Democratic primary

Councilman Frank Gilliam speaks as The Atlantic City Democrats meet April 3 to endorse candidates for the June Democratic primary at Irish Pub in Atlantic City.

ATLANTIC CITY — An Atlantic City woman said she sought a restraining order in 1997 against mayoral candidate Frank Gilliam when the two were dating in college.

Mia Williams, 50, said she was motivated to publicize her claims, which were handled in civil court and did not result in criminal charges, after Gilliam took out political ads attacking his opponent Council President Marty Small over run-ins Small had with the law in 1993 and 2005.

Gilliam, who is also on City Council, said he knows Williams but vehemently denied the allegations.

“I don’t know what she’s talking about,” Gilliam said. “It’s ironic that this young lady who is on Marty Small’s team would utilize this to defame my name. It doesn’t mean that it happened. Anyone can say that.”

The primary for the Democratic and Republican nominations to run for mayor this fall is Tuesday.

Williams was approved for a restraining order March 15, 1997, against Gilliam in Atlantic County Superior Court under the New Jersey Prevention of Domestic Violence Act.

The document stated the court found “good cause to believe that (Williams’) life, health, and well-being have been and are endangered by (Gilliam’s) acts of violence.”

In an interview with The Press of Atlantic City, Williams said she and Gilliam began dating in August 1997 while the two attended Stockton College.

Small, whose criminal history was the subject of several attacks from Gilliam’s campaign, called on Gilliam to step down from the race, saying Gilliam has resorted to mudslinging during the campaign.

Recent Gilliam campaign mailers highlighted drug-distribution charges in 1993 and an arson charge in 2005 against Small. Small was never convicted, and the charges were dropped.

“The people of Atlantic City deserve better.” Small said. “Any man that puts his hand on a woman is a coward. There is no place for domestic violence.”

But Gilliam said he has no intention of dropping out, adding he thought Small was the source of the latest allegation against him.

“We are ready to put Atlantic City first again.” Gilliam said. “Whatever accusations people have, we’ll let the voters decide. May the better man win.”

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