Jefferson Davis is a longtime resident of Menomonee Falls. He is the proud parent of two wonderful boys. He enjoys singing, volunteering, reading, gardening, politics, antiques, history, guitar, violin, piano, officiating, helping neighbors and yard work. He served as Village President of Menomonee Falls from 2003-05. He is a member of Northbrook Church and serves on the Advisory Council for the Salvation Army Rehabilitation Center. He is an independent registered representative practicing in the areas of insurance, investments and retirement.
Outgoing Village President Dick Rechlicz is making sure he takes advantage of the Office of Village President for every opportunity to get as much business as possible for himself and his law firm before the term expires in April of 2009.
The Village President has apparently recruited quite a few new clients for himself as a real estate attorney during his nearly four years in office that were never his clients before he became Village President in 2005 as "word" quickly spread that if business people wanted their projects and proposals approved by the Menomonee Falls Village Board they would have to "go through" him to get it done.
The Vanguard will provide an extensive, but surely not a complete, list of examples as part of this posting.
These examples will be well documented and probably only represent a select few of the many examples that may exist, but remain under the radar screen for those business people who have had to "use" Dick Rechlicz if they wanted their projects and proposals approved by the Menomonee Falls Village Board.
This stuff is like toothpaste, once it is out of the tube, it can't go back in.
This posting will also include the following updates...
Trying to get to the "bottom of the truth" with the new garbage agreements as former Village Manager weighs in
Trustee McDonald publicly promises taxpayers will get their money back with the current dormant hotel construction on Main Street as part of TIF District 6's projected $17 million cost
The real exposure of the hoax about the so called "global warming" and "climate change" sham that's being forced down the throats of Americans
2009 Village Board Budget shows Taxpayer Surplus Account dropping nearly $4 million in last four years under Dick Rechlicz
Clerk's Office is Inconsistent with Campaign Finance Reports for Rechlicz, Steliga and McDonald
Village Board to approve new contract with Falls Cable Access
Outgoing Village President Quickly "Hustles" for Business Before Term Expires in 2009
The Vanguard, other witnesses and various business people have seen Village President Dick Rechlicz in action as he has apparently lined up new clients involving Village Business since he took office in April of 2005.
Citizens have asked The Vanguard if this is legal for elected officials to use their public office to potentially benefit themselves personally or professionally.
Business people have been in contact with the The Vanguard sharing information that would confirm this questionable behavior of the Village President where they were required or at least it was "heavily suggested" that in order for them to get their business proposals approved, they would have to hire the Village President as their real estate attorney even if they had their own attorney and had never used Dick Rechlicz as their attorney before.
The State of Wisconsin Code of Ethics and State Statutes make it very clear that all local elected officials are clearly prohibited from using their elected office to benefit themselves, an immediate family member or an associated organization they are affiliated with for any gain in any way.
In spite of the law, it appears Village President Dick Rechlicz has been hustling for business as a real estate attorney ever since he took office in April of 2005 as Village President.
The Vanguard provides the Ethics Overview for Local Elected Officials from the State of Wisconsin Ethics Division here:
Overview of statutes pertaining to local officials.
Section 19.59, Wisconsin Statutes, creates a code of ethics for local government officials. The statute also authorizes a county, city, village, or town to create its own code of ethics in addition to the state code. Some key definitions applicable to s.19.59 are found in s.19.42, Wisconsin Statutes.
Other statutes that apply to local officials include ss.946.11, 946.12, and 946.13, Wisconsin Statutes, pertaining to misconduct in public office and private interests in official actions.
Section 19.59, Wisconsin Statutes, applies to all political subdivisions and special purpose districts of the state, as well as instrumentalities and corporations of the political subdivisions and special purpose districts. Within those local units of government, the statute covers elected officials, individuals appointed to a position for a specified term, individuals who serve in a position at the pleasure of the local government's governing body or executive, and county administrators and city or village managers.
What are the rules?
In general, the ethics code contains two kinds of restrictions. The first restricts an official from personally profiting from holding public office, apart from the receipt of salary and expenses to which the official is entitled. The second restricts an official from participating in decisions in which the official has a personal financial interest. More specifically:
B. A local public official may not accept (and no one may offer or give) anything of value that could reasonably be expected to influence the official's vote, official actions or judgment.
