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Former U.S. Senate candidate arrested at Atria Darien again

Lee Whitnum, seen here at the 2011 Greenwich Democratic Town Committee picnic when running for U.S. Senate, now faces trespassing charges. (Ken Borsuk)

Lee Whitnum, seen here at the 2011 Greenwich Democratic Town Committee picnic when running for U.S. Senate, now faces trespassing charges. (Ken Borsuk)

For the second time in as many months, former U.S. Senate candidate Lee Whitnum was arrested by Darien Police for allegedly harassing her husband.

Whitnum, 52, was arrested via warrant on Thursday, June 13, after the director of Atria Darien, an assisted living facility, told police that Whitnum had left harassing messages on her office and home phones.

“The messages indicated that Whitnum… and perhaps other family members, are not pleased with the director’s actions against [Whitnum] and that she and the family members were to going to confront her at her residence in the near future,” stated Darien Police Capt. Fred Komm in an email. “This caused the director to be fearful about a possible confrontation.”

Director Wendy Winnick-Baskin has declined to comment for past legal issues related to Whitnum.

Whitnum was also arrested in April for trespassing on Atria property. Whitnum challenged current U.S. Rep. Jim Himes in 2010 for his House seat and also challenged U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal for his seat in 2008.

In a lengthy email sent to The Times before Darien Police announced her second arrest on Monday, Whitnum said she was arrested for trespassing after going to Atria to give her husband a birthday present. Whitnum blames her arrest on Winnick-Baskin, and makes numerous claims against the director, citing what appears to be a conspiracy  developed by Atria’s leader against Whitnum.

Whitnum noted her honeymoon at the Hyatt in Greenwich and the signing of an apartment lease in Stamford as “the start of a new life,” only to be thwarted by Atria as it kept her husband from moving out of the facility and in with Whitnum.

Court records show that Whitnum seeks $2 million in damages in a suit against Atria, Wennick-Baskin and others, alleging they caused her emotional distress, invaded her privacy and slandered her name.

The defendants refute Whitnum’s claims, and point to several incidents when she came to Atria, allegedly creating a disturbance with foul language and exhibiting disturbing and sometimes threatening behavior, according to records. In motions filed by defendants, Whitnum’s husband, James Baker, is alleged to have said his marriage was a “mistake” and he also questioned Whitnum’s sanity and cited examples of her acting irrationally.

Read more in this week’s print edition of the Darien Times, on newsstands Thursday, June 20.

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