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“I’m Not Resigning” – Embattled Village Of Pleasant Prairie President

Village of Pleasant Prairie President John Steinbrink, Sr (D) (73) at Board Meeting on July 25, 2022
(Photo by Kevin Mathewson – Kenosha County Eye)

At tonight’s Village of Pleasant Prairie’s Board meeting, not one of the five board members used their time to speak about the elephant in the room – seven felony charges against the Village’s former Public Works Director, John Steinbrink, Jr, the son of the President. Many residents arrived to speak, but didn’t sign the paper in time, so they couldn’t voice their concerns. Some resident arrived soon after the starting time of 5pm, but were surprised the meeting had already concluded. The Village uses a process called “consent agenda.” It is a way to pass multiple items with a rubber stamp all at once. This makes the meetings go very quickly. Many Village residents, mainly employed residents don’t like the 5pm start time. They are difficult to attend.

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Fox6 attended the meeting and were also surprised that the meeting ended so quickly. Fox6 and this author approached Steinbrink, Sr to ask some questions. Right out of the gate, Steinbrink Sr snapped “Apparently a lot of people don’t understand how the system works. We’re not allowed to comment on anything right now.” While it may be true that Steinbrink’s criminal attorney may have advised him not to talk about the case, there is no state statute that bars him from speaking publicly. Steinbirink Sr refused to go on camera with Fox6 saying “for those who know the law. [I can’t talk to you on camera.]” We asked Sr how he didn’t notice the extra $90,000 in the budget, to which he answered, as he looked to long-time friend and former Village Administrator Mike Pollocoff, “I’m not sure if I can comment on that.” Steinbrink started to answer saying “Apparently….” but then he was cut off by Pollocoff. We were able to catch Sr off guard for a second when he admitted that Village-owned gates were installed on his family farm, but then cut himself off saying, “I’m sorry but I’m not going to discuss this with you.” This author then acknowledged that Sr might be incriminating himself by answering questions for us. “It’s not that. You [KCE] don’t have one single fact right.” Sr then told us that everything KCE published about the corruption was false. This author repeatedly challenged him to name one false fact that was reported. He seemed to think hard, but couldn’t name one.

What Steinbrink, Sr did not know, is that KCE was in possession of a photo of a Department of Public Works truck installing village-owned Gates on his family’s farm. For him to contend that he was unaware is simply not believable. We also have a copy of the work order. Simply put, he is lying.

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When asked if Pollocoff was aware of the extra $90,000 in the budget, he said “I wasn’t involved in that project.” While talking to Fox6, Sr told the reporter that KCE wasn’t credible journalism. We then challenged Sr one last time to point out one factual error in our publications, to which he replied “Please leave.” He later admitted he cannot make this author leave. He wouldn’t commit to an external audit and questioned the truthfulness of the Village’s whistle blowers.

March 11, 2020 A photo that purportedly shows Village staff installing Village Gates on the Steinbring Family Farm

This author couldn’t help but notice photos around the board room from almost 40 years ago and many in-between. In all photos, Steinbrink Sr, and Mike Pollocoff, his right-hand man on his right side…literally.

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We reached out to the entire board and none said they were willing to vote to remove Steinbrink from the board. It will take an election to do that.

Maybe the Village needs a full-scale cleansing…..

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(See Below For Video Footage Of the Entire Interaction)

Village of Pleasant Prairie President John Steinbrink, Sr (D) (73) at Board Meeting on July 25, 2022
(Photo by Kevin Mathewson – Kenosha County Eye)



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75 Responses

  1. If the village president can not answer legitimate questions about village operations because of the advice of his attorney, HE NEEDS TO RESIGN! The people of Kenosha are way too tolerant of public corruption. Maybe the citizens of Pleasant Prairie will be different from the citizens of the City. I hope so. We will all see how this plays out.