C. A local public official may not accept (and no one may offer or give) anything of value that could reasonably be considered a reward for any official action or inaction.
Controlling conflicting interests
B. A local public official may not use office or position to produce a substantial benefit for official, family, or associated organization.
How to file a complaint.
Violating the code of ethics can subject a local public official to civil or criminal penalties. The statute is enforced by local district attorneys. An individual may call or write the district attorney in the county in which an alleged violation has occurred. An individual may also file a verified complaint with a district attorney. A verified complaint is a notarized, sworn statement of the alleged facts to the best of the individual's knowledge and belief. If a district attorney fails to bring an action within 20 days of receiving a verified complaint, the complainant may petition the attorney general to bring an action.
Village President Dick Rechlicz Appears to Secure Many New Clients Using Village Presidency for His Real Estate Law Practice
Many business people have had to "use" Dick Rechlicz as their attorney to get their business proposals approved by the Village Board since 2005.
The way it works is, according to those business people who have had the courage to confide in The Vanguard, the "word" gets around the business community that if someone wants to get their business proposals approved by the Village Board they have to "use" Dick Rechlicz as their attorney even if they have their own attorney and have never used him before for their real estate transactions.
Members of The Vanguard personally know of business people and have personally witnessed the Village President in action at Village Board Meetings where he excuses himself from the Village Board Meeting, waits just outside the Village Board Room in the hallway listening to the entire approval process for his client, paces back and forth in the hallway until he hears the vote by the Village Board for approval and then returns to the Village Board Meeting.
This same process is often initiated at the Planning Commission level as well which is where the business proposals for his new clients start as he serves by de facto as Village President as a commissioner on the Planning Commission.
Sometimes he votes for approval and at other times he recuses himself to make it appear he is being ethical.
The business people who have had the courage to confide in The Vanguard have intimated they hire Dick Rechlicz as their attorney, even if he has never been their attorney in the past, to get their business proposals approved. Once the votes are secured for their business proposals it appears that he is paid, engages in bartering for his services with his clients, receives a campaign contribution or is part of a marketing plan with his clients for his services.
A Sample List of Known and Potential Clients Who "Use" Village President Dick Rechlicz as Their Attorney for Project Approval Revealed
The following is a list of business people who have "had to use" Dick Rechlicz for their business or business proposals before the Village Board:
- Client A - Purchased a property in a very prominent part of the Falls on the north side of town. Was instructed by those in the real estate profession, who knew the "rules of approval" in Menomonee Falls, that if they wanted to get their business proposal approved by the Village Planning Commission and Village Board they would have to "use" Dick Rechlicz as their attorney even if they had their own attorney and had never used Dick Rechlicz before. Dick Rechlicz appears to have recused himself from voting on this particular proposal at the Planning Commission and Village Board levels according to Village Records. The proposal was approved in 2008 by the Planning Commission and Village Board. No word yet on how much the Village President was paid for his services or if there was any bartering involved with his new client. No campaign contributions appear to have been made for this transaction as the Village President's Campaign Account was terminated in September of 2007 when he took the campaign contributor's donations of $5,044.02 and gave it to the Menomonee Falls High School.
- Client B - Used Dick Rechlicz for legal work in 2005-06. Repeatedly asked for the legal bill for his services. Was finally instructed by the Village President to do some work for him in exchange for legal work he had done for his client. No word yet if this apparent bartering agreement was disclosed on anyone's income taxes. No campaign contributions appear to have taken place for this transaction.
- Client C - A well known South Central Wisconsin Company received approval at the Planning Commission and Village Board levels later in 2005 for their business proposal with Village President Dick Rechlicz voting yes at both meetings. Shortly after that, in early 2006 or perhaps a little later, the Company began to market the sale of their multiple living units throughout the area with the Village President's Real Estate Law Brochure inserted with their mass marketing piece. The Village President's Real Estate Law Brochure fully discloses his affiliation with his law firm as a real estate attorney and appears to boast about serving on the Planning Commission and that he is currently the "President of Menomonee Falls" a term he resoundingly denounced before and after he became what he always referred to as simply being Village Board President. An apparent contradiction for the Village President or is it Village Board President? He also promotes himself as having served on the Zoning Board of Appeals another affiliation for being a real estate attorney. No word yet how many closings the Village President may have benefited from with the Company. No campaign contributions appear to have taken place for this arrangement or possible bartering agreements.
