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Eau Claire billionaire John Menard sued by ex-business partner

Judge's Gavel By Brian Turner (Flickr: My Trusty Gavel) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Judge's Gavel By Brian Turner (Flickr: My Trusty Gavel) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

EAU CLAIRE, WI (WTAQ) - A former business partner is suing Eau Claire billionaire John Menard.

Tomisue Hilbert claims that the home improvement magnate pressured her for sex, and later retaliated by firing her husband and filing suits against them and their friends.

The 43-year-old Hilbert filed her suit in Hamilton County Indiana. She accused Menard of extortion, battery, assault, and a breach of fiduciary duty for firing her husband Steve as the CEO of a private equity firm that Menard and the Hilberts started in 2005 in Indianapolis.

Menard’s attorney denies any inappropriate conduct. He said that in February, a court banned the Hilberts from managing the company’s private equity funds in Wisconsin.

The suit claimed that the 73-year-old Menard wanted him and his wife to have sex with Tomisue Hilbert in 2011 at her home in the Caribbean – and he allegedly made several other requests.

Monday, the Indianapolis Business Journal said Menard fired at least four employees of the equity firm since the Wisconsin court order.

The report also said several lawsuits were filed against the Hilberts’ friends who had connection to the equity operations. Menard’s lawyer said the defendants, “mismanaged the assets and resources entrusted to them.”

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