Cathy Weeks, center, leaves Waterville District Court on Monday with her lawyer, Kevin Sullivan, right, and her husband, Jon Weeks, left. In a protection from harassment hearing Monday Weeks denied that she tried to interfere with the sale of a house to Falah Waheeb because he is Muslim. The hearing continues Tuesday. Amy Calder/Morning Sentinel

WATERVILLE — Witnesses at a protection from harassment hearing Monday said Planning Board member Cathy Weeks of Mount Pleasant Street tried to prevent the sale of a house next door to a family she said were radical Muslims who would kill people.

Cathy Weeks

The hearing, to be continued Tuesday, is being held in Waterville District Court on behalf of Falah Waheeb, a 54-year-old Iraqi man who moved next door to Weeks in 2019 with his wife and five children. His request for protection from harassment says Weeks told him to move back to the country he came from, that he was not wanted in her all-white neighborhood and that the neighbors hate him.

He also alleges Weeks has photographed him and his family, repeatedly called police on them, and left a bag of trash on Waheeb’s driveway. In court Monday, Weeks denied saying those things and said her real issue is not with Waheeb but with a company that cut branches from her apple tree.

Judy Williams, a real estate agent for the seller when Waheeb bought his house, testified she recalled Weeks tried to interfere with the sale. Under questioning from Waheeb’s lawyer, James LaLiberty, Williams said Carolyn Johnson of Coldwell Banker Realty was the real estate agent for the sale and Weeks tried to block the sale.

“When she found out that Carolyn had an offer from a Muslim family, she did everything she could to convince Carolyn not to sign a purchase and sale agreement,” Williams said.

Williams said Weeks called her three or four times after the house was sold to Waheeb, complaining about the family driving on her lawn when a survey later determined it was Waheeb’s property, about tree branches being cut on her property when the branches were actually on Waheeb’s, and in another call Weeks asked if Waheeb’s property was back on the market.

Ruth Malcolm, a neighbor on Mount Pleasant Street, said Weeks told her shortly before Waheeb moved in he and his family were radical Muslims.

“‘You’re not going to believe who’s moving in,'” Malcolm recalled Weeks saying at the time. “I said, ‘Who?’ She said radical Muslims. She said Carolyn (Johnson) sold out.”

LaLiberty asked Malcolm if Weeks said why she didn’t want Muslims in the neighborhood.

“She said that the Muslims were moving to Waterville and Waterville is going to become a sanctuary city and he moved in that particular home because he lives on the outskirts of Waterville and they’re surrounding (the city).”

LaLiberty asked Malcolm: “Did she say what she (Weeks) thought they would do?”

“They would kill us,” Malcolm replied.

Malcolm added that Weeks told her she had political connections and was going to try to get Waheeb and his family out of Waterville. LaLiberty asked Malcolm how Weeks’ comments made her feel. Malcolm said she became afraid of Waheeb and his family.

“It made me afraid to go and speak with them, and I was afraid. I was never afraid of people before,” Malcolm said.

But Weeks’ attorney Kevin Sullivan tried to show that Weeks was more concerned about the apple tree on her property being trimmed by Grass Eaters Lawn Care & Maintenance, a company Waheeb hired to trim branches that hung over his swimming pool. Grass Eaters owner Bruce Salsbury testified he heard Weeks tell Waheeb to go back to his country and he was not wanted here.

“Did you say those things?” Sullivan asked her.

“No, I did not,” Weeks said.

She said she doesn’t understand why the protection from harassment order was served on her and claimed the issue is “not about Mr. Waheeb.”

“We wanted mediation; we never wanted to come to this,” Weeks said. “We wanted to live as neighbors in peace.”

LaLiberty cross-examined Weeks, asking if it was her position that Williams, the real estate seller’s agent, was not truthful when she said Weeks tried to interfere with the sale of the home to Waheeb.

“I don’t recall ever interfering with the sale of the house,” Weeks said.

LaLiberty asked if Weeks was saying Williams was lying.

“I really don’t have a position on it,” Weeks said.

He asked Weeks if Malcolm, the neighbor, was truthful when she testified Weeks told her Waheeb and his family were radical Muslims. Weeks started to say Malcolm “left out parts such as …” but LaLiberty immediately said, “Is it your position that she was being truthful — yes or no?”

“No,” Weeks said.

In addition to being a member of the city’s Planning Board, Weeks is former chairwoman of the Waterville Republican City Committee and served on the city’s Charter Commission which completed its work several weeks ago.

LaLiberty, who served as co-chairman of the commission, was quoted in a Morning Sentinel story in August as saying Weeks told him while they were serving on the commission together that she had a problem with her neighbors. LaLiberty said when he asked what her problem was with her neighbors, she said that the problem was that “they were Muslims and did not offer any other reason.”

“I found the comment disgraceful and toxic,” LaLiberty said at the time. “That is a comment that is definitely not representative of the vast majority of Waterville community members, who are overwhelmingly welcoming of people from all different backgrounds.”

LaLiberty asked Weeks under oath if she recalled being at a charter commission subcommittee meeting, to which she said she did, but did not remember when it was held. He asked if she recalled asking three other subcommittee members at that meeting if they had the same problem with their neighbors and that the problem was that they were Muslims.

“You remember that?” LaLiberty asked.

“I don’t,” Weeks replied.

After nearly three hours of testimony Monday, Judge Charles Dow set a continuance for 11 a.m. Tuesday. Sullivan said he wanted to call as a witness Waterville police Officer Steve Brame, who was subpoenaed but unable to be there Monday, and possibly Mark Andre, a friend of Weeks. LaLiberty said he may call Samantha Burdick to the stand. Burdick is a member of the Planning Board and was a member of the Charter Commission as well.

Weeks has not attended the last few Planning Board meetings. At a meeting Sept. 14, demonstrators stood outside the meeting, asking that she resign.

After a story appeared in the Morning Sentinel in August about Waheeb’s protection from harassment order, neighbors, state legislators and area residents rallied in support of him and his family.

Waheeb and his wife, Rasmiya Fezaa, 56, filed the protection from harassment order against Weeks on Aug. 27. Sullivan made a motion Monday that Fezaa be denied a request for a protection order since she was not in the courtroom. Dow agreed but noted the temporary protection order continues to be in effect for both Fezaa and Waheeb until a final order is determined. Waheeb said his wife is in a wheelchair and had a medical reason for not being at Monday’s hearing.

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