Satire is protected
speech, even if the object of it doesn't get it
Why, Mr. Hanewall-Pepper? Why be mediocre out of
|Shorewood Public Library Director
Beth Carey refused to link to this photo by Allen Fredrickson when it
was first published by ShorewoodVillage.com. Now that is in
is it clear that we have librarians who JUST
DON'T GET IT? Why continue to cover up for the library's failures, and
then conceal the legal bills?
Travels with Larry Lorenz
Former Marquette Journalism professor
blogs his experiences as a Katrina refugee while waiting to
return to New Orleans
Junk Library Science
What was Shorewood Public Library Director Beth Carey lashing out at when she
blocked a link to this Web site, running up thousands of dollars in legal
fees along the way, and why don't we get a librarian who
understands more than knitting and juvenile delinquency?
By Geoff Davidian and
Project Censored Interns: Sean Arlt,
Jacob Rich, Bridget Thornton, and Michele
Our investigation suggests libraries
have become slackers in cataloging so-called 'non-fiction' works --
husband of federal bankruptcy judge, hides details of legal bills
Village follows Hanewall-Pepper's
lead, conceals details of
library legal bills despite state public records requirement --
Follow the money, if you
Village continues to
pay vague village attorney bills and refuses to ask for specificity --
Financial troubles threaten joint fire
Board OKs budget as some North Shore
members warn of problems
Posted: Sept. 22, 2005
River Hills - The board that oversees the
North Shore Fire Department approved a 2006 budget Thursday, taking
$100,000 from a reserve fund after the City of Glendale, the
department's largest financial contributor, threatened to default on
payments next year and force the department to dissolve in years to
Journal Sentinel Story
Democracy rears its ugly head
How can we make the law
not apply to us and the problem go away?
Village philanthropy in
directors say they know JS editor, a Shorewood resident, and will try to
sway him to be more 'reasonable' than a North Shore Herald reporter who
wants their records
Talk about a Litmus test!
Will the Journal Company
back down in a public records dispute involving its law firm?
Directors agree to try
to turn editors, then lawyers if necessary, against reporter
Shorewood Foundation balks at
request to inspect records, but admits it can't fight a lawsuit and
decides to distance itself from village government as a way to avoid
disclosure (although it is perfectly willing to provide access to all of
its records informally although directors have been deleting their e-mail)
Shorewood, WI. (Sept. 20,
2005) -- Based on the undemonstrated premise that Shorewood Foundation
donations will dry up if some contributors' names had to be released,
President Harvey 'Wild Child' Kurtz acknowledged he had a conflict but set the stage
nonetheless for the journalistic castration of a reporter investigating
the not-for-profit organization.
Kurtz, an attorney whose law
gang, Foley & Lardner, represents in some matters the media monopoly that
is being sued for
circulation fraud, says answering a request to provide access to
foundation records would be a burden and so he can't advise that the
records be produced to Brendan O'Brien. O'Brien is a reporter for the
North Shore Herald, which is owned by the company that owns the
Instead, a delegation from the
foundation will try to cut the legs out from under O'Brien, much like
former Village President Rodney Dow (also of the law gang Foley & Lardner)
sought to do to Journal Sentinel Reporter Marie Rohde, who wrote
about an illegal meeting.
Some Business Improvement
Districts are more interesting than others
Allen Fredrickson photo
This site is brought to you following
Village Attorney Ray Pollen's defense of corrupt Tennessee government
officials who hacked a Shorewood Web site.
Mr. Pollen, who professes to be an expert on
municipal law, denies this was bad for the Village and he and his firm
even profit from his actions.
Maybe someone should report this to the
Office of Lawyer Regulation. Grievances can be submitted over the
telephone. Call (608) 267-7274 or (877) 315-6941 (toll free) to file your
Be sure to mention SCR 20:1.7
(a) A lawyer shall not represent a client if the representation of that
client will be directly adverse to another client, unless:
(1) the lawyer reasonably believes the representation will not
adversely affect the relationship with the other client; and
(2) each client consents in writing after consultation.
New opportunity for Kurtz and
Schmeckpeper to squander money on lawyers?
Brendan O'Brien v. Harvey A. Kurtz
Contentious is as contentious does
The Kurtz phenomenon
Foley & Lardner computers could be evidence
in a twisted confrontation pitting suburban reporter O'Brien against a
lawyer from the firm that represents O'Brien's newspaper's corporate
Is the Shorewood Foundation a 'quasi-governmental
agency'? Does the tax-exempt organization entrusted with managing funds
bequeathed to village seniors have to turn over its records for public
A July request to inspect correspondence among
Shorewood Foundation officers regarding the Benjamin Trust is on the
agenda for Tuesday's 4:30 p.m. meeting.
75% of Shorewood budget is
and benefits, village manager says.
Health insurance costs
to the village are expected to rise 10%
Have you ever visited village hall and
found an office closed early? Maybe the budget process should reevaluate
the compensation for village workers who do not put in a full workweek.
Who is monitoring attendance? Is there a formal log recording who left
early? Are there time cards? Or aren't we supposed to ask, in the same way
we are not supposed to ask about Village Attorney Pollen's billing
In fact, the listening session Tuesday
night was full of explanations of why residents do not need to know the
facts regarding the budget at this stage. Ironically, Trustee Ellen
Eckman, who wandered in late, somehow thought she was entitled to give the Party Line by virtue of the fact she was there the shortest time.
|SHOREWOOD, Wis. (Sept. 14,
2005) -- Four residents appeared for the Village Board's
'listening session' Tuesday evening to participate in a budget
process that is aiming at a 2.5 to2.7 percent budget increase, that
Click for Tax-Levy comparison
upgrade and maintain
improve tax rate
upgrade and maintain essential
utilize technology to enhance
customer service and increase organizational capacity;
maintain integrity of fund
balance on long-term basis;
maintain current service
levels. No core service cuts.
