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Kenosha County Eye

Racine County Sheriff’s Office Actively Investigating Village of Pleasant Prairie Criminal Allegations

John Steinbrink, Jr and John Steinbrink, Sr

After dodging our calls, emails, voicemails and text messages for days, our stories shook up the Village of Pleasant Prairie. The taxpayers demanded answers and today we got new information. According to a Village of Pleasant Prairie spokesman, Steven Linn, “The Village of Pleasant Prairie has placed a [Department of Public Works] employee on administrative leave pending an investigation into the employee’s work for the Village. In the interest of complete transparency, we have asked an outside agency – the Racine County Sheriff’s Office  –  to conduct that investigation. “

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While Linn wouldn’t tell KCE the name, we can confirm the employee that is under investigation is the son of President John Steinbrink, Sr. John Steinbrink, Jr is the director of the Village’s department of Public Works. Over the years, claims of nepotism have gone ignored by the village board and village administration. Current Village Administrator Nathan Thiel was hired in 2018 and the board chose not to renew his contract that is up in two weeks, leading to speculation that this might be related to the criminal investigation.

Steinbrink, Jr deactivated his Facebook page and Steinbrink, Sr has had his home phone off the hook for at least two days and is ignoring calls to his cell phone.

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Racine County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Lt. Michael Luell confirmed Friday to KCE that there is, in fact an active criminal investigation into allegations at the Village of Pleasant Prairie. Luell could not release any details but did tell us “I will do my best to update the public when the time is appropriate.”

Among the several criminal allegations being made is that Steinbrink, Jr took possession of expensive village equipment, buying it from the village at far less than market value. KCE has also been made aware of allegations that Steinbrink Jr had village staff help finish the concrete around his in-the-ground swimming pool, had his driveway re-paved when the road in front of his house was repaired, authorized the continued paychecks for an employee that hasn’t worked for the village in a long time, and diverted Menards rebates to his home instead of the village to the tune of some $3,200. While these accusations come from sources close to Village Hall, KCE cannot confirm them independently.

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Charging Decision

Kenosha DA Michael Graveley (D) and Patricia Hansen

When the investigation is concluded it will be up to a prosecutor to determine what, if any charges will be brought against Steinbrink, Jr and anyone else involved. It should be Kenosha DA Michael Graveley to make that decision, but it is believed that he has passed the buck to progressive DA Patricia Hansen in Racine. Graveley frequently recuses himself on high-profile cases. Hansen is where cases against public corruption “go to die.” Hansen refused to charge two City officials with felonies after the years-long IT scandal investigation. She let a Kenosha Firefighter off from sexual assault allegations and domestic violence charges. She let a Kenosha Police Officer off from felony child-abuse charges. Both prosecutors refused to answer questions from KCE.

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  • 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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28 Responses

  1. I am confused, why he isn’t fired? They can investigate for criminal activity but it seems like they have enough to end his employment with the chipper incident alone. If it was ANY other Village employee they would have been fired by now. If they proved he basically stole from the village by not taking the machine to auction, why isn’t he fired? Residents need to call the village on Monday and demand that he be fired.

  2. The lengths at which the corrupt go to cover their lies is criminal itself.
    Thanks Kevin for bringing these things to the light, you are a patriot!

  3. So let me get this straight. He used tax payer dollars to fix up a piece of village equipment, only to sell it to himself or a “friend” at an 85% discount of the estimated auction price? What a joke! What an embarrassment to the Village and it’s hard working residents who pay taxes. But I guess the last laugh still goes to John who sits at home and continues to get paid. As residents and tax payers we deserve better. Fire John Steinbrink Jr. and take his pension.

    1. As his VILLAGE ISSUED vehicle sits in his home’s driveway. I am surprised this scumbag was not caught for sexual misconduct as I’ve seen him at various establishments smooching up to various females! A disgrace for a representative of our village!

      1. Heard this same thing many years ago from a young woman that used to work for PPPW. He creeped her out because he was always making inappropriate comments to her.

        1. Within the past 10 years, quite a few females have quit as their plea’s fell on deaf ears (his father and the board) about his sexual misconduct and the way he hits on females. I guess when you look like the gruesome person from Goonies (forgot his name) you have to act that way towards females or try to wine and dine them.

        2. I’ve seen the same thing. Many times! With married women, not to mention, he himself is married. I’ve also heard it straight from village employees many times over the past 20 years! His whole demeanor is arrogant, and slimy. I’m not shocked by this at all, in fact – I saw it coming , it was expected. However, I won’t be shocked if he gets away with it.

  4. I work at Menard’s and have seen village trucks there and given this investigation was wondering who gets those 11% rebates. I went on the Menard’s rebate tracker and put in Village, Pleasant Prairie and the village addresses and didn’t find any. I then entered J Steinbrink with his house address and almost 200 came up in the last two years totaling well over $3,200. That seems like a lot of rebates for one person in two years. If those rebates were tied to Village purchases, would that be embezzlement? Someone should look into that.

    1. That’s a perfect story for America’s Dumbest Criminals.
      Kevin, does Pleasant Prairie have a Gratuity Policy in their HR Employee Conduct Manual?

  5. Pleasant Prairie residents are hard working people that pay a high price to reside in Pleasant Prairie.
    We deserve a full blown investigation going back years, since he was given the job!

    1. Unfortunately, PP passed some law about allowing paperwork to be destroyed after 7 years. I’m not sure which law that was but I’m pretty sure PP covered their tracks. More corruption.

  6. Sorry, Pleasant Prairie is becoming a shithole. It’s nothing like it used to be….now they basically are developing every damn empty space in the village and putting up a Kwik Trip.

    Given the current housing market….can’t wait until I sell my house here to some sucker for $800-900k and get the hell out of this area.

