July 10, 2012

President Obama with Rep. Cornell du Houx in June 2011 at the White House, courtesy photo

This article appeared in the Forecaster, by Amber Cronin on July 10, 2012

State Rep. Alex Cornell du Houx said he wants to clear his name, now that an settlement with his ex-fiance, Rep. Erin Herbig, has been made public.

“I didn’t want to bring this issue up again, but now that the compromise agreement has been made public, I feel I have an obligation to my constituents to explain why I signed it,” the Brunswick Democrat said Sunday.

The agreement, reached by the pair on May 11, outlines “mutual promises” as they move forward with their lives and careers. Details of the agreement were supposed to remain confidential, but the Bangor Daily News obtained details of the agreement on July 6.

When he learned that the agreement was released, Cornell du Houx said he first thought it was sad that Herbig, a Belfast Democrat, “is not moving on with her life.”

But he said he was concerned about voter opinion, too.

“I also worried that my constituents wouldn’t understand why I signed such an archaic contract, and I knew I had an obligation to explain the issue to them,” he said. “Now I also see it as a chance to help clear my name in the public’s eye.”

Herbig and Cornell du Houx are allowed to speak freely about the underlying facts of the case because their pact has been made public.

Cornell du Houx said that had the pair gone to court, details would have emerged about their relationship which, he said, would contradict the claims Herbig made in her request for order for protection from abuse.

He provided The Forecaster with several text messages, e-mails and photographs from his time with Herbig that, he said, prove their relationship began in early 2011 and show that he was not stalking or harassing Herbig.

Cornell du Houx also maintained that there were 17 different “lies” in Herbig’s request for protection.

He said he signed the agreement with Herbig to give her peace of mind and so he could move on with his career in the U.S. Navy.

The agreement, among other things, bars Cornell du Houx from entering the city of Belfast for 10 years, unless Herbig moves away, and requires him to give Capitol security at least 48 hours notice prior to his arrival at the Statehouse.

It also required him to withdraw from the election for state representative in District 66 before July 1. He ended his re-election campaign on June 29, but said he withdrew because he wanted to pursue his career as a public affairs officer in the Navy. At the time, he could not disclose that his withdrawal was a term of the agreement because doing so would have violated the agreement, which was still private.

Provisions of the settlement allow for him to run for office again after two years, Cornell du Houx said.

He said that if he decides to run for office, he will likely run for the District 63 seat currently held by Rep. Charles Priest, D-Brunswick, who will leave office in 2014 due to term limits.

According to Cornell du Houx, he did not release the agreement to the Bangor Daily News. He speculated it must have come from someone in Herbig’s circle.

Herbig could not be reached for comment on Monday. Her lawyer, Chris MacLean, said he does not know who released the terms of the agreement.

“I have no idea (who released it), other than to say that I didn’t provide it to anybody,” he said. “I’ve got the original document in my possession and I have maintained it in my possession.”

Cornell du Houx said he is ready to leave the episode in his past.

“I want to make it clear to (Herbig) that I intend to honor the provisions of the agreement regarding not contacting her,” he said. “I just want us both to move on.”

For more on the information released to the press, with photos click here.

Rep. Herbig’s temporary protection order against Rep. Alex Cornell du Houx is proven to have false allegations in it
People have asked, “If all she wanted to do is get him out of her life, why not give him back the ring?”

July 17th, 2012 ·

This piece is based on the Portland Daily Sun’s article by David Carkhuff and other news reports.

“Sharing images of personal emails and documents such as an I. Gorman Jewelers description of a $19,300 platinum and diamond engagement ring, Maine Rep. Alexander Cornell du Houx, D-Brunswick, on Monday issued a lengthy response to claims about his very public estrangement from Maine Rep. Erin D. Herbig, D-Belfast. The two Democratic legislators were at the center of a public falling-out that was highlighted by Herbig’s request in late April for a temporary protection order against Cornell du Houx in Belfast District Court,” wrote David Carkhuff, editor of the Portland Daily Sun.

Along with the ring purchase document, photos and texts were provided by Rep. Cornell du Houx which counter some of Herbig’s allegations in her temporary order which alleged stalking and tarnished the image of an Marine Iraq combat Veteran. According to the emails and texts Cornell du Houx asked for the engagement ring back, then a month later Herbig filed for the TPA, never returning the documented ring.

People have asked, “If all she wanted to do is get him out of her life, why not give him back the ring?”

The secret agreement between Rep. Erin Herbig and Rep. Alex Cornell du Houx was breached when Herbig’s attorney confirmed that the Bangor Daily News had published part of its content in their publication. Until that point, Cornell du Houx had followed its provisions and resigned from his reelection bid. At one point, he had been thinking about breaking the agreement to run for reelection, as stated in the BDN, when Ben Grant made the issue public again. In the end he kept to the contract and followed his original plan of progressing his career in the Navy as a public relations officer.

In order for Cornell du Houx to continue his career in the Navy he had to undergo extensive security checks and a court hearing could have hurt this process so he signed the onerous contract. Now that the contract has been broken, Cornell du Houx can speak out about what happened to him.

