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Porter County labor dispute escalates with business owner facing contempt of court charge
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Porter County

Porter County labor dispute escalates with business owner facing contempt of court charge

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Courts again say the word 'stalking' is going too far in in Porter County labor dispute

A Liberty Township excavating company has been ordered by the courts to remove signs accusing a local union of stalking his family.

VALPARAISO — The owner of a Liberty Township excavating company faces a contempt charge on allegations of failing to comply with a court order to remove a sign accusing a local union of stalking his family.

Dick Davis was ordered March 1 by Porter Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Clymer to remove the sign, but he told a police officer handing him the temporary restraining order a couple of days later that his attorney had told him to disregard the order, according to court records.

The International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150 filed a motion to show cause why Davis & Sons Excavating "should not be held in contempt for their willful violation of the temporary restraining order."

During a hearing on the case Friday, Davis admitted to lying to the judge under oath when asked if he received the temporary restraining order, according to a transcript of the hearing.

Davis at first denied receiving the order, according to the transcript. But after it was pointed out to the judge by the union's attorney, Ken Elwood, that there is a police report verifying he received the document, Davis reportedly changed his story.

"OK. OK. I'll stop. Yes," he said, according to the transcript.

"So what you just said to me was false, and you're under oath?" Clymer said.

"I'm under oath, and yes, I did make a false statement," Davis said. "Yes, I was informed."

"Why should I not hold you in contempt for disregarding my order?" Clymer asked.

"Why? Maybe you should," Davis replied. "I'm not here to dishonor you."

Clymer scheduled a hearing for 1 p.m. Monday to address Davis and his attorney failing to comply with the order to remove the sign.

"I don't appreciate you standing here and lying to me," Clymer said, according to the transcript. "Do you understand that if you lie to me, bad things happen to you?"

Clymer went on Friday to grant a request from the Indiana Department of Transportation to order Davis to remove boulders his business had placed around its mailbox at 155 W. U.S. 6.

"The boulders are a nuisance ... and pose a serious danger to Indiana motorists, including the risk of property damage, serious injury or death," according to the state's motion.

INDOT says it had the company remove a fence from along the highway in early November and recently was forced to remove several large boulders and concrete barriers from the same location when the owner refused. The items have been placed where union members have picketed the business.

Clymer said he plans Monday to consider making the order permanent and granting a request to have Davis pick up the legal costs.

Gallery: Recent arrests booked into Porter County Jail

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Porter/LaPorte County Courts and Social Justice Reporter

Bob is a 23-year veteran of The Times. He covers county government and courts in Porter County, federal courts, police news and regional issues. He also created the Vegan in the Region blog, is an Indiana University grad and lifelong region resident.

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