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Photos Of Public Officials Taken By Public Officials and Displayed in Public, Not Public Records: Kenosha County Executive

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Kenosha County Executive James Kreuser (D)

If you’ve ever been in the Kenosha County Courthouse, you would have seen two galleries on either side of the entrance. One displays photos of all 8 Circuit court Judges, and the other displays all of the Kenosha County Board members. It hasn’t been updated in years. It has at least two deceased members of the board still listed.

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Kenosha Circuit Court Judges
Department Heads for Kenosha County and County Board Members

We write articles pretty often about some of these elected officials. We wanted to have copies of these photos for articles, so we reached out to the Circuit Court Clerk who told us that they were maintained by the County Executive’s office. We asked the County Executive for digital copies of these photos. We submitted a public records request to the County Exec’s office on July 24th. It was ignored for about two months. We asked one of the county’s lawyers, Attorney Jenifer Kopp to intervene and she did. Yesterday, we received a response from Kreuser’s office. They argue unbelievably, that the photos are not public records.

Kreuser’s office manager, Karen Steigerwald told us that she took the photos personally for the court house and County web site but that they are not public records because she “owns the copyrights” to the photos. She also notes “privacy concerns” and said that she would need the Judge’s permission to release them. We have been requesting public records for many years and have successfully sued many times. We have two lawsuits pending at this time for unlawful public records denials. This seems like the most obvious case of an arbitrary denial. These photos were taken by a County Employee, of County Employees, with the intent to display them in public. Arguing that theses aren’t public defies any sort of basic logic. As to the privacy concerns? The photos are seen by thousands of people every week. Surely if the Judge’s were concerned with privacy, they could take the photos down, but to seek to be elected to public office, especially a position with such authority, waives much of your expectation to privacy. We will be reviewing taking the county to court for these photos. Sometimes the county shouldn’t fight unwinnable battles such as these.

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**After the publishing of this story, we were contacted by County Attorney Joseph Cardamone. He told the KCE that he will be re-examining our request. Hopefully Corporation Counsel Cardamone does the right thing.**

Kenosha County Attorney Joseph Cardamone III
(Photo by Kevin Mathewson, Kenosha County Eye)

Author

  • Kevin Mathewson

    Kevin Mathewson is a disciple of Christ, husband and a father to two wonderful children. Mathewson was born and raised in Lake County, IL and worked as a police & fire dispatcher from 2005 to 2010 in Round Lake Beach, IL. Mathewson moved to Kenosha County in 2006, later being elected to the position of Alderman of the 8th District in 2012 and 2016. Mathewson is a private investigator, security contractor, journalist, and photographer. He enjoys spending time with his family, watching movies, camping and boating. His favorite amendment is the second, followed closely by the first. He loves his country and community.

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6 Responses

  1. Suggestion when writing your stories, you always use (D) or (R) after a public figure . My suggestion is when addressing a (D) please use (C) for communist. With the national trend for Democrats to be socalist it’s only fitting . These days anyone who runs under the Democratic flag has bought into their socalist mindset

    1. You have an excellent point. However, when addressing Republicans the (C) should be used. It is short for “Cultist.” With the national trend for Republicans to sell their souls and worship an evil and corrupt demigod it is only fitting. These days anyone who runs under the Republican flag has become a drooling, mindless, and dangerous member of a anti-science, anti-democracy death cult. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U1FxfR3lg6Q

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