Among the Believers
Modest though the magazines are in scale and
appearance, there is nonetheless something stirringly immodest - something
"authentic and delirious," as e.e. cummings once wrote - about what they
are trying to do, which is to organize a generational struggle against
laziness and cynicism, to raise once again the banners of creative
enthusiasm and intellectual engagement.
From the New York Times Magazine 9/11/2005
News from Village Hall:
North Shore Fire Department, which
serves seven communities, faces $3 million in unfunded sick pay plus
retirement benefits for retirees, who can quit at age 50. Compensation for
future employees may have to be 'restructured,' President Kohlenberg
suggested at Tuesday's special meeting of the village board. However, he
said that all the communities would have to deal with the problem.
Also at the Sept. 6 special
village board meeting, trustees:
declined to reassure residents
the village will not condemn private property solely for development of
the business district, based on a
report by Village
Attorney Ray Pollen that was not provided to the public before the
discussion with other board materials; (Supreme
Court Ruling Ignites Political Backlash; states react to anti-Kelo
covered a library construction fund deficit of $76,700;
overcame 'walkable community'
advocate Ellen Eckman's opposition to a pedestrian safety engineering
study and pledged 'no more than $16,000' to hire the Burlington consulting
Eckman, a Marquette University employee, complained that she could not
read the proposals from firms on a computer, apparently did not print them
from her village email account and did not show up for a meeting of the
committee she chairs where the item was on the agenda. Trustee Michael
Phinney said he, too had trouble reading the documents online, and had
expected an 'executive summary' from Eckman's
Streets & Buildings Committee -- a jab Eckman
frequently takes at others.
passed a measure forwarded by
the Community Development Authority authorizing spending about $105,000 to
hire The Lakota Group and S.B. Friedman & Company, two Chicago firms, to
develop a master
plan for the Shorewood Business District;
unanimously approved of former
Trustee Paul Erickson's appointment to the Police Commission by Village
President Mark Kohlenberg.
Maybe President Bush
should have flown in and declared the storm over . . .
The U.S. government does not want
you to see this
Statement of the National Press Photographers Association
FEMA is attempting to stop publication
of photographs showing the result of its failure to quickly provide
relief in New Orleans.
A dog eats the leg of a
victim of Hurricane Katrina as the
federal government ferries journalists
into the disaster zone in big planes that might otherwise be used
for disaster relief.
Abandoned cars & flooded
neighborhoods stretch for miles. With the largest
displacement of people since the Civil War, New Orleans
continues its effort to find more survivors, drain the city,
and recover the victims.
Photo ©2005 Allen Fredrickson
Click for full-size image
Library Board's lawyer violated state supreme court ethics rules
response to a request for public records, Shorewood Library Board
President Jeff Hanewall-Pepper says there is no contract for legal
services with the lawyer hired to establish a so-called appeal process for
victims of the library's Web link non-policy. But the state supreme court
ethics rules require lawyers to enter into fee contracts. Did the lawyer
violate the supreme court rules? Or did Hanewall-Pepper thumb his nose at
the state public records law? One of these must be true.
We are NOT
calling Jeff Hanewall-Pepper a woman, but he DID give birth to the
The Mother of all library failures
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Pamela Pepper's hubby Jeff revealed
Village Board asked to cover $76,703
library construction deficit
After forgiving a
$100K 'loan' and fronting funds that were not collected from
contributors, taxpayers are now asked to cover yet another library
Quote unquote Twinkie-Pepper
|SHOREWOOD, WI. (Sept.
2, 2005) --
Library Board Prez Jeff
Hanewall-Pepper's inept redaction of legal bills lamely and
undemocratically tried to the keep public in the dark about the cost
of official censorship, but records obtained this week from our
sources show yet another invoice from lawyer Dennis Fisher's law firm.
The new bill brings the library's censorship costs to a total of
$7,711.51 -- four times the amount authorized. The Aug. 22 village
ledger shows check No. 070675 for $3,773.51 was payable to Fisher's
firm, and the federal court action has not begun.
Village Board to consider
MMSD settlement agreement, business district plan study, low-income
housing at Tuesday's special session
Gook B. Han, at Capitol
Cleaners, 2101 E. Capitol Dr., says he had no business because of
the race and that
when he tried to go home the streets were blocked off. "I didn't
like it," he said. No parking for
Walgreen's customers; lot was filled with observers' cars; police
overtime, DPW costs not tallied yet.
But the kids had fun
Village attorney turns economics on its head;
offers free legal information to anyone at all
Got a legal question about how to beat
a ticket? Want to know what records are public? Concerned that a group of
officials is meeting unlawfully? Are you a reporter comparing the way your
municipality deals with unleashed dogs?
|SHOREWOOD, Wis. (July
15, 2004) -- Because Shorewood has no policy about who can get
legal information from the village attorney, you can help Ray Pollen
increase his billing to taxpayers while you obtain complicated legal
opinions at no cost. You don't even have to be a village resident.
