I have lived in the Falls since 1968. My great-great grandfather was one of the village founders. I have served the community in multiple ways: Firefighter, various boards and commissions and for many years was president of the Falls Cable Access Corp. Currently I own, and am active in, a restaurant equipment manufacturing company.
Attorney general asks about Falls party
Inquiry in response to some who say village business was discussed
REID J. EPSTEIN firstname.lastname@example.org, Journal Sentinel
Published: February 12, 2004
The state attorney general's office has asked Village Attorney Mike Morse for "information or opinions" about an invitation-only holiday party thrown by Village President Jefferson Davis for political appointees and trustees. The attorney general's letter, dated Dec. 22 and signed by Steven Tinker, the director of criminal litigation for the office's Antitrust and Consumer Protection Unit, is in response to an anonymous letter that included a copy of a Dec. 12 Journal Sentinel article that detailed Davis' holiday party, at which, those present said, village business was discussed.
The Wisconsin open meetings law requires advance public notice before a quorum of municipal officials meets to discuss public business. The village released the letter from Tinker after the Journal Sentinel filed an open records request asking for it Jan. 28. Morse declined to release his response, which he said was dated Feb. 3, because it fell outside the range of dates in the newspaper's records request. Morse said he could not release his letter without giving notice to any village officials mentioned in it and giving them five days to augment the letter. Morse said he told Tinker that he believes the village did not have to provide notice for the party. Morse said that even though it didn't have to, the village should have given notice for the holiday party, which members of the Village Board, Plan Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals attended. He said officials are reminded to not discuss official business at such parties.
But Davis said the party was just "a social gathering," and that he did not talk about village business. Reached for comment Wednesday, Davis called the letter groundless and said it was part of an orchestrated, anonymous campaign to discredit him. "Someone has too much time on their hands," he said of the letter's writer. "We're going to move forward with our agenda. We welcome the scrutiny and input of people in Menomonee Falls, we just wish that they would sign their names and do things in public."
In its Jan. 29 edition, the Menomonee Falls News printed two letters to the editor attacking Davis, Trustees Christopher Slinker and Dennis Farrell, and Cheryl McShane, who is challenging Trustee Michael McDonald for his seat. In its Feb. 5 edition, the News printed a note stating that the letters "were not authenticated" and allowed Davis, Slinker, Farrell and McShane to write their own letters, in which the four attacked the letter-writers as fictitious. In his Feb. 5 letter to the News, Davis stated that a "preliminary investigation with the Village clerk's office, the Police Department, forensics analysts and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation" found that the two signed names do not exist in Menomonee Falls. "As the 'good book' says," Davis wrote, " 'The truth shall set you free.' " Davis wrote that he went to the addresses listed on the letters -- which were not published in the paper, but he said were provided to him by the News -- and found that the purported letter-writers did not live there. On Wednesday, Davis declined to specify how he used the Police Department or Department of Transportation to investigate the incident. Kris Radish, the managing editor for Community Newspapers Inc., which publishes the News, declined to answer any questions about the letters Wednesday. "I'm not authorized to answer any questions from outside media," she said. Community Newspapers Inc. is a subsidiary of Journal Communications, the parent company of the Journal Sentinel.
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