- Client D - Confides in a frustrated business person on how to get business proposals approved in Menomonee Falls by the Planning Commission and Village Board. The frustrated business person had been given many promises by certain members of the Village Board for the approval of their business proposal only to be promised one thing in public and then be critically and savagely denounced in Closed Session by the same Trustees who had made public promises. This proposal, when fully implemented, would have revived a very depressed part of the village with an expanded tax base, new jobs, hospitality, new revenues and an improved quality of life. The frustrated business person finally asks the Village President's new client (Client D who had never used Dick Rechlicz before as an attorney) how they were able to get their proposals approved so easily and quickly by the Planning Commission and Village Board. Client D amusingly said, "It's simple. You just hire the Village President, he recuses himself and when the votes are secured he is paid." The frustrated business person at the time was also approached by a member of the legal profession and Village Board for money if he wanted to get his proposal approved. Unfortunately, money was given, but eventually was stopped because the project was once again blocked by the very people on the Village Board who promised to get the proposal approved for money. Client D, who had never used Dick Rechlicz before as their attorney, had another proposal before the Planning Commission and Village Board for a major project. Dick Rechlicz had voted on Client D's projects many times before he became Village President in 2005 at the Planning Commission. With the new "project approval" process in place under Dick Rechlicz's Presidency, Client D was able to get their proposal approved even though it was very controversial with the neighbors requiring numerous and sometimes cantankerous meetings in early 2008. The Village President apparently recused himself at the Planning Commission and Village Board for the proposal, but apparently did receive a $100 Campaign Contribution from Client D for his efforts in 2007 when the project first gave birth.
- Client E - Hired the Village President in 2006-07 to try and find a loophole in the real estate paperwork for a historical and very prominent property in downtown Menomonee Falls that would require the owner, who had invested hundreds of thousands of dollars into their business, to virtually give the property to his new client or else there may have been the threat of "takings of eminent domain" for the current owner for the benefit of the government. The Village President even went as far as to accuse the building owner of "changing" the real estate paperwork by sending the paperwork out to a professional authenticity company to prove the paperwork had actually been changed by the current owner. Of course the Village President was unsuccessful, but the business person had to hire an attorney to protect their business from the threats of the Village President costing them thousands of dollars in unnecessary legal fees which could have been used for employees. Fortunately, the attorney for the business person was able to stop the Village President's apparent threats and harassment and possible defamation with basically a cease and desist letter to Dick Rechlicz. The business continues to be a positive major attraction in downtown Menomonee Falls. Without this business, the downtown would be even more empty than what it already is. Campaign contributions poured into Dick Rechlicz's account from Client E around the same time of his efforts to oust the business person from his building that totaled close to $2,000 over a couple of years. The Village President never represented Client E before his attempt to oust the business person.
- Client F - A major business person from a neighboring community had several projects before the Planning Commission and Village Board in 2005-07. They hired Dick Rechlicz as their attorney when they had never used him before and he had never recused himself from voting on their projects at the Planning Commission prior to becoming Village President in 2005. Client F provided the Village President free housing for several months in a neighboring community in 2006 before he moved back to the Falls later that year. Within 45-60 days after Client F's proposals were approved by the Planning Commission and Village Board in late 2006, campaign contributions in the amount of $600 were made by Client F to Dick Rechlicz's Campaign Account. It appears the Village President did recuse himself from voting on these proposals at the Planning Commission and Village Board levels. It has never been resolved whether or not the Village President ever paid his rent ($3,00-$4,000) to Client F while living in a neighboring community or if this arrangement was ever reported on anyone's income taxes or if there was a bartering arrangement in place.
