Ex-wife of Minnesota GOP communications director Jack Tomczak granted restraining order against him

By: - December 7, 2020 5:59 am

Jack Tomczak, communications director of the Minnesota GOP.

A judge granted a restraining order Friday against John “Jack” Tomczak, communications director for the Minnesota Republican Party.

Careen Holly Martin, Tomczak’s ex-wife, was first granted a temporary harassment restraining order this summer after alleging Tomczak stalked, surveilled, harassed and threatened her. The couple divorced in December 2018.

Tomczak was ordered not to have contact with Martin or come near her Plymouth home, except as authorized by family court. The restraining order is effective for two years.

Tomczak is a well-known conservative personality, having worked on Republican campaigns and hosted conservative talk radio shows and a podcast. He was a campaign operative for former U.S. Rep. Michele Bachman and Tom Emmer before the latter was elected to Congress. 

After hiring Tomczak, GOP Chairwoman Jennifer Carnahan said on Twitter he would make the “DREAM TEAM stronger.”

Tomzcak represented himself during a Dec. 1 evidentiary hearing, and he seemed unaware of judicial processes. When Martin’s attorney, Christopher Vatsaas, called Tomzcak as a witness, Tomzcak asked if he could refuse to testify.

“Can I say no?” he asked District Court Referee Richard Trachy.

Sure, if you want to default, Trachy replied.

Martin testified that Tomzcak can be “volatile and vengeful and angry” when he believes someone has wronged him, so when she left him she had a safety plan. Tomzcak objected, asking if she needed proof that he’s vengeful; Trachy said you can’t object just because you disagree with what’s being said.

Martin testified that Tomzcak “joked” when they were married that if she ever left him there would be “murder-suicide.”

Tomzcak said while cross-examining Martin that he was joking.

“Did you really think I was gonna murder-suicide us?” he asked Martin.

She replied: “I know you have a history of being incredibly vengeful.” 

He then asked: “Have I ever murdered anybody to your knowledge?”

And then, “Have I ever committed suicide?”

Among the issues discussed during the hearing:

  • A text from Tomzcak to Martin after they’d divorced saying, “That was always a good color on you; I’m not stalking you I just happened to be driving by.” Martin called it “inappropriate, scary…creepy” and made her feel stalked. Tomzcak said they’d been fighting a lot and he’d seen her while driving by and “I thought a compliment might help smooth things over. Apparently I was wrong.”
  • After Martin left Tomzcak, he found her journals and took photos of them, which he would then send her. “It is the most intense betrayal and invasion of privacy a person could possibly feel,” she testified. Tomzcak replied, “She has similar documents for me that she’s tried to use to hurt me. And I don’t feel like my privacy is invaded. I’ve lived with her; she knows everything about me.”
  • Before Martin moved out and their separation was imminent, he searched Martin’s car. Tomzcak said he had permission to search the car because he partially owned it.
  • After Martin left Tomzcak, she noticed he seemed to know places she’d been, and eventually found he’d put a tracking device on her car. Tomzcak said she is a drug addict who had relapsed and he was responding to that. “I was terrified because somebody was following my every movement,” she testified. “It’s super creepy.”
  • After leaving Tomzcak, Martin stayed in hotels for two weeks, but used a credit card at the first one. The next morning she saw Tomzcak following her as she drove to meet a friend.
  • She said he was trying to get his hard drive from her and later searched her car while she was at a counselor’s office waiting for him. She said the hard drive contained audio and video he surreptitiously recorded of people. Martin said she goes through her children’s bags to make sure Tomzcak hasn’t planted recording devices, and refuses to let them use certain electronic devices.
  • After they divorced and Martin was awarded the house, she had a friend staying there in the summer of 2019. Tomzcak went through the garbage and sent photos of syringes to her friends and family members. Martin said he sent them to a laboratory and they tested positive for testosterone.
  • Tomzcak repeatedly threatened to contact her employer, Allina, about her “personal health information” and did so in March. She was terminated. Tomzcak told the court she’d been “awful for two years,” and that he did it to make Martin be nicer to him. 
  • Martin amended her petition to add a firearm restriction after her father noticed Tomzcak had a semi-automatic handgun in his waistband while dropping their children off. Tomzcak said he had a permit.

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Deena Winter
Deena Winter

Deena Winter has covered local and state government in four states over the past three decades, with stints at the Bismarck Tribune in North Dakota, as a correspondent for the Denver Post, city hall reporter in Lincoln, Nebraska, and regional editor for Southwest News in the western Minneapolis suburbs. Before joining the staff of the Reformer in 2021 she was a contributor to the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. She and her husband have a daughter, son, and very grand child. In her spare time, she likes to play tennis, jog, garden and attempt to check out all the best restaurants in the metro area.