  2. To question the truthfulness of the employees who risked their jobs is rich. Others made complaints and were fired by your son and Carol Willke. Other “disgruntled” employees left because they could not handle your son.
    Nepotism is not allowed for other employees and their children. Why is it allowed for you and Carol Willke? These employees that you speak Ill of, participated in the investigation and if they lied to the Racine investigator they can be charged with obstruction. Can’t wait to see if your ace in the hole, Carol Willke will be charged with obstruction.
    You on the other hand admitted that the gates on your property belonged to the Village. That is called theft. I have given you the Wisconsin State Statute for your 411. So basically your credibility goes down the drain because you stole from us taxpayers. Shame on you. I would believe a Village employee over you any day.

    943.20  Theft.
    (1)  Acts. Whoever does any of the following may be penalized as provided in sub. (3):
    (a) Intentionally takes and carries away, uses, transfers, conceals, or retains possession of movable property of another without the other’s consent and with intent to deprive the owner permanently of possession of such property.

    I guess since the gates are down you borrowed them from the Village taxpayers. Did you give them back to the Village so we can magically erase this? The gates are down because you and your son got caught. You do need to resign but maybe the taxpayers can finance your retirement/or the period it takes to get another president to fill your shoes.

    1. It is highly offensive that he basically is calling the village employees liars and not his son. If he was so innocent why remove the items in question from his property? Kevin, he said the gates were a family members in that video and he is lying – if you get the evidence you literally have just caught him in a lie and if he lies about that what else is he lying about? He knew all of this was going on! He lives right across the street from Jr. and you are telling me he didn’t see Village workers there on village time? His son is always on his property with the chipper and he never questioned the purchase or what was paid for it? The issue is when it comes to his family he doesn’t mind the stealing. If it was ANY other employee they would have been fired and prosecuted To the fullest extent. There was no kindness to employees, so why should that be an exception for his son?

      I am telling you the scrap
      Metal and where those funds went could be tens of thousands of dollars over the years Jr. was in charge. This is why there needs to be an independent audit of the books. Is that money logged as an asset back to the village? Could you interview the scrap metal company to ask if there have been village trucks that have dumped there historically and then try to find documentation on the books at the village of those incoming assets? Village employees had to do the dumping but nobody is asking about that? I guarantee Jr. pocketed all that cash and didn’t think twice because he was such a dick about getting the receipts and cash immediately after it was dumped.

      This is a David versus Goliath case. Employees put their necks on the line coming forward. If village residents don’t understand how deep this corruption goes they just aren’t listening or don’t care that they have been stolen from. The Sheriff’s office told village HR in JUNE they were charging John Jr. with at least two, possibly more felonies. Why did they let him retire in July? Again, any other village employee would have been fired. It is because Sr. And Polocoff wouldn’t let that happen and screwed hard working people by letting him retire. It is shameful. Jr. Is a criminal who thought he could get away with it and because of the conflict of interest his dad is sticking by him instead of standing up for the 20,000 Residents his son has been stealing from!

      The employees need to sue the village and I encourage Yvonne’s
      Family to sue John Jr. personally for tampering with state evidence in a death investigation to coverup his lack of taking care of the village fleet. If the back up lights and horns on the plow truck worked I don’t think Yvonne would have been killed. If the family knew that I guarantee the settlement their lawyer made would have been different. Isn’t tampering with evidence a crime? I guess since he got away with that, it gave him the courage to lie to the DNR as well. Aren’t democrats huge environment people? How can they defend him on those Counts? Falsifying temperature of compost which is a fire hazard and falsifying the abatement of Laddish Well? Again, all someone has to do is remove a little of the concrete for the well and see it was never abated. His son is a liar and a thief. This is the type of guy his dad is covering for?

  3. Just like Dictators that run unions. They’re there so long, they think they own the place and expect their constituents to worship them as though they are Deity.

    1. Here are all the names, addresses and email’s for board members:

      Village President
      8640 88th Avenue
      Pleasant Prairie, WI 53158
      (262) 694-5863

      Kristopher M. Keckler 
      Trustee #1
      8351 90th Avenue
      Pleasant Prairie, WI 53158
      (262) 818-4315

      Mike Pollocoff
      Trustee #2
      5300 86th Place
      Pleasant Prairie, WI 53158
      (262) 697-3564

      Dave Klimisch
      Trustee #3
      11218 86th Street
      Pleasant Prairie, WI 53158
      (262) 697-3658

      James Kedrow
      Trustee #4
      9921 32nd Avenue
      Pleasant Prairie, WI 53158
      (847) 707-7723

    1. Interesting because he used to ask if there was anyone who wanted to speak who didn’t sign the list.

      I get that the village attorneys may have advised not to comment or that they don’t have the police reports yet but stonewalling doesn’t help.