- Other interesting and or questionable campaign contributions to Dick Rechlicz from 2005-07 - Business people in new TIF District Developments made $200 in campaign contributions in 2007 at the time the TIF District was being formed. Another major developer made a $150 contribution in 2007 with uncertain ties to Village Business. Major Southeastern Wisconsin Developer made $200 in campaign contributions at about the same time they were seeking major zoning changes from the Village on the south side. An attorney for Wal Mart made a $100 contribution in 2007. A retired real estate representative made a $325 contribution in 2007. A downtown business person who has received numerous financial benefits from the Village Board over the last 5-7 years gave $300. An ambulance company gave $300. A refrigeration company gave $300. A Mequon business person gave $100 who had some proposals before the Village at the time. Former Milwaukee Alderman Tom Nardelli's Campaign gave $100. Police officers and their family gave numerous contributions. Police and Fire Commission member(s) gave hundreds of dollars. Numerous committee appointees gave well over a thousand dollars. Trustees Jeskewitz, Ellis and McDonald and some of their family members gave hundreds of dollars approaching $1,000. Former Falls Cable Access Board Member gave $225. The school superintendent gave $50 while one of his principals gave $100 and numerous teachers gave $50-$200. Falls Fest representatives gave hundreds of dollars. Over $1,000 of Dick's own money that he re-reimbursed himself for with contributor's money.
- Campaign Account Closed in September 2007 - Dick Rechlicz's Campaign Account was closed in September of 2007 after he paid himself $1,000 and gave the rest of the contributor's money ($5,044.22) to the Menomonee Falls High School confirming over a year ago that he wasn't going to run for office again.
Citizens Ask What Can be Done?
In citizen communications to The Vanguard as to what can be done about the Village President's business deals while in office and the apparent lack of ethics, the question is asked, "What can be done if the three local newspapers simply turn a deaf ear and a blind eye to the matter?"
Most citizens and business people don't want to get involved for fear of what will happen to them as they have witnessed what happens to those individuals or elected officials who ask too many questions or "know" too much about the goings on in Menomonee Falls.
It is understandable why people don't want to get involved for fear of public persecution, mockery and destruction from public officials who don't want certain information becoming public that has been hidden away for their benefit.
Like a young William Wilberforce in the early 1780's as a British Parliament Member however, some causes are worth the challenge of exposing and correcting no matter what the cost or how long it takes when it's about doing the right thing for the citizens of a community who have been sheltered from the sheer truth about what has been going on with their government for so long.
It took William Wilberforce 20 years of a constant and anguishing battle with "high society" members of the Parliament to get a vote on ending the British Slave Trade, but he did it with the help of just a handful of loyal and ardent supporters who knew in their heads and hearts that the cause that nearly cost him everything was the right thing to do for humans as well as the British Parliament and the ending of the slave trade (http://www.brycchancarey.com/abolition/wilberforce.htm) of which the British Empire was built on.
Always follow the money trail and it will lead to the truth.
This type of behavior should not come as a surprise to anyone with Dick Rechlicz apparently using the Office of Village Board President to potentially benefit himself as the following list is just a small sample of other Village Board Members who have apparently been engaged in very similar dealings with business people or non-profit groups:
- Marcus Theater Corporation having to sell their old theater, which was assessed at $1 million, on Main Street to Falls Fest for $250,000 in 2003 in exchange for four new screens at their new complex with the efforts of Trustee Jeskewitz, Steliga and former Village Presidents Greco and Steliga who are also affiliated with Falls Fest while at the same time supposedly representing the best interests of the Village taxpayers.
- Cousins Subs and Redmond Construction having to buy a private residence near the property where they wanted to build a new Cousins Store in 2002 in order to get their project approved led by former Village President Joe Greco.
- The Metcalfe Property next to Village Hall that was illegally delineated by SEWRPC at the secret direction of the Village in the early 2000's preventing any business plan because Mr. Metcalfe would not give his property to the Village as they had instructed him to do so or else no business plan approval for him led by former Village President Joe Greco and Trustee McDonald.
- Kohler Zahn House in downtown Menomonee Falls that has cost the taxpayers over $600,000 so far that was given by Trustees Jeskewitz and Steliga to themselves as Falls Fest Directors including the efforts of former Village Presidents Greco and Steliga. The money was supposed to be paid back to the taxpayers by Falls Fest, but the resolution requiring them to do so was mysteriously changed without approval by the Village Board that lifted the repayment clause.