Just call Village Attorney Ray Pollen at his law firm, Crivello,
Carlson & Mentkowski and say you want to discuss a municipal law
matter with Shorewood's village attorney. Remember, you cannot be
refused this government service by any arbitrary reason decided by
Mr. Pollen because there is no policy. The number to call is (414)
271-7722. Or you can fax your questions to Mr. Pollen at (414)
271-4438. Mr. Pollen's e-mail address is RPollen@milwlaw.com. A word of
advice may not be accurate so we suggest you get a second
BID Director consults lawyer following
request to inspect records:
Will business owners have to pay Carl
Templer's legal bills?
SHOREWOOD, Wis. (July 14, 2004) -- On July 2, we
faxed a request
to inspect public records to Business Improvement District Director Carl
Templer in response to questions from local establishments concerned
over the quality of service by Templer Communications, which has been
paid about $35,000 a year to administer the program. On July 12, Templer
responded that "Your request for records has been received and currently
conversations with the respective boards and counsel are underway.
Records are being researched. You will be advised as to next steps
shortly. Thank you."
No blood at budget
(June 18, 2004) -- The Budget & Finance Committee yesterday
tentatively set a goal of no property tax levy increase for the coming
year, but department heads will have to be creative in finding ways to
hold their budgets within the constraints when employee benefits are
going up 18 percent. The real punch out will not begin until October,
when trustees who are in office for self-satisfaction and to gain a
sense of who they are "at their core" will take on trustees who are
cost-conscious and want to act responsibly. Keep an eye open for a
particular trustee who may, like she did last year, whine and moan
about the hours and dates of the meeting schedule (she did not attend
last night's meeting), although she brings very, very little to the
table (and some of them are much better at bringing nothing to the table
than others, even if it is hurtful to acknowledge. )
that good people will not seek public positions because of this Web site's
attacks on incompetence and corruption, former Village President Rodney
Dow was either lying or he is not a good person, because guess what . .
Dow asks to
'serve' on CDA panel
The last time he
held a position,
funneled to his law firm, Foley & Lardner. Then, he tried to get
his hands on Benjamin Trust money intended for the use of our senior
citizens. Then he tried to sell his public records although the Village
already had agreed to do the work for him. In our opinion, regardless of
whether Dow is qualified, he must be kept away from any financial
transactions and his firm must not do any work related to the Community
Development Authority to avoid the appearance of impropriety.
Here is his application
Raymond Pollen clings
to trough, come hell, high water or high court . . .
attorney says Public Records Act does not apply to records of him being
sued for violating the Public Records Act
Time slips justifying bills are also not
SHOREWOOD, Wis. (June 3,
2004) -- Village Attorney
Raymond Pollen, of the Milwaukee Law firm of Crivello, Carlson &
Mentkowski, S.C., refuses to release correspondence from a lawsuit settled
by the Village, citing attorney-client privilege although he and his firm
were defendants. --
to reject Pollen's advice
SHOREWOOD, Wis. (June 2,
2004) – Interim Village Manager James Bartnicki today rejected Village
Attorney Raymond Pollen’s advice regarding who pays how much for Village
Board and committee agendas – advice in which Pollen established himself
as the person who determines who gets to be "the press," apparently
believing his job title trumps hundreds of years of tradition and
constitutional protection from just such arbitrary exercise of
Pollen, praised by that former Langenkamp woman as
a brilliant attorney who lectures other village attorneys statewide, has
seen his advice repeatedly brushed aside recently after it has been shown
to be wrong. Pollen recently settled a lawsuit naming him and his firm,
Crivello, Carlson & Mentkowski, for violation of the Wisconsin Public
Records Act. In his latest worthless advice, pollen suggested that the
term "press" applies only to some people according to unarticulated
criteria that he could nevertheless fathom if "press" is indicated on
In response, we sent the village clerk and interim
village manager the
A hour later, Mr. Bartnicki called to say the
Pollen policy had been destroyed, and instructed the Village clerk to
ignore Pollen's advice.
The next step seems obvious: stop calling Pollen in
the first place. Let's see whether he charges the Village for the ignored
The shame of Shorewood's
scarlet letter: C
Now that the Village librarian has become a politicized
censor . . .
How do we get information we need?
Nichols leads charge for grassroots media
By GEOFF DAVIDIAN
MADISON, Wis. (May 21, 2004) –
Are the media serving the public well enough that
democracy is safe from snake-oil politicians? Consider these
- When Shorewood’s Village Board recently forgave
what when granted was called a $100,000 library “loan” after some
trustees explained that they never intended it to be repaid, at least
one trustee called it “deceitful.”
- When Shorewood Trustee Ellen Eckman appealed to
history and equity as the standard by which Village Board committee
assignments must be handed out, the words were lofty but the reality
- When President George W. Bush argued that the
United States needed to attack Iraq because of evidence that Saddam
Hussein was developing “weapons of mass destruction,” public and
political opinion was swayed on the basis of the information presented
to the public through the media and to Congress by the Administration.
After more than 700 American deaths, we learn that information was
“Democracy trusts that the best decision will be made” based on
sufficient, truthful information, Meredith McGehee, executive director of
the national Alliance for Better Campaigns, told about 200 activists from
around the state meeting Friday at the Monona Terrace Convention Center.
Are the media giving you enough information to
make intelligent decisions in this Village? Now that the Shorewood Library
has become a politicized censor and filters information useful to
citizens, what can you do? Click
Former trustee recalls . . .
The ‘historical’ method Eckman wants used for
committee assignments was 'perverted'
By GEOFF DAVIDIAN
SHOREWOOD, Wis. (May 22, 2004)
– When Trustee Ellen Eckman
asked that assignments to Village Board committees be based on “equity”
and how assignments “historically” were handed out, we decided to
investigate how the assignments were done in the past.