“I want to make it clear to (Herbig) that I intend to honor the provisions of the agreement regarding not contacting her,” stated Cornell du Houx in the Forcaster.

Before the agreement was signed, the state police had finished their investigation. No charges were made, “or will be brought,” stated Steve McClausland, for the State Police in a Portland Press Herald article.

Then Herbig withdrew her request for a protection order from the Belfast Court. The agreement curtails Cornell du Houx’s proximity to the Belfast Democrat and limits his access to the state Capitol in Augusta. It also silenced him and his family.

After large sections of Herbig’s TPA were published in the Bangor Daily News many combat veterans were upset by her allegations that inferred Cornell du Houx must have a mental disability because of his service as a Marine in Iraq. As an army veteran Mark Ludzack stated in a letter in the Bangor Daily News, “It made it seem that anyone who fights for our country may have a mental disability.”

Herbig claimed Cornell du Houx was suicidal and that his mental state was “deteriorating” and then she proceeded to tie those allegations to his service record by stating, “he claims to have killed as a Marine,” and, “he is wiling to use his military training tactics to prove his innocence.”

His family had to release his medical records to the press to counter Herbig’s claims. The certified records proved Cornell du Houx had a clean bill of health, during the time Herbig alleged the opposite.

The Portland Daily Sun continues:

“Herbig, who declined comment, was represented by her attorney, Chris Maclean of Camden, who said she plans to run for a second term this fall …

Cornell du Houx said Monday he wanted to counter claims by Herbig, not stir up fresh animosity. “She made allegations and those allegations were checked by law enforcement and found not to be credible,” he said in an interview.

Claims that Cornell du Houx disputed in his email include:

“The attachment named ‘Erin’s texts’ is one example of the kind of texts she wrote to me during the time frame that she claimed, ‘I have been concerned for my safety for the last several months and am terrified now.’ In texts she asked to go to DC on a romantic vacation, wanted to see my new apartment, agreed to attend couples counseling and said she loved me and ‘wanted us to move forward together forever more than everything.’”

Text provided by Cornell du Houx to the Sun, of Herbig showing her affection during the time she claimed, “I was scared for my life.”

“Erin claimed I moved things in our apartment. The reality is that in March I had to get Emily Cain, minority leader in the House, to ask Erin to return my possessions from our apartment in Belfast, as Erin would not respond to my request. Emily Cain also told Erin I wanted my ring back as Erin never returned it. The attached text is a conversation with Emily asking if I finally got my possessions back. Emily: ‘Did you get your stuff?’ Alex: ‘Yes — Thank you, she had Megan bring it to me — my car looks like I’m moving.’

“The last attachment named ‘broken engagement’ is an email to Erin from me asking for the engagement ring back on March 26: ‘I can’t even believe I am saying this an email but your lack of communication leaves me no other option… I am asking tragically for my ring back and to call off the engagement.’ She never returned the ring.”

Cornell du Houx emphasized that Maine State Police “did not see the need to interview me,” noting that criminal charges were never brought against him.

A text from the minority speaker of the House, Emily Cain to Alex (in the front) that confirms Cornell du Houx had to ask for his possessions back from Herbig from an apartment they shared because Herbig would not give them to him. The text in the background proves their relationship on July 7, 2011.

“The state police ended their investigation before Erin and I signed the agreement. …” Cornell du Houx wrote in his email to The Daily Sun. “If we had gone to a hearing I would have countered all her allegations in the temporary order [emphasis added].” She stated in the order our relationship started in late 2011. In reality we began seeing each other on May 15, 2011, and were engaged on December 23, 2011. I broke off the engagement on March 26, 2012, because she seriously breached my trust. So, I asked for my ring back, and she turned on me with the temporary order after our lawyers were already talking. I believe she wanted to silence me from talking about that breach.”

Cornell du Houx continued, “I was unable to release the texts and emails proving Erin’s allegations were false because of our agreement. Now that the agreement was broken I am free to talk about the temporary order. I never had a chance to respond to the temporary order in the media because of the scheduled hearing. I would like to have an opportunity for the truth to be heard.”

Maclean acknowledged that Cornell du Houx did not face criminal prosecution.

“It is true that he hasn’t at this point been prosecuted, at this point now that it’s blown over I doubt that he will be,’ he said …

Cornell du Houx said, “I just wanted to make sure this ends the final saga in what was ultimately a pretty tragic situation all the way around.”

He said Herbig has not given the engagement ring back.

“It would be her moral obligation to give the ring back, but sadly she hasn’t,” he said.

“He needs to bring a lawsuit if he feels she has his belongings,” Maclean responded.

“I deeply regret falling in love with a married woman,” said Cornell du Houx.

NOTE: The photos were given to Cornell du Houx’s family for safe keeping. The agreement had a clause about these photos because they show the long relationship these two representatives had, directly disproving some of Herbig’s statements in her petition for a protection from abuse order. She claimed that the relationship began in late 2011 and has said they were just a couple. The photos are on Rebecca Cornell du Houx’s Facebook page as well as here, where the same page has the texts at a viewable size.