- Tamarack Preserve landowner who was extorted into selling his 50 acres of swamp land to the Village, after the Board in Closed Session had agreed not to purchase the property, in order to get his 37 lot subdivision approved that was delayed for over 3 years costing the land owner tens of thousands of dollars, but was ultimately approved expanding the tax base by some $15 million.
It appears there are several options.
The State Ethics Board Division does allow citizens to file complaints seeking their opinion on matters such as these (http://ethics.state.wi.us/LocalOfficials/LocalOfficial1.htm).
The Attorney General's Office has a Public Integrity Unity that handles matters such as these, but may refer them to the District Attorney (http://www.doj.state.wi.us/).
The Waukesha County District Attorney normally handles complaints such as these, but would in all probability have to recuse himself because Dick Rechlicz was listed on his 2006 Campaign Brochure as a major endorser of his. That would be a conflict of interest and would have to be referred to another DA possibly.
Contact Dick Rechlicz and the Trustees and ask that this type of behavior be stopped and investigated for ethical and legality purposes with the following contact information:
Trustee Sharon Ellis Trustee Dennis Farrell
N79 W15360 Goldenrod Drive N94 W15987 Cherokee Drive
Trustee Jim Jeskewitz Trustee Jeff Steliga
N80 W15239 Hilltop Drive W209 N9106 Scenic Drive
Trustee Randy Newman Trustee Mike McDonald
N74 W15300 Stoneridge Drive W162 N7406 Tamarack Drive
President Rick Rechlicz
N59 W17821 Prairie Sky Court
532-4200 or 251-2245
Another option is to vote for a new Village President that doesn't have any conflicts of interest and doesn't surround them self with Trustees who are willing to look the other way when things like this occur and temporarily suffer from the Hogan's Heroes character of Sargent Schultz's, "I know nutting!", syndrome while giving hundreds of dollars in campaign contributions to support this kind of behavior that is taking place right in front of them without any questions of legality or ethics being asked.
At any rate, it is hoped that whoever becomes the new Village President that they won't continue to force business people to "use" them to get their proposals approved in exchange for financial gain, campaign contributions or bartering agreements.
Let's hope business people will now be able to get their proposals approved based on the merits of their plan and for the betterment of Menomonee Falls to do the right thing. Because when the right thing is done, everything else magically just takes care of itself.
Getting to the "bottom of the truth" with the new garbage agreements as former Village Manager weighs in
The Vanguard will continue to monitor the new garbage agreements as more and more details become available that could have been easily addressed if the Village Board would have simply allowed citizens to ask questions at a public hearing instead of imposing their "180 Second Citizen Silence Rule" when the agreements were approved without making any documents available to the public for inspection or any citizen input at the December 15th Village Board Meeting.
The Village Manager and Village Board wants the public to believe there has been misinformation and deliberate confusion on the part of some citizens regarding the garbage agreements and the $42 million Municipal Facilities Debt Service Fund and its projected $17 million shortfall that was scheduled to hit the tax rolls in 2016, if not sooner, causing tax increases of $416.00 to $2,200 for the average homeowner through 2022.
Former Village Manager Dick Farrenkopf, without hesitation and with great assuredness, informed the taxpayers of Menomonee Falls, in publicly released documents to the press in December of 2002, and we quote:
"Now these tipping fees will be paying the debt service of $23.5 million for the library, administration building and police department currently coming to completion. The Village is also in the process of negotiating a contract with Waste Management that will permit them to further expand their filling operation and will thus provide a tipping fee revenue stream even longer. Thus, based on conservative financial projections of the income that we receive in tipping fees, it is anticipated that debt service payments for the new library and municipal building facility construction will not be reflected on the property tax roll earlier than 2012. Results of negotiations on the new contract may change that date in a more positive way. Thus no capital cost for these new building improvements will be reflected on your tax bill for at least 10 years."