Village Judge Demet defends questionable
'Regulate governance' surfaces as
E-mail from Rod Dow to Shorewood Herald
reveals goal of Eckman-Langenkamp ad hoc
By GEOFF DAVIDIAN
SHOREWOOD, Wis. (May 20, 2004) -- Wonder why Trustee Eckman has blown off
the incomplete and error filled
project and is now lobbying instead for reconfiguration of
According to an e-mail message released by Eckman, the goal of the
ad hoc committee was only secondarily to provide a handbook for new
trustees. The agenda of the ad hoc committee was really, first and
foremost, to "make recommendations regarding the ordinances that regulate
the internal governance of the Village Board" according to an e-mail from
former Village President Rodney Dow to Shorewood Herald writer
Bridget Dorrycott (now Fryman).
See the message
Fryman said she never wrote a story about the issue, and took Dow's
message as "information."
But the contents of Dow's message, and the reply from Eckman,
reveal the behind-the-scenes action Dow is taking to twist and spin
information so as to damn Village President Kohlenberg and glorify Dow's
political clones, Eckman and that former Langenkamp woman, so as to
increase Dow's personal influence over Village affairs, a characteristic
that has, to many, resulted in Shorewood becoming the laughingstock of the
Furthermore, with this lobbying going on from the Law offices of
Foley & Lardner, the Village Board should terminate that firm and
exclude Foley from future Village business as the partners clearly have a
political agenda inconsistent with the canons of professional
Let's go back to how it was
(And some of us are better
historians than others.)
In the name of equity, let's give
Trustee Ellen Eckman more than she is entitled
SHOREWOOD, Wis. (May 19,
2004) -- Trustee Eckman wants Village Board committee
assignments to take election results into account; alleges Village
President Kohlenberg's assignments are not equitable; wants to break up
Kohlenberg's choice of who serves on which committee while not
questioning the Village president's authority to make appointments and
In partial Village
Board / Committee action May 17, 2004:
Budget & Finance Committee
grills Village Attorney Pollen on bills for
Trustees argue over who should
be appointed to Shorewood Foundation board. Should sitting members be
reappointed because the Foundation's president, Michael Schulte, already
has told them they would be? Or should Mr. Schulte consider others
applicants who have not already served before deciding who the best
BID revenue & expenditures, 1st Quarter
- Independent Village Board throws off Dow's shackles
Chimney's knife cuts the strings from the puppet collection
Eckman wants Board panels reconfigured in a ploy
eerily similar to one put forward last year by repudiated Rod Dow
just before he was shouted down by an angry, fed up, intelligent
crowd -- Story
SHOREWOOD, Wis. (March 26, 2004) –
It is appropriate that the Shorewood Herald placed a public forum opinion
signed by Anne Dow directly next to a picture of a sarcophagus in the March 25
issue with a headline “The Quest for Immortality.”
Dow’s argument in the two first paragraphs is
like a sarcophagus -- an ancient Egyptian coffin – lovely on the surface but the
inside is just bones and stinky spiritless gauze that even Botox can’t revive.
First, Dow, whose use of words is strikingly
similar to those of her verbose husband, the reviled windbag Rodney Dow, refers
to “vicious personal attacks” on Trustee Ellen Eckman, who “is keeping her
“She won’t deceive you,” Dow writes.
These words must stick in Dow’s throat as
the Shorewood Police Department has spent two days this week dealing with
Eckman’s illegal campaigning.
Wis. (March 17, 2004) – One
thing Trustees have going for themselves at re-election time is a record
they can stand on. No longer do they have to rely on yard signs,
pie-in-the-sky promises or alliances to create an image upon which an
informed voter can make a choice. So, when Ellen Eckman’s yard signs
disappeared shortly after the Feb. 17 primary election, I wondered what
was going on.
To me, there was no
doubt that if anyone unauthorized had buzzed around the village and torn the
painted cardboard from yards untimely both Eckman and FORMER Village President
Rodney Dow would have done some lengthy and embarrassing antic at a Village
Board meeting. Dow might even have walked his
dog and wife to Stone Creek and stood with his back toward Walgreen's.
So what's going on with Eckman's sign placement strategy?
Monkey see, monkey do.
SHOREWOOD, Wis. (March 15, 2004) -- Suddenly
cognizant of the
public's revulsion with her attitude, behavior, disingenuousness and record,
Trustee Ellen "Some of Us Take Better Notes Than Others," "I'm the Only Educator
Running," "I'm a Historian," "I Know How to Work with Diverse Groups" Eckman
nitpicks over every expenditure at the Board of Trustees meeting, pretending
she's not taking aim at Trustee Lang while demanding to know running fund
balances JUST TWO WEEKS AFTER VOTING TO FORGIVE A $100,000 LOAN TO THE LIBRARY.
Trustees and their bosses sued
for records law violations
SHOREWOOD, Wis. (MARCH 10, 2004)
-- Trustees Vida Langenkamp, Ellen Eckman, Guy Johnson and former Village President
Rodney Dow are added to public records suit,
along with Marquette University, UWM and the State's biggest law firm, Foley &
Shorewood Foundation decides how to spend Seniors'
SHOREWOOD, Wis. (March 9, 2004) -- Village may give
floundering Senior Center operating money so that Shorewood Foundation can spend
Benjamin Trust money on lawyers to ask Probate Court for declaratory judgment
allowing foundation to do what it wants with the $1.1 million bequest. Library
Board's Jeff Schmeckpeper is assigned to a two-man committee to create a list of
acceptable trust attorneys. The participation of library fundraisers in determining how the Benjamin Trust should be spent raises questions about
whether the interests of Mr. Benjamin, the Senior Center or the Library are
foremost in their minds.
