The female owner of a flower shop is suing city of Chattanooga official Paul Page, claiming he is trying to force her out of the shop after she allegedly spurned his romantic advances.
Kathryn Ann Hise, 53, is also suing Jerry Parris, owner of the flower shop building, in Circuit Court.
The suit says Mr. Page represents Mr. Parris in handling the lease on the building at 6101 Ringgold Road in East Ridge where Ms. Hise operates Kathy's Flowers.
Ms. Hise said she met with Mr. Page in January and agreed to begin leasing the building the first of February at $800 per month the first year, $1,000 a month the second year and $1,200 a month the third year.
Ms. Hise said she requested a written lease and she said Mr. Page simply hugged her and told her he would get it to her soon. She said she moved her flower shop into the building and has made $9,640 in improvements to it.
She said each time she has asked for the lease that Mr. Page "simply responded that he would get it to her while giving her hugs."
She said Mr. Page would come by the flower shop from time to time unannounced and place his hands on her and demand hugs.
Ms. Hise said Mr. Page came by the flower shop around 11:30 p.m. just before Valentine's and asked her to speak with him outside. She said he gave her his home address and phone number and asked him to go home with him and "have a drink."
She said she refused, but she said he gave her directions to his home near Camp Jordan.
Ms. Hise said she met Mr. Parris for the first time around Sept. 15 when he demanded payment for rent. She said she told him she had never gotten a lease from Mr. Page.
She said earlier that day, Mr. Page came to the shop and told her he would "stick up for her" with Mr. Parris. The suit says, he then "put his hands on her arms and shoulders, and said he would 'straighten out' the problems with Parris."
Ms. Hines said about two weeks later that Mr. Page came into the shop with a black male and said all would be okay with Mr. Parris. It was claimed he demanded that she give him a hug, but she refused.
The suit says, "Each time Page placed his hands on plaintiff, plaintiff was apprehensive and concerned about the reasons he was touching her."
The suit says both Mr. Parris and Mr. Page entered the store last Tuesday . She said Mr. Parris came behind the counter, took her phone book and called a locksmith. She said he began demanding $20,000 "right now." A locksmith soon arrived and changed the locks, then Ms. Hines said she was told to leave.
Ms. Hines said she has not been allowed back in the store to get her belongings.
The suit, filed by attorney Robin Flores, asks $500,000 compensatory damages, $1 million punitive damages and further damages of $200,000.
Mr. Page, who is city general services director, said he had no comment on the lawsuit.
Mr. Page was suspended without pay by the city last November following an investigation of a sexual harassment complaint. He was placed on a corrective action plan requiring attendance in a sensitivity and harassment prevention program. He later returned to his job.