      1. I mean…..what he says is true. Only a moron would be making statements to the media ESPECIALLY when the one making statements may very well have charges coming next…..

        However, he should have resigned. I am somewhat confused Kevin….you said earlier that reports said he was telling people he was going to retire soon (maybe tonight) but he seems like he has changed his mind?

  4. Another example of these dirty Democrats who think they are better than the constituents they are supposed to represent. Time to clean up and get rid of these dirty Democrats at all levels of government. Wake up and see they are the corrupt party and no longer look out for the working class. Send these pompous jerks packing.

    1. He’s guilty- been covering it up during his entire tenure at the Village! It’s interesting how Pollocoff now sits to Sr’s right side- for a long time, he wasn’t as close in proximity. Wonder why seating arrangements have changed? Hmmmm….

  5. There were quite a few people in the audience but only one spoke because only one signed the sheet before the meeting and Steinbrink did not ask if anyone who did not sign it wanted to speak (he usually does). The 5 p,m. meeting time (which was moved from 6 p.m. at Nathan Thiel’s urging) is not very convenient for working people.

    1. This pompous ass Steinbrink SR knows it’s just a matter of time, before he is implicated in all of this!! Who even allowed JR to be hired knowing his father was the Village President?? That in itself is a conflict of interest and should be a crime!!

      This resident has taken notice and is following closely and cannot wait to see these Village officials taken down, one by one!! I think they will all look great in prison orange and they can put JR and SR in a cell together and give us taxpayers a two for one deal!!

      I think they should sell JR’s house from under him and use that money towards paying back the money he stole from the taxpayers. Not to mention, if he is found guilty and does go to jail, doesn’t he lose his pension??

      Thank you KCE for your hard work and honest reporting!! You give us all the facts and are the only news worthy reporting that I read and trust!!! Keep up the great work!!

    1. I am thankful that KCE has taken up the slack in honest and detailed reporting where the Kenosha News has willfully ignored their duty as a free & fair press and tragically has become a slanted propaganda outlet for their Communist-Democrat bedfellows.

    2. The Kenosha News is a major enabler of public corruption in Kenosha. Their refusal to actually report on these major problems emboldens public officials to abuse their power and rape the citizens. It is difficult to explain why the Kenosha News has not reported on the Kenosha City Administrator’s bogus college degree. A real news outlet would report on that. The KCE has become the source of this very important information for Kenosha citizens. The Kenosha News has made itself irrelevant.

      1. Not just the Kenosha News. WLIP hasn’t had any reporters on the street in years. Corruption flourishes because reporters aren’t there. Lee Enterprises gutted the paper.

  6. Thank you Kevin for keeping this in the headlines and bringing news channels into this issue! The video you shared of your questions to Steinbrink Sr and Pollocoff only reinforce thoughts that the RCSD stopped short of a full investigation. The behaviors of both these criminals is consistent with their past behaviors- give the innocent facial expression- then dodge, lie, redirect, and deny, deny, deny! (They must have both received coaching from the same source)! And for Sr to say “we’ve dealt with this before”, insinuating he meant irate taxpayers is a slap in the face! These taxpayers want ANSWERS to the FACTS that Jr is accused of SEVEN FELONIES, theft of OUR TAX DOLLARS! Taxpayers aught to be angry! (the same people who are now paying more taxes for a recent referendum since the Village needed MORE MONEY)! Look at their responses from this angle: Who are Pollocoff and Steinbrink currently representing? Based on their response, their covering their own guilt asses. If they truly represented taxpayers they would be just as irate and would DEMAND the entirety of full restitution to make themselves look like heroes! But no, they dodge and deny since the charges are against one if their own. Both are phenomenal actors and guilty of fraud themselves!