Former Village President Rodney Dow, Foley & Lardner's
"Volunteer" poster child, tried unsuccessfully in December 2002 to get his hands
on some of the money for his beloved library/village center project scheme, then
denied he was acting in his official capacity despite a
discussing the scheme from "Rodney H. Dow, Village President."
OREGON MAYOR GOT IT WRONG ABOUT THE LIBRARY
MADISON, Wis. (March 9, 2004) -- A report in
The Daily Astorian that the Wisconsin
Attorney General's Office had called off an investigation into funding of the
Shorewood Library and Village Center project was incorrect, Monica
Burkert-Brist, the head of the Public Integrity Unit of the Department of
Justice, told ShorewoodVillage.com. The Daily Astorian is the newspaper
serving the Oregon community that has hired resigning Shorewood Village Manager
It will be two to three weeks before any decision is made
on whether to proceed with an investigation of "troubling" allegations from
citizens, both in writing and in telephone calls to the Department, she said.
The public Integrity Unit is engaged in a "preliminary review" of facts to
determine whether a criminal investigation is warranted. She said her department
had contact with Shorewood officials, but would not say whether the officials
had been contacted by her office or whether the officials were acting
proactively to try to make the Attorney General's review disappear.
AG's Public Integrity Unit to review library issues
By GEOFF DAVIDIAN
Wis. (Feb. 25, 2004) --
The state Department of Justice has referred to its Public Integrity Unit
reports of possible official misconduct and co-mingling of public and
private funds relating to the Shorewood Library and Village Center
project, ShoreWoodVillage.com has learned. The review will
be conducted "as promptly as possible," according to documents obtained by
is based in part on allegations that some Shorewood officials are
attempting to block an audit of the finances and procedures employed,
ShorewoodVillage.com has learned.
Meanwhile, the parent of a teen-ager involved in the
November 2003 unauthorized entry into the Village Library has not returned
our call inquiring whether there had been any disciplinary action
following the parent's disclosure of the library's security code required
to enter the facility.
Library break in shows
employees think little of security
By GEOFF DAVIDIAN
Wis. (Feb. 24, 2004) -- On
Nov. 14, 2003 an employee gave the Shorewood library security code to a
teen-age daughter who went on a crime rampage with other library children,
Shorewood Police records. The police
report also alleges Village employees' kids broke into school property and
stole equipment. A gun in a videotape of the library incident was only a
fake, one kid blurted.
"I would prefer not to talk about
it at this time," says a parent, who still works at library.
of the mothers involved was overtaken by emotion at Village Hall tonight
as she criticized the Shorewood Budget and Finance Committee that monitors
how the library project was funded and she appeared to resent oversight of
the public facility. Is there any way the trustees should not monitor the
dealings at the Library when those opposed to the audit have children who
break into it, go on vandalism sprees and consider stealing money from the
institution their parents argue needs no oversight, even if the gun was
When FORMER Village
President Rodney Dow asked Shorewood trustees to protect him and cover
clerical and legal costs associated with a request to see public records
from his years in office,
they voted 6-1 in his favor.
Although taxpayers agree to
foot the bill, "Mr. Volunteer" Dow won't give up the records
flows to him or his law firm, Foley & Lardner.
Foley & Lardner attorney Rod
Dow linked to two women in illicit, hurtful cyber rendezvous
After ShorewoodVillage.Com broke the story of illegal e-mail
conversations, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel finds similar abuses
From the Journal Sentinel
'Although there is no case law governing the use of e-mails by public
officials, the attorney general's office and state Department of
Administration have made it clear that communication in cyberspace by
public officials can easily violate state law.
Assistant Attorney General Bruce
Olsen said during a seminar in Waukesha County on open government that
e-mail exchanges likely violate state law and would subject offending
civil and criminal actions.
We answer Rod's call for help
The former village president is
correct to defend the speech of office seekers, but we explain here why he
is not very effective
The Rodney Dow method of
Just tell us why you didn't really report
this activity after you insisted it was so important
Two days after Village Attorney Raymond Pollen
insisted that public officials communicating by e-mail were not violating
the state open meetings law, an
assistant attorney general warns officials
to not violate the open meetings law by communicating among themselves by
See Journal Sentinel article
Evidence Vida Langenkamp violates open meetings law,
according to the Attorney General's definition reported in the Journal
SHOREWOOD, WI. (Feb. 18, 2004) --
After his firm got $61,000 from
Shorewood during his final term, FORMER Village President Rodney Dow demands
payment to inspect files documenting his wheeling-dealing with tax money --
And then there's that whole Foley &
Lardner computer thing
Dow may get around to complying with
records law, but no guarantee
Dow Syndrome II
WI. (Feb. 16, 2004) -- Rodney H. Dow, the FORMER village president
who unsuccessfully insisted at Monday night's Village Board meeting that the
two-minute citizen comment rules be waived for him because he
had already prepared his lengthy
remarks, became perturbed when he was allowed only to speak more than three
times longer than everyone else. Managing nevertheless to continue speaking over
the objections of the Village Board and the other residents in attendance, Dow
departed a miserably deflated wretch only to return triumphantly moments later
with his remarks Photocopied so he could transmit his terribly important
statement to the Board. We have asked for the receipt pursuant to the state
public records act to
inspect the receipt showing he paid for the photocopies, pursuant to Village ordinances.