The former Village Manager then went on to authorize to the Village Board and taxpayers, after new negotiations were completed with Waste Management in 2004, two separate documents that clearly set out and fully disclosed the $42 million Municipal Facilities Debt Service Fund (http://media.menomoneefallsnow.com/images/the_vanguard_644747_Municipal-Facilities-Fund.png) and the tax impact on homeowners starting in 2016 of the projected $17 million shortfall (http://www.jefferson-davis.info/images/Documents/MEst-Effect-on-Property-Val.pdf).
There is no confusion or misinformation on what the former Village Manager meant on the garbage agreements directly tied to the $42 million in debt service.
The only confusion that exists is for the Trustees who thought they could get away with this and then directed the new Village Manager to "fix" this which resulted in the new agreements that were passed on December 15, 2008 that increases the height of the existing dump 15' and brings it much closer to Main Street.
Remember, the taxpayers don't get one penny from Waste Management until Waste Management passes "go" and collects $1.2 million each year from the taxpayers to pick up their garbage.
The Vanguard will continue to try and get answers on the following disturbing developments related to these agreements that have obviously not been addressed:
- Why is the 2009 Solid Waste Collection Fund 215 running a major deficit of $320,000 on a $1.6 million budget requiring transfers from the General Fund and Tipping Fees to make up for the drastic shortfall and how long will this last?
- How is the 2009 $2.5 million bond fund payment for TIF District 5 across the street from the dump going to be paid for with only $595,000 being received in revenues? TIF District 5 has over $12 million in debt service payments left through 2018 with annual scheduled payments of $1.1 million and only $595,000 being received in revenues to make those payments. Who is going to make up for the shortfall with TIF District 5 being over half empty and no signs of shovels turning over any dirt soon for new businesses?
- Why did the Menomonee Falls representatives on the Landfill Committee vote to allow Waste Management to forgo testing the water for properties they own saving them nearly $100,000 a year? Does this mean Waste Management has no intention of keeping these properties?
- Why didn't the Menomonee Falls representatives on the Landfill Committee ask to have the taxpayer's garbage picked up for free stimulating the local economy with an extra $1.2 million per year for at least 10 years and bringing tax relief to homeowners who are facing a severe recession?
- Why did the Menomonee Falls representatives on the Landfill Committee vote to allow Waste Management to keep their financials secret? Wouldn't it be wise to know how much money is being made by Waste Management at the taxpayer's expense?
- Why didn't the Menomonee Falls representatives on the Landfill Committee ask to receive part of the dump's methane gas selling rights from Waste Management to We Energies that provides energy for some 15,000 area homes that is estimated to generate $30 million a year for We Energies at $2,000 per home?
- Why waste $1.5 million for water and sewer for 19 homes on Bonnie Lane that in all probability won't be there in 5-10 years anyway whose values have plummeted because of the dump out their front door? Why not just give these good people a fair price for their homes as the contract calls for and let them get out while they can before the dump encroaches on their properties even more?
- Everyone agrees the new agreements (vertical and horizontal) only add 2-3 years to the life of the dump through 2017. There are no agreements in place that add 16 years to the life of the dump through 2026 or $38 million in new revenue. Those meetings haven't even taken place yet with the City of Milwaukee and Milwaukee County, but when they do don't expect the taxpayers of Menomonee Falls to get anything close to what they are getting now from Waste Management. The more people eating the pie, the fewer slices there are to go around.
- Taxpayers only have gross revenues from Waste Management in tipping fees. It is simply a paper shuffle for Waste Management to turn around and give back to the taxpayers what they were paid for picking up their garbage. Net income from the tipping fees is substantially less than gross revenues which begs the question, "If that is the way the Village Board wants to negotiate an agreement, then just have the garbage picked for free and lower the tipping fees accordingly?" Why bother with the paper shuffle? Save the taxpayers the money and eliminate all of the administration work between the Village and Waste Management.
Let's have representatives for Menomonee Falls that will work toward what the officials in Sublette County, Wyoming did with their 2006 $52 million budget that is approximately 75% paid for with oil and gas royalties (http://www.ecosystemrg.com/sublette/08-01-28%20Final%20Report.pdf) on page 37 of their Socioeconomic Impact Study.