    Taxpayers DEMAND a full fraud audit done by independent outside auditors, NOT the current firm who does the financial audit – in order to get to the bottom of this we want INDEPENDENT action! We want a fraud audit company with complete independence from all VPP connections to reveal the theft! What’s at stake? It will either reveal that RCSD dug deep enough (unlikely) OR will reveal the true depth of the issue and quantify a FULL AMOUNT for restitution. (Remember Dixon Il theft? $20 million over decades). Pollocoff, Steinbrink & Goessl don’t want this as their super busy trying to explain what’s already been uncovered. How would they begin to address the yet to be uncovered facts (theft) that have stretched decades that we all know exist! Keep the pressure ON! There is so much more to come to this story!

    1. Lots of vitriol but few facts in the above rant. An audit is essential. It is plausible that they didn’t receive the sheriff’s reports because the criminal case is ongoing (standard policy). Because of the relationships you’d think they would want to be transparent.

      1. Good god, you must have the wool pulled over your eyes or be related to Steinbrink! They absolutely don’t want transparency or they would 1- hold the board meetings when residents COULD ATTEND 2- RECORD the meetings 3- host VIRTUAL MEETINGS so residents could participate!

        1. No, I didn’t have the wool pulled over my eyes. I essentially agree with you but prefer facts over rants and evidence over rumors. You’d think an honest person would want transparency. If they aren’t, as you noted, then that says something

  7. The photo clearly shows village employees, in a village truck with the gates. Doesn’t that prove Steinbrink LIED in the video? He said they were a family members. What the F??? He literally just lied to residents!

    1. Not a Steinbrink supporter, but in the video he said it wasn’t HIS land, but it was a family members property. (He didn’t deny the fence install- just said it wasn’t HIS property). He’s a politician- very good at using words to step around truths. Either way, HE benefited and there is no logical way he can claim ignorance to those types of improvements. As the Village President, he is briefed on ALL projects. As a nearby resident, he would have been informed of this project. Also, any person would be even more interested if it inpacted their own interests, as this fencing and culvert install obviously did. Once a crook, always a crook.

      1. I think Steinbrink sr. sold his farm some time ago but a search of the county property records would verify that.

  8. Look at Keckler and Klimisch buddy buddy with Polocoff – they need to go as well! Clearly they don’t have the balls to stand with residents and against Sr. And Polocoff! How disappointing I was hoping they were different but clearly not. Sr. Did lie in the video by saying the gates were a family members, which is a lie.

    1. They aren’t going to do squat without legal counsel telling them what to do. They don’t have an attorney at their meetings (unusual). If I were a betting man I would bet Steinbrink either doesn’t run again or he’s voted out. The “power structure” essentially bullies the good people. And if they are voted out then they need to be replaced by competent board members and not a bunch of hotheads who don’t know poop from shoe polish. If they had proper legal counsel they might not be in this mess. A good lawyer would have told them what to do. But the village intentionally doesn’t have an attorney at the board meetings.

    2. You are spot on, weak go-along to get-along people will never have the backbone to foster integrity in what is apparently a vastly corrupt municipal government. They are part of the problem and never will be the solution.

  9. Absolute power corrupts absolutely!
    Democrats (socalist) are all about fleecing people out of honest government. All the time telling them how hard they are working for the people. It seems to have worked well in this case . Look at the elected officials who set silent. This speaks to people with common bond related to the events in question. It appears the citizens elected a den of thieves . Like other Democrats (socalist) the rule of law means nothing to them . I don’t live in this town just a outside observer .

    1. Please don’t extend this fraudsters political position amongst the general population if either democrats / republicans / socialists. This is an INDIVIDUAL (and potential others besides Jr) who chose to break the law and steal. When you portray this individual known characterization towards a group of people (ie: democrats / republicans / socialists) it loses power and people tune out. Not all democrats/republicans are corrupt , however clearly Steinbrink IS. THIS IS NOT ABOUT POLITICS, it’s about FRAUD! Keep THAT in the headlines, regardless of his or any of their personal, political positions!

  10. As residents stood outside discussing what we had just witnessed inside the auditorium none of them left the building, they remained inside with the police chief. Scared to be confronted by residents I am sure. The sign in sheet was pulled before 5pm, which is why only Kevin spoke. The entire process of this so called meeting screams of dishonesty and is unacceptable! All of these board members need to go because their lack of integrity and failure to stand up for the residents is pathetic. Will definitely be at every meeting from here on out.