Over the past three years, Village Attorney
Raymond Pollen's firm has billed the village about
$300,000 for legal services, yet trustees aren't even
aware of their responsibility to retain their records.
Now, Pollen and his firm, Crivello, Carlson & Mentkowski,
replaced in the lawsuit seeking court-ordered records
retention and production amid questions of conflicts of
interest. Has Pollen been more of an enabler for
irresponsible trustees than a counselor on how to behave
Please join the discussion by clicking
If you like this site, refer a friend!
admissions spark e-mail dicta
Pollen: stop trustees
from destroying e-mail
New suit pends
as League of Wisconsin
Municipalities lawyer limits remedies to current case; Rod
Dow, Eckman and Langenkamp face additional issues
MILWAUKEE, WI. (Feb. 9,
2004) -- Circuit Judge Clare
asks Village Attorney
Raymond Pollen to "voluntarily direct" Shorewood trustees to
stop deleting email after learning that Trustee Vida
Langenkamp boasted she doesn't have to retain them. Ted
Waskowski, the Madison insurance lawyer who
replaced Pollen in
Davidian v. Shorewood, admitted that some e-mail on
trustee personal computers may be public records.
Fiorenza asked Pollen whether he directed trustees to stop
deleting e-mail after a Jan. 5 hearing at which
Pollen told the Court no
records would be destroyed, and Pollen admitted he did
not. Last week, Langenkamp told Shorewood Herald
reporter Bridget Fryman: "We are not required by law to keep
material sent to us; if we were, we were not told that."
People who question
Shorewood government need to be scrutinized and investigated,
in Langenkamp's view
'Believe me, I've
done nothing wrong,' she says
"For those who do live in
Shorewood, YOU NEED TO SEE THIS, so you can understand what
type of people have surfaced and what type of tactics are
being used to go after decent, ethical, and talented citizens
of our Village."
You can download the entire mess!
Your volunteer Shorewood government officials at work
and in their own words
candidate Ellen is not part of a "rump government;" distances
herself from Rodney Dow
Sent: Monday, January 12, 2004 10:36
Cc: Mark Kohlenberg
Subject: Your Letter
I am responding to an
electronic message titled "Friends, we need your help" that you sent on January 8th and
which was forwarded to me. I would like to correct some
of the inaccurate statements made by you about me and my work
as a trustee.
1. Rod Dow is not my campaign manager.
He never has been – not for this campaign nor for the last
campaign. I did not have a campaign manager in my first
election as a trustee nor will I have one for this election.
2. Having attended the meetings of the ad hoc committee, I
trust that you can see for yourself that this committee is not
as you described it - "a rump government running in parallel
to the elected government."
A Motion and
Second by E-mail
worries about two public records requests; calls them a
"barrage" while being unable to answer them properly
From: Vida Langenkamp
Sent: Wednesday, January 28, 2004 10:04
To: Mark Kohlenberg; Mike & Megan O'Brien; Jim Rice;
Kellie Lang; ellen
Dear Fellow Board members,
I am writing to second Ellen's
suggestion that we take some of our time at our next meeting
to convene into closed session. I particularly would like
legal advice from Ray as well as some input from
Jim since he is the another legal voice. I think any advice
needs to be heard by all of us. I would also like the
opportunity to update you on the latest of a continual barage
of requests made to Ellen and myself. In my opinion it is of
utmost importance that the Board hears this collectively.
Vida spies on
citizens, calls them "dogs," begs Mark for help; says
advocates of open government have "questionable" objectives
From: Vida Langenkamp
Sent: Wednesday, January 21, 2004 8:24
To: Mark Kohlenberg
Subject: Some thoughts
. . . After you left
last evening, or early this morning, Guy and I had the
opportunity to speak briefly to Kellie about a matter
that is of great concern. It involves a small core group of
your staunchest supporters. I will not name them because I am
sure you know who they are. Be aware that they spent a great
deal of time conversing with Mr. D. and Mr. Z. after last
night's meeting. This is not the first time I have seen them
in deep conversation with these two whose objectives are
questionable to say the least. Mark, I strongly urge you to
call the dogs off, as they say. In my opinion, it is
imperative that YOU tell them to keep their distance. They
don't seem to understand the seriousness of the situation we
find ourselves in. I have no doubt that you can influence them
to act appropriately and avoid contact with the
aforementioned. Please, for the sake of all of us, speak to
Let's call it 'poor judgment'
What didn't he get?
Pollen and firm Crivello, Carlson & Mentkowski are out
Dance in the streets!
|SHOREWOOD, Wis. (Feb.
2, 2004) -- 'Why is there going to be an audit? I don't
understand. We should be dancing in the streets because we got a
$6.1 million library project for more than we agreed to pay but
for less than it is worth, Praise be to Allah. Lying is
forbidden in Shorewood. Village Manager Madere will tolerate
nothing but truthfulness. The village manager is a man of great
honor and integrity. Everyone is encouraged to speak freely,
The former Mohammed Saeed al-Dow
The village manager, God bless his
name, Trustees Langenkamp and Eckman, may they live forever in
Allah's grace, will have a great victory in Wisconsin courts. The
Yankee infidel dogs will be slaughtered, God willing, and their
throats will be cut as I am speaking. It will be a great victory
over the First Amendment dogs and their lying infidel lawyers, God
be praised. The lying cowards who want to see my records, may they
be safe from the First Amendment dogs, may they rot in Cudahy, will
see who is in control! Truly, I can say there are, in fact, no
unauthorized funds anywhere. The village attorney, God willing, will
rule a thousand years after the rebels are finished committing
suicide -- if there are any rebels which there are not, God be
praised. The heathen infidel pagan louts will never get records
proving anything. Never! Not even if the court orders Foley &
Lardner's computers seized! Never! God willing, the rebels, if there
are any which there are not, will scalp themselves before we do it
for them. They might have a chance if they could fund themselves
with Community Block Grant funds, but I control the money through my
Email campaigns, God be praised, and they would just blow themselves
up trying to audit the project before we do it to them, God willing.
