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Kenosha County Eye

Mr. President – It’s Time To Resign: Taxpayers In The Village of Pleasant Prairie Demand It: Opinion

John Steinbrink Sr. (D) Village President (73)

On the heels of his son John Steinbrink, Jr’s multiple felony charges, Steinbrink Sr, his father and Village President, has some serious questions to answer. First off, how much did you know about the serious allegations of theft and misconduct about your son, the man your hired to be the Director of Public Works, making more than $120,000 per year? How does $90,000 get added to the budget without you or anyone else knowing? Why haven’t you addressed these serious issues?

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John Peter Steinbrink Sr, now 73, was born in 1949 and graduated from George Nelson Tremper High School. He was first elected to the Town of Pleasant Prairie Board in 1985, 37 years ago. The town became a village in 1989. He’s been on the board ever since, and President from 1995 until today – 27 years. Concurrently, he was elected to the 65th Assembly District in 1996 where he served as a democrat until 2013, when he was defeated by current County Executive Samantha Kerkman. During these 17 years, Steinbrink was double-dipping from the Village and State.

Last Tuesday, July 19, 2022 Steinbrink Jr was charged for seven felonies with a maximum possible prison sentence of 31 years. His father Sr spoke to the Kenosha News and praised his son, ignoring the real issue.

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It is extremely difficult if not impossible to believe that John Steinbrink Sr had no knowledge of any of this corruption. Even on the slim chance that he was unaware, there is a deeper problem. Incompetence. Either way John, Sr. You have to resign. Now.

KCE has been notified that Steinbrink Sr has announced to close friends that he will be resigning soon, possibly at Monday night’s Village Board meeting (July 25th at 5pm). The meeting is at Village hall (9915 39th Avenue Pleasant Prairie, WI 53158), on the south end of the building known as the auditorium. A group of residents are expected to speak publicly at this meeting.

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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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22 Responses

  1. It seems from the one hundred plus comments on a previous story about Steinbrink Jr. that resigning or retiring for many of these elected Pleasant Prairie officials may not be enough.
    People are PISSED and are out for revenge and or blood.

  2. Let’s hope this is true. It would be the best thing for the taxpayers if he and so many others would resign or retire. I think he should not only resign from the board but all boards and comities that he holds a chair.
    I have always thought the SR has been at the trough too long. So long that his son was running rampant over the taxpayers and the employees with no accountability.
    Pollocoff, Serpe from the plan commission, the new administrator, HR head and Werbie should be considering a planned exit as well.

  3. If I lived in Pleasant Prairie, I would be livid. I would insist on a top to bottom revamp of the local government. This would start with the old man. If the residents don’t get this done. They deserve their fate.

  4. They all have to go! Steinbrink Sr. is a great start but Pollocoff is the head of snake. To think that the finance director didn’t know what was going on is really insulting. She’s either knowingly incompetent or blindly incompetent. At a bare minimum she should be fired if not investigated. To make her the interim Administrator is a straight kick in the face to any village resident. We demand better!!!

    1. I suspect nobody else wanted to do it. In fraud cases it’s not uncommon for victims to not notice it for years and to be charmed by the crook. I’m still confused about the $90,000 that should have been returned to the developer. It was kept in the village coffers so jr. did not get it but why wasn’t it returned? Wrong in any event but just weird.

  5. Gosh, I guess innocent until proven guilty doesn’t apply to these people only ones you like. John Sr. Happens to be one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. You lump him in with his son who hasn’t been convicted of anything yet. But you have him guilty. Typical double standard

    1. Ummmm evidence doesn’t lie and Jr. admitted he basically stole the chipper by having his girlfriend charge it “but that was his bad” and he also had workers doing his concrete during working hours – that is proven and had witnesses. So he isn’t innocent for sure on those two things. Perhaps you should reread. The snake is a liar and a piece of shit who steals from residents. You are going to tell me that Sr. Didn’t know the gates, culvert and man hours installed on their property was stolen? Or the village workers putting in his concrete around his pool during village work hours? Is he that incompetent as the village president that he thought that was ok? The rules didn’t apply to his shitty son and he did nothing about it. He is smiling like a nice guy while he and his family rob tax payers blind. Everyone thought John Wayne Gacy was a good guy as well….how did that turn out? Only Jr. is dumb enough to be a crook and a complete dick. If he wasn’t such a dick to his staff they wouldn’t have been setting aside evidence for years waiting for the opportunity to nail the bastard to the wall. You are a pathetic ass for condoning Jr.s behavior and his abuse of power and the years of a hostile work environment he created!