    1. No kidding! There was a house sold on a 90×300 lot on 29th ave for 439,000! Dan Turner(Remax), the realtor who owns the property purchased it for 240,000 and that INCLUDED 2 1/2 acres!!! He redid the house on it and split the 2 1/2 acres into three lots! Pretty sure you had to”know someone” in PP to get.away with that! From what I’ve been told, Dan Turner is buddies with Greg, the violation code office as well. Watch out if Dan Turner(Remax) is coming to your area to sell a house, he’ll be.looking at your neighborhood to make you change things to fit into an HOA mold and he knows the people to give you those violations to do it. One of the lots sit right next to a creek and if you build on it, it has to be 35 feet away from.the creek. Unless two houses are back to back, there’s just no way to have that lot build able! What a joke. More corruption!

  7. What authority does the director of PW have to instruct paying a non-employee? Who is crooked in HR/Finance that would authorize that? It seems the whole village is crooked and HR clearly needs to be investigated as well.
    Other posts have said complaints about John Jr. have been going on for years. Why wasn’t anything done sooner? At the very least if they got tipped off something was wrong they should have been running a private internal investigation. As a tax payer this whole thing makes me sick. Why isn’t the board calling for an independent audit of all the books? What else is Jr. and Sr. hiding?

    1. The board will not do anything unless this turns against them. Even then it would take a full scale State or Federal investigation to get to the truth. Our local DA chooses to stay on the sideline, why? What political connection does he have that makes him fearful of fulfilling his duties? The corruption runs so deep here that it filters to all department heads. Public works, community development, storm water utility, former administrator now board member, plan commission and community development authority. It’s the same people over and over again. Why not renew the current administrators contract? Maybe because he was an outsider for the first time in decades and the clan felt threatened. Why can’t the village media spokesperson say that it is Jr. that is being investigated? I am sure any and all honest employee’s at the village are working in a hostile work environment at this time being forced to look away from the truth. It is really the perfect time for residents to demand open and honest government from this clan!!

    2. I’d like to know what LEGAL authority did Nathan Theil have putting a gag order on the employees? Unless a judge ordered it, I don’t believe he would have been able to stop them. The whole Village of PP should be investigated! Every rock turned over! We should demand this as PP residence! Also, Change the meetings to.a decent time! We.also need to be.showing up at.the meetings when we can to let PP know we are watching and listening hold them accountable.

  8. What makes this insane is that his salary is probably well over $100,000 and and all of these allegations, if proved, means he literally is stealing from people who have been struggling the last few years. The blatant greed is shameful.

  9. The public works department has done plenty of work on the steinbrinks property at the taxpayers expense for years. They just put it under made up or existing work orders.

  10. Rules, laws, and regulations are put in place for everyone to follow. This man broke many laws and it should be a felony charge! I guess daddy had to pull in a lot of favors to get his grown Son from doing some prison time. I find it disgusting! What’s I find most disturbing is that the DA is not going to do anything about it. She must be on daddy’s payroll.

  11. I’m a ex employee from pppw I personally have had to do jobs for jr on their property nothing huge but it was all done for free with village material and labor all on the taxpayers dollar so it all adds up.The family is crooked if you speak up your on the s..- list and you didn’t want to be there.I’m sure if they look hard enough they will find a lot more things. And as far as his tree trimming business jr was always taking the chainsaws out of the village truck’s and bringing them back damaged and blaming the employees he runs that place like it’s his personal business. Not a good place to work no other municipality in the area has that kind of turn around that tells you something.

    1. That’s what is needed, people with first hand knowledge of all the theft and wrong doings speaking up. Their game plan is to run employees out of their jobs if they speak up or disagree. I know first hand that is not just these 2 crooks taking from the citizen paid tax rolls but some other department heads, the former administrator and another long time board member. This type of theft doesn’t go on for as long as it has in such a small community without many others in power knowing and sharing in the spoils. We all need this onion to be peeled back to expose them all. If it hits the fan, look for some people to quickly retire or leave their positions. The ring leaders board seat is up for re-election next spring. Hopefully someone will now stand up and defeat him. Along with that his seat on the community development authority ends in 2023 also. Maybe he will lose that as well and the community can move beyond this corruption.

      1. When the job was done at the park and ride area near the Rec, it was a union job. A few employees found out about it and also found out they were supposed to be getting paid UNION pay. A couple of them had a meeting with Steinbrink Jr. He went ahead and.paid them the Union wages for the job but were told they couldn’t say anything to anyone.else about it. I wonder.what happened to all that money the workers were supposed to receive. Guys that were making 8.00 an hour.for.thatjob should.have been making SO much MORE per hour!. More corruption….

  12. John Steinbrink Jr. has been corrupt for years. We had a problem with water filling up in the front valley by the driveway. It was because John Jr. promised to have it dug out & all debris removed. It was the Village’s responsibility to clean that out, which he failed to do. We even went to the Board Meetings & complained about JohnJr. Swearing at us because he wouldn’t do his job as promised. Daddy Sr. Did nothing, nor did the Board. There are others who take the Village Trucks home. I see this truck at home at all hours of the day. Mostly home than gone, hopefully working with the Village truck. I talked to a Board Member about a year ago & nothing was ever done. All kinds of equipment were used redoing the whole yard, driveway, & surrounding the house. There’s more but until you get some HONEST people on the Board who will follow through with complaints of corruption, theft
    & malfeasance on the job, NOTHING will change.

  13. Everyone on this site leaving speculative comments should take a deep breath and stop with the holier than thou bs. John may have made mistakes, but I can give dozens of examples of things he’s done to positively impact the community. Put your torches and pitch forks down for a minute and do some research. He’s done a lot of things for a lot of people and works harder than anyone I’ve ever met.

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