In a confidential document obtained by KCE titled “Mutual Separation Agreement and Release”, we have learned that the Village of Pleasant Prairie has paid a lump sum of $160,000 to ousted Village Administrator Nathan Thiel. The Village will also allow Thiel to collect unemployment compensation. According to the 4-page contract , Thiel isn’t allowed to talk about the details of the document or “make any negative written or verbal statement that could reasonably be expected to negatively affect the personal or professional reputation of an individual or entity.”
Also in the agreement are many legal notations such as “This Agreement shall not, in any way, be construed as an admission by the Village that it acted wrongfully, improperly, or unlawfully in its treatment of Thiel”. The contract also contains a full legal release prohibiting Thiel from suing the Village.
The termination of Thiel comes concurrent to a corruption probe by the Racine County Sheriff’s department into the Village’s Public Works Director, John Steinbrink, Jr. Steinbrink, Jr is the son of the Village President, John Steinbrink, Sr. Notably absent from the contract is Steinbrink Sr’s signature. Instead, Village Trustee Mike Pollocoff signed the agreement as “Village Board President pro tem.”
A separation agreement like this would ordinarily be signed by the Village President, which may signal that Steinbrink Sr. is also the target of the corruption investigation.
Reached in early May, Racine Sheriff Chris Schmaling told KCE in reference to the investigation “It is challenging to give an accurate completion date at this point. I can assure you however, we have prioritized this investigation, but at the same time committed to being thorough. “