A lot of questions remain that will unfortunately require close monitoring before the entire truth is disclosed on the garbage agreements.
Trustee McDonald promises taxpayers will get their $17 million back for TIF District 6 on Main Street including dormant hotel reconstruction
In a direct communication from Trustee McDonald that is being circulated around the village regarding the lack of reconstruction for the new hotel on Main Street as part of TIF District 6, the Trustee explains in his words why the hotel project came to a screeching halt several months ago and appears to be going nowhere anytime soon:
"With the money situation being as iffy as it is, the principals are having a difficult time solidifying their final build out loan. Hotels around the country are extremely soft with the severe downturn in corporate spending and travel that directly affects the hotel industry. It is going to happen because of the TIF formation, it is just a matter of the business climate thawing to accommodate corporate travel and with it hotel occupancy."
The taxpayers are indirectly on the hook for a $1.25 million bond that was recently issued for initial TIF District 6 expenses which has a bond payment of $50,000 due in 2009 and $1.3 million in 2010 based on the hotel being completed and open for business in 2009 to help with these bond payments. Total costs for TIF District 6, according to recently released Village documents, may reach $17 million not including debt service with interest.
The Village Manager also projected that nearly $47,000 in new taxes would be coming in from the hotel on Main Street in 2009 when the Village received $955.00 in hotel taxes in 2007.
This means that once again someone is going to have to pick up the difference for these unmet projections that aren't coming to fruition and that usually means the taxpayers.
When work projects such as these are mysteriously and suddenly stopped, it usually means one of two things involving money or interference.
We will find out soon.
Let's hope it works out for the taxpayers and this business person because they have been put through a lot by the Village Board over the last five almost six years with this much needed improvement to our village that will undoubtedly have a very positive impact for one of the main entrances to our community that has been very depressed for many years now.
This is what the hotel looks like today:
This is what Lord knows how many cars see on the freeway each day as they pass by Menomonee Falls and think, "Hey, this looks like a happening place. Let's get off here to spend our money and hang out."
If Trustee McDonald knows what he is talking about, as he often likes to remind anyone who will listen that he does, why are two Milwaukee hotels within a few thousand feet from the hotel on Main Street thriving with a major expansion and the recent construction of a new four story building?
Is it possible that Trustee McDonald doesn't know what he is talking about? Probably so.
Here are the two beautiful and exquisite hotels that are literally within an arms throw of Menomonee Falls at the corner of Good Hope and 107th Street:
|Photo Gallery: Click on thumbnail to enlarge|
|Photos: 1-12 13-21|
The November 24th 2009 Budget Hearing would have been a good place to have questions answered as to why the account is down nearly $4 million in just four years under Dick Rechlicz's tax and spend leadership when the same people who were on the Village Board in 2003-04 decried the potential use of any of these funds for tax relief, but are still on the Board now and have never said a word other than, "...spend, spend, spend".
The Vanguard is trying to get an answer from the Village Manager on this, which has proven to be a very exhausting and time consuming experience.
We will keep trying to see where the taxpayer's nearly $4 million went.
Review of Campaign Reports for Steliga, McDonald and Rechlicz Reveal Many Inconsistencies with State Election Law and the Clerk's Office
In research efforts for this posting, members of The Vanguard stopped by Village Hall to review and inspect the campaign finance reports of Trustees Steliga and McDonald along with those of Village Board President Dick Rechlicz.
To say that it was a challenging experience is putting it mildly.
Normally, citizens are allowed to inspect and review Open Records in the public meeting room under the watchful eye of the Clerk's Office behind a glass window at the $42 million Muncipal Facilities Complex.
For whatever reason, the Clerk's Office employee required the inspection of these public records for a person to stand at the counter with a small space of 18' by 24" where customers were coming in to pay their water bills and property taxes along with numerous other inquiries which seemed very odd and uncomfortable to ask a citizen to stand for an hour. When in the past, a person was at least given a chair and table to sit down.
The inspection of the records required two visits to Village Hall due to time constraints.
The second visit proved to be a very unpleasant experience because of the unprofessional, rude and inconsiderate behavior of Joan Hintze from the Clerk's Office.
