A lawsuit against embattled Kenosha County Board Supervisor Andrew (Andy) Berg was dismissed today in Kenosha Circuit Court. A military veteran named Frank Leonard claims that Berg ripped him off to the sum of $5,000. They both appeared in court today. In Kenosha County, some judges handle small claims trials differently. Some judges do it “Judge Judy” style, allowing back and forth between litigants and the court. Others, like newly elected Judge Gerad Dougvillo do it formally, where the plaintiff presents its case-in-chief, and then the defendant can cross-examine him. The defendant then has an opportunity to present evidence. In this case, Plaintiff Leonard took the stand and conducted very brief testimony. He said that Berg hired him to do a small job – replace some drywall. According to Leonard, Berg later asked for more work several times, including electrical work and modifications to the room, extending the project by weeks. He said he charged Berg a “friends and family” discounted rate of $40/hour. Berg paid for some of the original work, but not for all of the extra work. According to a City of Kenosha administrator, Berg needed an electrical permit and an alteration permit which weren’t applied for. He was fined three times the fee for these permits. In Wisconsin, the homeowner is responsible for the permits. Berg got the permits and had to remove some of the drywall for the inspector.
Leonard called a witness that spoke about the scope of the work. Berg then had the opportunity to present a defense. Berg chose not to cross-examine Leonard or testify on his own behalf. Both parties submitted evidence before the trial, including text messages. Judge Dougvillo dismissed the case, criticizing Leonard for not drafting a contract as required by ATCP in the Wisconsin administrative code. Without a contract, it is hard to win such a lawsuit in Wisconsin. Leonard told the Kenosha County Eye at the time he filed this lawsuit that he thinks Berg had set him up, not intending to pay from the beginning. Leonard said today he trusted Berg, a fellow vet to pay him for his hard work, but now regrets trusting him.