    2. Then why did he have a closed door meeting to oust Thiel and pay him $160,000 to go away and keep quiet? Is that what someone who is innocent and has nothing to hide does?

  6. Innocent until proven guilty, only applies in a court of law. You can be fired at any time. The onus is then upon YOU to prove it was unjustified. My money is on the chance that none of them contest it. How about you? Still think it’s a double standard?

  7. Politics, schmolitics. There is no evidence of any wrongdoing except by John Steinbrink, jr., who still is entitled to his day in court. There are people who have been gunning for his father, Pollocoff and others for years. The same innuendos have been slung around so much that Columbus almost got kicked off his boat for telling them.

    On the whole, the people who are “bitched about” have done a good job. Village taxes are favorable and there has been economic growth. As for municipal services, look at the job the village does on plowing and salting vs. the city. The village hasn’t won awards because the people running things are a bunch of idiots. And, unlike the city council with its “ward boss” wannabes the village board is elected at large to serve the entire community.

    What the board and administrators have NOT done a good job of is being inclusive and communicative. Rumors spread as a result of this. Even people who overall do a good job need to understand that they are accountable and should embrace it, not duck and hide. As for the indicted former public works director, there may not be a lot of information that can publicly be shared at this time. It could hamper the prosecution of the case. But they can say SOMETHING. And the forced resignation of a village administrator who was paid over $160,000 is a slap at taxpayers and others (what other village employee gets to quit and be paid a year’s salary?) is bizarre. Again, a wall of confidentiality instead of transparency. Why? If they don’t answer people will think the worst and they will only have themselves to blame.

    If someone has evidence that John Steinbrink, sr., or anyone else acted illegally, then put up or shut up. But regardless the question is whether he has the confidence of the community in any event to continue as village president. I don’t need to and won’t get into petty politics, mudslinging or rumor mongering because, for one thing, it’s unnecessary. The cloud hanging over the village board isn’t moving. Perhaps the last best thing John, Sr. can do is step aside. And the board should order an independent audit.

  8. “Economic growth?”
    Maybe for the chains and large corporations, but how much have they helped the mom and pop businesses?
    I guess they don’t pay enough in taxes to be attractive to this bedroom and dining room community.

  9. Why did Klimisch, Keckler and Kudrow run out of the meeting when it was adjourned? Running because they are cowards and don’t want to answer to the public, the people who have elected them into office. Such a disgrace. I hope that you Kevin keep this blatant government corruption in the forefront until the Spring election when Steinbrink, Klimisch and Keckler are up for re-election. Time for them all to go! Keckler is known at KUSD for being hands with women, cause for his divorce?? Klimisch is a staunch Democrat and has no back spine. A typical retired teacher. Kid row ran on ridding the Village of corruption, so far, Kudrow has been super quiet. Perhaps Kudrow is one of the good old boys as well.

    When has no one looked into the employees and their toxic behavior? Jane Snell must go if the Village is going to heal and move on. She epitomizes what work place harassment is. Why has no one looked into this? I’ll tell you why, because sh knows where all the bodies are buried. The more I talk with employees, the more I learn how disgruntled they are. Apparently there is a village engineer who comes into work at least an hour late each and every day and then takes lunch. Why has this not been addressed. Great way to siphon off the taxpayers. The village needs to look closely at their departments. Hopefully with a new HR director Tracy Hennessy, things will be addressed. Doubtful though since she knew of the corruption and sat by quietly. Also, why do I see building inspectors outside village limits doing g personal errands and sleeping in their vehicles??
    Time for everyone to take their head out of the sand and deal with the issues at all buildings.

    1. Don’t fool yourself, while the jury is still out on Tracy Hennessy, she is related to (married) a VPP employee. Keeping all the hires in-house is how they keep the skeletons hidden! Regardless of the integrity of the individual, with the Administration as corrupt as it is, no real change can be made from the inside, not even from HR alone.