  11. Wow, so much for government for the people, by the people.

    What is good for me is not good for thee. John next time where a pair of sunglasses you can see it in your eyes that you are lying. Mike has mastered that skill; he could fool a polygraph with ease.

    It’s not lying if you believe it.

    Enforce a rule on your constituents or your servants, so you do not have to listen to them, but you could not enforce 1 rule or policy on your own son for over 27 years who was a Village Employee. All why enforcing rules and regulations on every other employee in the Village who were not in the clique or threatened John Boy in his job. Overlooking years of valid allegations against John boy has finally caught up to you and your precious Village that you rule over.

    1 truck in the ditch, 2 truck in the ditch, harassing people in the finance department, trying to get his girlfriend hired, utilizing Village equipment and employees like they were his own, failure to follow simple rules from the DNR regarding permitting for projects, bridges, wells and compost site etc.… Instead of paying for his Engineering degree and all the expenses associated with it, you should have sent him to a management class and employee ethics course.

    Hey folks realize why he will not resign out of integrity, its all about that future development of the powerplant land that is adjacent to his and John Boys property. I can assure he will not (pull a Theil) abstain from any votes on that issue since the family will gain from it.

  12. A flow chart for my fellow citizens:
    I do something wrong, and I get caught, I pay.
    The govt does something. Whether or not they get caught. I pay.

  13. Wouldnt it be great if someone got yard signs printed up, in blue, of course, saying,
    “Corruption works here.” and put them up at the village hall many nights.
    “Corruption lives here.” and put them up at these fraudsters homes.
    “Pleasant Prairie run on corruption, lets vote them out!”
    for your own yard.

    You can imagine the amount of Pleasant Prairie residents that have no clue what is happening because the dont follow KCE and the K-town news doesnt cover it…. think about that.

    1. Love this idea! And I have been reaching out to many residents, but most of them do not seem to care what is happening in their own Village. J wish we could get every single resident to attend the next board meeting, be there at 4:30 and all sign up to speak.

  14. Love this idea! And I have been reaching out to many residents, but most of them do not seem to care what is happening in their own Village. J wish we could get every single resident to attend the next board meeting, be there at 4:30 and all sign up to speak.

    1. I honestly think most residents are afraid of retribution from PP. They could start harassing you for the smallest of reasons.

  15. Wow, so much for government by the people for the people.

    What is good for me is not good for thee. John next time where a pair of sunglasses you can see it in your eyes that you are lying. Mike has mastered that skill; he could fool a polygraph with ease.

    It’s not lying if you believe it.

    Enforce a rule on your constituents or your servants, so you do not have to listen to them, but can you not enforce 1 rule or policy on your own son for over 27 years who was a Village Employee. All why enforcing rules and regulations on every other employee in the Village who were not in the clique or threatened John Boy in his job. Overlooking years of valid allegations against John boy has finally caught up to you two and your precious Village that you rule over.

    1 truck in the ditch, 2 truck in the ditch, harassing people in the finance department, trying to get his girlfriend hired, utilizing Village equipment and employees like they were his own, failure to follow simple rules from the DNR regarding permitting for projects, bridges, wells, and compost site etc.… Instead of paying for his Engineering degree and all the expenses associated with it, you should have sent him to a management class or an employee ethics course.

    Hey folks realize why he will not resign out of integrity, its all about that future development of the powerplant land that is adjacent to his and John Boys property. I can assure he will not (pull a Theil) abstain from any votes on that issue since the family will gain from it.


    Peter J Steinbrink owns the land where the culverts and gates were installed, simply said ” birds of a feather flock together” So who is Peter Steinbrink, its John Seniors Brother, Johnny boys Uncle. Keeping it all in the Family!

    1. They are related, IIRC. Not uncommon for family farms to be near each other. I have friends (county supervisor) with family farms adjacent to each other. That means they can pool their $ to buy equipment and for labor and when times were tough they made money. With the Steinbrinks the issue is whether there was preferential treatment.