We will roast their stomachs.'
Is something incorrect or
unfair? Contact us by clicking
In a public forum statement in
the Shorewood Herald, Trustee Ellen Eckman touts that she is
an "educator," and "the only candidate who is educator."
Here's our response.
Do they still represent
the village in certain matters?
Is Foley & Lardner law firm behind Shorewood
Correspondence suggests Dow wants to
clone himself politically
Correspondence produced by Trustees
Langenkamp and Eckman reveal former Village President Rodney Dow's
tirades in and to the press as well as manipulation of current
trustees originated during office hours with the return address:
From: "Dow, Rodney H." <RDow@foley.com>
pdf file requires free Acrobat 6.0 Reader
Who's he billing for
his time? Or are the partners donating it? How does he get any work
done at the office?
Read the correspondence (.pdf)
Read the correspondence (html and .txt)
Response to request for Dow's official correspondence
is later than required by law because of 'social' matters
won't talk without a lawyer
After ignoring the
statutory deadline for responding to requests to provide records
from his term of office, Attorney Rodney Dow, the former Shorewood
Village president and a partner in the state's
law firm, is asking Shorewood taxpayers to foot the bill for legal
advice on whether he has to show taxpayers records of his
communications regarding the $6.2 million library project he sold
them on -- Jan. 27, 2004
pdf file requires free Acrobat 6.0 Reader
Is he charging us for
Village Attorney Pollen
rethinks position on e-mail after receiving
proof information was withheld in
Langenkamp-Eckman document production -- Jan. 27, 2004 --
pdf file requires free Acrobat 6.0 Reader
The 'Blue Bin' as a filing cabinet
County Corporation Counsel asked to investigate Langenkamp-Eckman
record retention system -- January 27, 2004
pdf file requires free Acrobat 6.0 Reader
Injunction request follows Langenkamp's admission she
pdf file requires free Acrobat 6.0 Reader
See index to
related court documents
Pollen capitulates on
officials destroy records; electronic e-mail still at issue
In partial response to
legal demands that Shorewood records
regarding the library project be made public, the following material
is now open for inspection at the Shorewood Village Manager's
Office, 3930 N. Murray Ave.:
52 documents comprising
the total correspondence in her possession as of January 14, 2004
between Trustee Ellen Eckman and other Board members, former
Village President Rodney Dow, Village Manager Ed Madere, and
Village Attorney Raymond Pollen.
4 documents comprising the
total correspondence in her possession as of January 12, 2004
between Trustee Vida Langenkamp and other Board members, former
Village President Rodney Dow, Village Manager Ed Madere, and
Village Attorney Raymond Pollen.
Itemized bills from
Village Attorney Raymond Pollen and his firm, Crivello, Carlson &
Mentkowski, S.C., for legal services provided to the Village of
Police Chief Michael Meehan, Village Attorney Raymond Pollen and
his law firm, Crivello, Carlson & Mentkowski, S.C., between Jan.
1, 2003 and Nov. 21, 2003.
Other documents are being
archived as time permits.
this link frequently for updates
Dow legacy: a pig in a poke
They knew they
couldn't get approval from voters for the whole
library project, so the referendum picked $5 million as a
figure voters would approve. But former Village President Rodney
Dow, (Doesn't he SPECIALIZE in FINANCING at Foley & Lardner)
should have calculated that taxpayers would have to foot the bill
for extras once the project was completed. Didn't they intend from
the beginning to fund the library through tax money? Come on, Rod,
wasn't this slick political financing?
Can a "public
officer" ethically vote against an audit that would have as its
focus whether there was "any direct or indirect impairment
of the capital improvement fund or bond security and redemption
fund" when that public officer could "be held liable" in an action
"to restore" such diverted funds?
Why should there be a library audit? Because . .
18.15 Diversion of funds, liability of
officer or public employee, as defined in s.
939.22 (30), and the
surety on the official bond of the officer or employee, or any
other person participating in any direct or indirect impairment of
the capital improvement fund or bond security and redemption
be liable in an action brought by the attorney general in the
name of the state, or by
taxpayer of the state, or by the holder of any evidence of
indebtedness payable in whole or in part, directly or indirectly,
out of such fund,
restore to such fund all diversions therefrom.
History: 1991 a. 316.
939.22 Words and phrases
officer"; "public employee". A "public officer" is any person
appointed or elected according to law to discharge a public duty for
the state or one of its subordinate governmental units. A "public
employee" is any person, not an officer, who performs any official
function on behalf of the state or one of its subordinate
governmental units and who is paid from the public treasury of the
state or subordinate governmental unit.
ASK FOR LIBRARY AUDIT PROPOSALS
actually do it, but might, later, maybe)
SHOREWOOD, Wis. (January 20,
2004) -- The Village Board unanimously agreed to solicit
proposals to have "an independent performance and financial audit
done of the library project."