  10. There can be a few bad apples in any organization. Happens all the time. When it does you get rid of them. I think in all the ballyhoo and chest pounding here it’s easy to forget that village employees tipped off the police who did an initial investigation. Obviously the village administrator had to be informed. For all of them it was an “oh, shit!” moment because nobody likes political fallout but they did as they had to do. Imagine being the one who had to call the village president to tell him the news. His response should have been something like, “Yikes! You do what you have to do but obviously I shouldn’t have any part of it.” As for Steinbrink, sr. even if you give him the benefit of the doubt he messed up. It’s hard for him to be independent here. Obviously he has to be pissed off and still have some family loyalty. On the other hand, he has to do his job which he probably couldn’t do because of the conflict. It’s not that hard to be honest and transparent. Truth requires no memorization.

  11. Taxpayers- does it make sense that when the Village received a report outlining SEVEN FELONIES from an employee, they didn’t terminate said employee, or further investigate the theft? If that were anyone other than a Steinbrink, they would have been burned at the cross immediately! We need to demand a Village President that acts on behalf of the VILLAGE to condemn that thief, EVEN IF ITS HIS SON! Same with Pollocoff and other Board members, Klimisch, Keckler, Kedrow. WHY ARE THEY SILENT? This Recent board meeting (where they ignored citizen comments) is a prelude to Jrs court date- you know, on August 10th- where he gets off with a fine and a slap of the wrist. Daddy always has that idiots back—and unfortunately for Sr, his namesake ruined the entire family reputation. Guess I’d give Jr credit for doing ONE thing correct (ruining their family’s reputation).

    1. From what we know the village police PROPERLY did some initial investigation, determined that there was a conflict and turned the investigation over to an outside agency. The village administrator PROPERLY suspended the employee pending further investigation. Before charges were filed the employee resigned.

      I don’t expect the village president to publicly condemn his son or to enable him. What I expect from him is to do and say what any responsible father in that boat would: “I was surprised, disappointed and embarassed to learn this. It hurts me and my family. Obviously I have a conflict and will recuse myself from any action related to this except that I would support an audit to ensure that the public’s interest is protected. Meanwhile, we should remember that accusations are just that: accusations and anyone accused of a crime is presumed innocent until a jury hears the evidence and says otherwise.”

      Obviously he didn’t say or do that. He had many chances. For logistical reasons I’d give the rest of the board one more shot at doing the right thing. When the interim administrator is back from vacation then they should. If they don’t it’s on them.

      August 10 is the initial court appearance. Nothing substantive will happen then.

      1. The problem is the Administrator (Thiel) who blew the whistle was let go a week after this was unveiled BY HIM and the “Interim Administrator” Kathy Goessl was the Finance Director the entire time this theft was occurring. She’s in a tough position- self incriminate by getting an internal fraud investigation that will reveal her incompetence OR leave it alone and continue to look plain guilty and ignorant. I do agree, the board has one more chance to get an internal audit ASAP but I’m certain it depends on what happens Aug 10. And as far as enabling Jr, Sr has done this Jrs entire life! From college dropout at Madison to having VPP pay for his second chance at a college degree, (which he barely passed) covering up all his vehicle accidents (on the clock), to sexual harassment and theft of village gasoline for his personal vehicle (which are both documented in village cameras) he even tried to majorly screw over his ex wife and withhold his WRS & deferred comp from her! (Check WI CCAP) I’ve seen this play out way to many times before where just when you think Steinbrinks finally get caught, they weasel their way out of trouble. Only difference here is that this fraud is huge and obvious compared to all other complaints on Jr, AND ITS NOW PUBLIC! Oh, and I’m my book, Jr is GUILTY – no more proof is needed. I’ve witnessed his shenanigans first hand for years. He was treated “special” and got away with EVERYTHING. Mike Pollocoff knew he was a stealing, thief and an incompetent A**HOLE! He’s an arrogant, egotistical, incompetent, narcissistic A**HOLE that deserves to be in prison stripes! KARMA IS A BITCH DOUCHBAG!!

  12. Sounds to me like an audit and investigation would be appropriate of the entire village administration. The only other alternative is the replacement of the entire executive administrative staff. It appears that the management and adminstration has been haphazard and very disorganized as well as very inept as to favortism for many years.

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