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Wise wants public apology from business that filed charges on him

By LEONARD GRAY / L’Observateur / October 14, 1998

LAPLACE – All Russ Wise wants is a public apology, and he’s willing to forget about it. Or he may file suit.”I’ll do anything I can to redeem my good name in the community,” Wise said. He added all he wants is a public apology and for Family Cuts ownerAllison Mounce to drop her disturbing the peace charge against him, and he’s willing to forget the whole thing.

The District 11 St. John the Baptist Parish School Board member, who losthis re-election bid Oct. 3, was charged Oct. 1 with disturbing the peaceafter an argument in the hair salon.

The court date for this incident is set Jan. 4.Wise said the incident has already cost him a volunteer appointment as a spokesman for the regional office of a national public service organization. That offer, he said, was withdrawn the Monday following theincident.

According to the incident report, Wise, 51, was in Family Cuts hair salon having his 7-year-old son’s hair cut. When the job was completed Wiseattempted to pay with a credit card but was told the business didn’t accept a credit card.

When he loudly protested, saying he didn’t have the cash, shop manager Tricia Landry asked for his driver’s license to hold while he got cash to pay for the work. He persisted in loudly protesting and Landry asked him toleave. He refused, and she phoned the sheriff’s office, at which time heleft.

Wise was later cited at his residence.

Landry told police: “He became extremely rude. I asked him to please leavethe salon. He didn’t. He started to make a bigger scene. This went on forabout 15 minutes, also now being rude to other customers.”She concluded her statement: “This was very humiliating and degrading to me. His actions were uncalled for and unprovoked.”Wise, when contacted, commented: “This thing is preposterous! I never raised my voice or used foul language and how I disturbed anybody’s peace, she’s going to have to prove in court.”Wise’s side of the story differs. He said he took his son for a class-photohaircut and left specific instructions as to how he wanted the cut done. Hesat down in the salon and read a newspaper. When the job was completed,however, he found the haircut was not to his instructions and he wanted an explanation.

“I got upset because he got a lousy haircut from a woman who couldn’t follow instructions,” Wise declared.

He said he wanted a simple, normal haircut, trimmed off the sides and top and parted, and explained what he wanted carefully and specifically. Whathis son received, however, was bangs over the forehead and a razor-cut above his ears, for which he was being charged $6.50.Wise said Landry told him, “That’s what we call our ‘little-boy’ haircut.”When he protested, he said he was told if he didn’t like it, “You don’t have to pay for it,” and was given a snide half-apology.

He took out a credit card to pay for the haircut but that was refused, and he agreed to turn over his driver’s license while he obtained cash from a nearby ATM machine. However, he said, the conversation deteriorated andhe finally left without paying.

“I can substantially prove she misrepresented and exaggerated what happened,” Wise said.

Wise said that afternoon two deputies arrived at his home and served him with a misdemeanor summons for disturbing the peace.

Wise said he has consulted attorney William R. “Trey” Mustian III, aLaPlace resident, and would send Family Cuts a letter asking for the apology and to drop the charge.

Unless that is forthcoming, though, filing suit remains a possibility.

“We are looking at several options,” Wise said.

In May, Wise was charged with the theft of a teen-ager’s driver’s license after the youth allegedly ran a woman off the road along Airline Highway.

He was released on District Attorney probation.

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