Village President Mark
Kohlenberg said the Budget and Finance Committee should devote its
next meeting to developing a statement of what the audit would
consist of, and that the committee should do it as quickly as
possible. Whatever the committee decides, a majority of the full
Board would still have to approve the wording and the Board could
choose to not accept any of the proposals that might ultimately be
presented by competent auditors in response to the agreed
While there was much debate
among trustees and considerable input from residents, the strongest
opposition to an audit was from Trustee Ellen Eckman, who was
"deeply troubled" by the thought of having to decide what to do, but
voted "Yes" after everyone else already had done so.
The meeting was the first
since Village Manager Edward Madere gave his Jan. 5
presentation meant to
explain the history and details of the over-budget, under-financed
Yet only Kohlenberg and Trustee
Kellie Lang had questions of Madere's presentation, which the
Village staff had six weeks to prepare.
Rohde's Journal Sentinel story
Over the past three
years, Village Attorney Ray Pollen's firm has billed
Shorewood for a quarter of a million dollars for
legal services, yet officials aren't even aware of
their responsibility to retain public records. Has
Pollen been more of an enabler for irresponsible
trustees than a counselor on how to behave
On January 5, 2004, Shorewood Village
Attorney Raymond Pollen told
County Circuit Court Judge Clare Fiorenza:
"I am not aware of any destruction
of documents, and I am aware of the obligation not to destroy
any documents." These documents would include all correspondence
between village officials, even e-mail, Pollen said.
See Shorewood Herald
Langenkamp admits she threw records in garbage and
disposed of computer containing records
Village Trustee Vida Langenkamp says
she is required by law to retain and produce under the Wisconsin Public Records
Act is not available because in November 'I purchased a new
computer and am no longer in possession of my old computer.'
produces only four pages from her years in office.
Read the messages
Trustee Ellen Eckman produces just 52 sheets of paper in
response to request for her records.
Sensenbrenner takes aim at Hearst newspaper
SHOREWOOD, Wis. (January 17, 2004) –
Congressman F. James
Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis.), the chairman of the House Judiciary
Committee, says he will send an “oversight letter” to the U.S.
Department of Justice asking why the agency’s antitrust division
repeatedly approves acquisition of competing newspapers by the
Hearst Corporation, which then closes them.
1992, Hearst has bought and shut down competing newspapers,
creating one-newspaper towns. From Houston and San Antonio to San
Francisco, Hearst has emerged as owner of the only daily newspaper
with paid circulation in the relevant market, according to figures
from the Audit Bureau of Circulations. In each case, the New
York-based corporation received Department of Justice blessings
despite Congress’ policy of maintaining and “preserving” editorial
voices in the United States.
Speaking at a town
hall meeting in the municipal court chambers at Village Hall
Saturday, Sensenbrenner said his staff included antitrust experts
who previously had worked at the Antitrust Division of the
Department of Justice, and when it comes to oversight of the DOJ,
“you’ve come to the right place.”
Village residents say:
Strange meeting place, indeed
By Denise Scherer
I wonder if residents of the
village of Shorewood are aware that two members of our Village
Board, under the cover of a committee meeting, met in a small
village eatery vs. our multimillion dollar library.
Opinion in Shorewood
Can we undergo another year
of indecisive government? We voted for Kohlenberg for president
and Lang to fill a vacant seat. Therefore, we deserve their
appropriate representation; notwithstanding, however, we did get
a rather satisfactory budget process with acceptable results.
Opinion in Shorewood Herald
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
communities might want to send Shorewood village officials a
short thank-you note for offering the latest lessons in how not
to conduct the public's business. The lessons come courtesy of a
meeting held last week at a City Market cafe by a committee of
the Shorewood Village Board that is supposed to look into board
procedures and policies and to come up with an orientation for
new board members."
Read the editorial
is this man laughing?
Village Attorney Ray Pollen's law firm billed taxpayers
$244,632 since Nov. 2000
Interactive (.mht) or
The Axis of
Snivel & Drivel:
That Langenkamp woman-Eckman-Dow
How many ways
can they humiliate this village?
Village Manager Madere's response to request for
Library funding as presented at Jan. 5th board meeting (7MB.pdf
Requires free Adobe Acrobat
attorney finds everything his clients do is perfect!
Former Village Pres. Dow's law firm, Foley & Lardner,
billed the Village $61,000 during the last three years he was in
office, records show.
Complaint asks whether Jan. 9 ad hoc
village committee meeting was legal. click
Dow know, and when will he know it?
SHOREWOOD, Wis. (Jan, 2, 2004) -- Rodney Dow,
the former Village president, apparently opposes openness in
alleged essays in the Shorewood Herald he refers to correct
action by conscientious trustees as "leaks" by "moles."
"I used to
be Village President, so I'm going to go on and on and on about
"I used to be
Attorney Raymond Pollen
and Milwaukee firm Crivello, Carlson & Mentkowski are sued for
withholding public records in search for clues to library fund
December 12, 2003 --
MilwaukeePress.Net asks judge to enjoin Shorewood officials from
destroying records of illegal $535,000 transfer to Village library
and to command village attorney and village manager to produce what
documents remain -- Taxpayers will foot the bill for official
intransigence, foot dragging.
Read the verified motion
(30) "Public officer"; "public employee". A "public
officer" is any person appointed or elected according to law to discharge
a public duty for the state or one of its subordinate governmental
units. A "public employee" is any person, not an officer, who
performs any official function on behalf of the state or one of its
subordinate governmental units and who is paid from the public treasury of
the state or subordinate governmental unit.