      1. I’m pretty sure there’s preferential treatment. All the comments over the last few KCE articles have provided that!

        The cat is in charge of the canary, what more is needed?

  16. There may be a 3 ring binder full of evidence but the only people who have seen it are at the Racine County Sheriff’s Office and the Racine County District Attorney.

  17. On/about 4/17 village PR guy tells Kenosha News there’s no word on whether village will renew Thiel’s contract set to expire 4/30. The separation agreement (which used the word “resignation” in it) but he was supposed to return village property by 4/13. So was the PR guy accurate?

    3/28 closed village board session to consider village administrator contract
    4/1 Steinbrink, jr. suspension

    So it’s possible they were considering nonrenewal before Steinbrink suspension. Was the 4/1 suspension the nail in Thiel’s coffin OR Thiel’s last stand knowing he was on the way out? And, if so, did it provoke turning nonrenewal into involuntary suspension? The “agreement” says the $160K payment was in consideration of his resignation and the terms of his contract. If it was a nonrenewal was any payment necessary? Maybe the REAL story here is Thiel.

    If there were performance issues with Thiel and they were simply going to shake hands and wish each other well on April 30 there would be no need for a buyout (and there could have been issues). Why the secrecy or confidentiality?

    Maybe KCE’s theory is flawed. Just as plausible is that on 3/28 Thiel, for whatever reason or reasons, was told in that closed session that he was on the way out. It’s unclear whether the misconduct allegations against Steinbrink, jr. were known to him at that time. Thiel suspends Stenbrink, jr. on 4/1. Was it because he just found out and did what he had to do or was it something he knew and sat on, using it when he knew he was history? And, if so, did that infuriate powers-that-be to escalate a nonrenewal to a negotiated resignation? When did Thiel find out about jr.? When did the police find out? So many unanswered questions and important ones. And why was the village board agenda for 3/28 amended to add discussion of the village administrator? Another unanswered question.

    Another plausible theory is that initially the decision to part ways with Thiel was initially independent of anything to do with jr. Maybe that hadn’t been known then. Maybe it was. Regardless, the allegations against jr. were serious enough that Thiel, a good Mormon, did what he had to do and suspended jr. on 4/1. And the rest is history. For $160K+ Thiel’s silence was bought. They also agreed to give him a positive recommendation. If there was misconduct by Thiel why confidentiality and a positive recommendation? If it was just a difference of opinion about performance or management style with no misconduct they could have allowed his contract to expire. Were there unique terms in the contract, such as a 30 or 60 day notice of intent not to renew? (Did KCE get a copy of Thiel’s contract?)

    Why go into all of this? As serious as the allegations of misconduct by jr. are the actual financial hit to the village could be chump change compared to how much it cost to axe Thiel. The $90K was never lost by the village — it was an overpayment that jr. allegedly hid. Taxpayers may have been on the hook for the unauthorized work but I’d guess it might less than $160K or more paid Thiel. Was that necessary?

    To illustrate a contract expiration: An entire small town police department quit. The city hired temporary cops for a limited term while it advertised for permanent officers. One of the limited term officers did his job too well with some of the power people in the community unhappy that they got tickets for things they got away with in the past although only one of the officer’s arrests resulted in an acquittal. The city did not hire that officer to fill a permanent position but rather the temporary officer worked to the expiration of his contract and a little beyond that by mutual agreement. The city didn’t have to pay the limited term officer anything extra (and he got a better opportunity elsewhere). That’s how working to the end of your contract typically works (when there’s no misconduct).

  18. Hoping we don’t have to wait till then but, we can vote out Steinbrink, Keckler and Klimisch on April 23, 2023. Can we have a recall on Pollocoff and when?
    We need honest people to run. DRAIN THE SWAMP!!!

    1. Does anyone really think Steinbrink will be reelected?

      What we need is to see the evidence and the timeline. Jr. may be the straw that broke the camel’s back. Why Thiel was bought out (and right after they begged for money for police and fire) is much more interesting.

