June 18. 2013 7:00AM - Last modified: June 18. 2013 7:28AM

EAU CLAIRE - Sex charges fly against billionaire owner of Menards

A former Indiana business partner of hardware kingpin John Menard contends in a lawsuit that the Wisconsin billionaire pressured her to have sex with him and his wife and retaliated by firing her husband as a financial adviser and filing lawsuits against them and some of their friends.

Tomisue Hilbert filed her lawsuit May 29 in Hamilton County, Indiana. She accuses the founder of the Eau Claire-based Menards home improvement stores of extortion, battery, assault and breach of fiduciary duty for actions including the sacking of Steve Hilbert as CEO of MH Private Equity, an Indianapolis-based firm that she, her husband and Menard founded in 2005.

An attorney for Menard, 73, said he “categorically denies the inappropriate conduct Ms. Hilbert alleges” and noted a Wisconsin court on Feb. 19 prohibited the Hilberts from continuing to manage the MH Private Equity funds.

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