http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=576269Legislator's love triangle implodes
By DERRICK NUNNALLY
Posted: March 12, 2007
At a court hearing Monday that played out like a scene from a soap opera, state Rep. Leon Young (D-Milwaukee) laid out how his simultaneous relationships with two women a year ago has resulted in "a nightmare," including a paternity suit and dueling restraining order requests.
"More interesting than 'Days of Our Lives,' that's for sure," Court Commissioner Ana Berrios remarked at one point after hearing details of Young's juggled relationships, including a flight all three took to Las Vegas.
One of the women is now Young's live-in girlfriend; the other bore his son in September - a fact established when a paternity suit's DNA test results came back Feb. 22, 2007. The son, whose name Young misstated at one point, wriggled in his mother's arms while Berrios heard the sordid details that led the commissioner to deny both requested restraining orders.
"There are no innocent people here," Berrios concluded.
Monday's hearings were the latest in what has become a series of courtroom appearances that the eight-term legislator's attempts to juggle two women's affections have earned him. Young, 39, testified that the situation has affected his legislative work as well as added stress to his private life.
"It's difficult for me to perform my job as an elected official, because I just don't know what she's going to do," Young said of the mother of his child.
"I've been staying away from going on the radio shows."
Last year, he and girlfriend Tara Ali got municipal citations - later dismissed - after police responded to a pre-dawn ruckus outside the home of Young's then-pregnant ex-girlfriend, Valerie Kolen, in March 2006.
Kolen filed the paternity suit shortly after she gave birth in September 2006. While the suit was pending, Young asked for a restraining order against her for problems including a child-custody argument. Kolen, in turn, asked for one against Ali - who moved in with Young in September 2006 - after a hostile phone conversation.
"This has been a nightmare," Young said.
How the three-way relationship began was never made clear at Monday's proceedings, but by late January 2006, each woman had learned about the other's relationship with Young.
Then he took both women to Las Vegas - on the same flight - Jan. 28, 2006, according to testimony.
"That took a lot of guts, I'll say that, to put it mildly," Berrios quipped.
What happened in Vegas didn't come out in court, except that Kolen claimed Ali confronted her - a contention Young and Ali denied - and that the women sat separately on the plane, though both traveled as Young's girlfriends.
"When we were there, he was practically, basically with both of us," Ali testified.
"OK, that makes a lot of sense so far," Berrios responded.
In February 2006, after their return, Young and Kolen broke up, and Kolen learned she was pregnant. The next month, Ali and Young got municipal disorderly conduct citations after Kolen invited them over to talk, then didn't let them in when they arrived at her door well before dawn. Both citations were later dismissed.
Even at that point, Young's relationship with Kolen wasn't completely dead. He testified that he traveled back to Las Vegas with Kolen in April 2006, and in May 2006 they checked into the Park East Hotel together.
"That was just one night," Young said.
Young initially described having only "a friendship" with Kolen during that time, then said "yes" after Berrios asked him whether they could better be described as "friends with sleeping privileges."
That status expired before summer arrived, both testified.
Young claimed Kolen then "harassed" him by text messages and phone calls, and he played a tape recording of two expletive-filled voicemails he said Kolen left in December 2006.
He filed for a restraining order on Feb. 26, 2007, four days after a court declared that he had fathered Kolen's child and two days after police were called to Young's house during a Saturday visitation of their son. No one was arrested or cited for that encounter. Young contended that Kolen had harassed him; Kolen filed her own restraining order request that same day claiming Ali had intimidated her.
All three conceded no threat of physical harm had emerged from their contentious relationship, and Berrios denied both requests. She chided all three parties to work out their own issues, rather than seeking what she called the "Band-Aid" of a court order.
"Tell me of a single love triangle that doesn't go wrong," Berrios said. "In the best-written soap operas, they always go wrong."
Young said he would consider whether to appeal Berrios' decision, and Kolen's attorney said any lingering issues would best be resolved in a family court - which is where child-custody issues are settled.