After being ordered to stand at the counter again by the Clerk's Office, The Vanguard volunteers politely informed the employee that they were going to sit on the bench next to the counter of the Clerk's Office within viewing distance.
In the best effort to make sure the files were returned in the order in which they were received, the volunteers were organizing the records and at times had to place some of them at their feet because they weren't provided with a table or chair to do so.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, Joan Hintze orders the volunteers to "stop throwing" the records on the floor and the volunteers tried to oblige even though the records weren't being thrown on the floor.
Shocked, the volunteers quickly continued to put the records back in the order in which they were received sensing a threatening environment was about to take place from Ms. Hintze.
The next thing the volunteers knew, Ms. Hintze was in their face and private space ripping anything she could get her hands on away from the volunteers while with a loud, threatening and intimidating manner ordered another employee to call a police aide and an officer as she continued to make unprofessional comments and demeaning statements to the volunteers.
The volunteers quickly completed their task and asked Ms. Hintze if she wanted them to wait until the police showed up so they could make a statement to the police about her threatening behavior. She replied, "I don't care what you do."
The volunteers did everything they could to avoid engaging with Ms. Hintze and her rude and unprofessional behavior.
The volunteers then asked the other employee if she had called the police at which time she stated that she hadn't and they politely left.
Normally when public employees act in this behavior toward taxpayers for no apparent reason, they are severely reprimanded and have a notice placed in their employee file. It will be interesting to see if that happens in this case.
The Clerk's Office has been the subject of many incidents of this nature for the last six years (http://blogs.menomoneefallsnow.com/the_vanguard/archive/2008/07/02/state-abency-cites-falls-clerk-s-office-on-election-law.aspx) and it is hoped that someone will hold the office accountable.
Even more important than the inappropriate behavior of Joan Hintze, was the review of the Campaign Finance Reports of Trustees McDonald and Steliga along with those of Village Board President Dick Rechlicz.
These reports are full of blatant campaign violations that for whatever reason have not been forwarded to the District Attorney as has always been the practice of the Village Clerk's Office until she was cited by the Government Accountability Board in 2008 when they used their authority with numerous examples of the Clerk's Office mishandling and misinterpretation of State Election Law directed at only one campaign.
The Vanguard will look into these violations and report on what we find out.
Does it surprise anyone that the Clerk's Office would treat one campaign totally differently than those of the Rechlicz, Steliga and McDonald Campaigns?
It shouldn't, as more and more details will be coming out about the inconsistencies of the Clerk's Office and their handling of campaign reports and State Election Law, the true motivation for these inconsistencies will be obvious if it isn't already.
Say it isn't so...Village Board considering contract renewal for Falls Cable Access
The Village Board, in Closed Session, will consider renewing the contract for Falls Cable Access at their January 5, 2009 meeting (click here for the agenda http://www.menomonee-falls.org/archives/30/01-05-2009%20VB.pdf).
Let's hope the Village Board will take into consideration the numerous citings from the IRS and Attorney General's Office regarding the failure of Falls Cable Access for not filing 990 Federal Income Tax Returns on over $1 million in income as well as not being in compliance with Open Meetings and Public Records Law (near the end of the posting http://blogs.menomoneefallsnow.com/the_vanguard/archive/2008/12/20/doveryai-no-proveryai-trust-but-verify-village-board-garbage-agreement.aspx).
Maybe it's time the Village Board do the right thing for the taxpayers by:
- Dissolving the Cable Access Board and put the operations under the direction of the General Government Committee until appointment of a new board.
- Liquidate the $525,000 cash on hand to a segregated account with the Village Board for tax relief. Kind of a scary idea because the Board will probably just spend it, but it needs to go somewhere.
- Put the Cable Access Director Position out for bids to see what the free market place will provide for talent and leadership.
Normally, when so many mistakes are made like this involving the IRS and Attorney General, people usually lose their job and appointment. Let's hope the same will be true for Menomonee Falls.
Citizens can contact the Village Board to let them know how they feel about this issue at the following link (http://www.menomonee-falls.org/index.asp?nid=292).
Happy New Year and let's make 2009 a great year for Menomonee Falls!