officer's report.

Hackman was upset about this and again stated she only uses the cameras to catch "drug dealers" and people that speed down the alley the wrong direction. She said she would "see me in court," the report from the officer stated.

Both were in court on Aug. 10 for intake and are expected to be in court again on Wednesday, Sept. 21.

In August 2009, Drettwan called the situation "ridiculous" and called Marsala and business partner at the canteen Gonzalo Davila "bullies."

But she also said there was blame to go around.

"I truly believe you were harassed and intimidated, but that compounded and mushroomed in your mind and heart," Drettwan said in court to Hackman.

The bickering between the two parties has been ongoing for several years and stemmed from multiple complaints. Hackman previously claimed the two men had barked at her, pointed a rifle at her and called her a derogatory term regarding sexual orientation, set off car alarms and horns to disturb her, parked large vehicles in front of her store and would loudly play Rick James' "Super Freak" when she was outside.

Marsala and Davila denied those claims and Marsala said Hackman called him names in letters to the editor and in correspondence with city officials.

Hackman has called Marsala a "repo man," claimed he has "mob ties" and would bring "Chicago-style politics" to Lake Geneva. Marsala has never worked as a repo man and although he lived in Chicago he has never held public office there.

Hackman also called Marsala and Davila the "village idiots" and "illegals."

Lake Geneva Police were called to Hackman's business several times over the years, but her complaints were deemed unfounded.