    2. Will you be running for the election? Seems to me the best candidates could be those “disgruntled employees” who know the inside scoop! OR how about the employees who blew the whistle? Can’t be anymore of a conflict of interest that what Sr/Jr; Terwall/his kids; Serpe, etc all had going on. Wouldn’t THAT be interesting! Bet the house would get cleaned out real fast!

  19. Buying out Thiel makes ZERO sense unless they wanted him to keep his mouth shut on all things Village related. Without that hush money, he could have revealed all the skeletons in the closet! Pollocoff hired his replacement- shouldn’t that payout be considered his mismanagement as well? Seems the real story (in addition to Jrs sticky, greedy hands and the Steinbrink double dip) is what the hell happened under Pollocoff’s watch and why isn’t anyone investigating HIM? So far if we’re keeping count, we have $160k to Thiel, $120k to Jr (his salary while he ran 2 other non-licensed businesses on the side); plus ALL HIS THEFT; 120k PLUS to Kathy Goessl who clearly is an idiot (so let’s promote her and give her an increase); lots of stolen equipment; mismanaged contracts; theft of Menards rebates; theft of scrap metal; open ended fines coming from DNR; potential reopening/refiling of Yvonne’s death lawsuit Seems like all this adding up to millions is not very far off…..

    So glad Steinbrink hired his son and Pollocoff agreed. If not for those three idiots, the Village wouldn’t be in this mess and the laughing stock of Wisconsin Municipalities, and likely others! I’m certain there is more to come to this story….tip of the iceberg is right!!

    1. Some of what you say may be a stretch but Thiel’s buyout is a red flag. So far no replacement was hired (job is currently advertised). The issues with jr. do not include him not doing his job but rather that he also did things he was not supposed to do. (Suspect one reason he got away with stuff is that it appeared he did what was supposed to be done.) The actual loss to taxpayers from jr. is one thing. It might not be all that much (won’t know until there’s an audit) compared to the over $160K that went to Thiel.

      The problem isn’t so much that most of these people didn’t do their jobs but rather the unnecessarily insular nature of how things were done and the stubborn resistance to routine transparency. The Kenosha News was a part of this by not being around and not asking the right questions. The village is not poorly run — the fact it’s been running itself pretty much for the past three or four months alone proves that. The good department heads and employees deserve more credit than they get. But how this mess was handled is bizarre. This isn’t the first and won’t be the last time a trusted employee turns out to have violated that trust. How it’s handled says a lot about the organization’s management. Any intelligent person knows for liability and other reasons you can’t say everything publicly during an investigation but what you can say you do and then you take measures to assess the problem and keep it from happening again. You also let the public know what you are doing about it. It ain’t rocket science. When you don’t have that transparency people speculate and rumors fly.

      Here employees came forward. That’s a good thing. The police gathered the information, determined there was a conflict of interest and asked an outside agency to investigate. Also good. Employee suspended pending outcome of investigation. Check. Was an audit ordered to determine the extent of any losses and plugging any loopholes? We don’t know. Was there a policy about the Menards rebates? It should be common sense but, again, we don’t know. (The rebates are not cash but merchandise credits for future purchases from Menards. And how the purchases were done is a big issue. If the employee purchased it with his own funds or credit card and puts in for reimbursement afterward — not uncommon for occasional retail purchases — to whom does the rebate belong? Obviously if it was done on a village credit card it’s the village. Not so obvious otherwise. The policy is also important. Many employers allow traveling employees to keep frequent flyer miles and hotel points — usually as an incentive to get the best deal — and, of course, if the employee paid for them with his or her own credit card then they belong to the employee. And these points are like a penny to the dollar spent, not 11% like Menards. Bottom line: It may not have been charged by the DA because it’s complicated.)

      Many years ago the City of Kenosha had a clerk who had his hand in the till. He was canned and the public was told why.

      The Yvonne Wheeler tragedy (actually, tragedies — those of us who know the story understand that) is beyond words. Statute of limitations may have expired on that one.

  20. I disagree- jr has had a looooong leash for over 20 years. Crashed many vehicles, dump trucks and pickups (careless, knew he was untouchable), worked his 2 companies while on the clock; had VPP employees working for his personal gains; took equipment; used VPP equipment for his businesses (including blades oil, gas, repairs, etc) took fuel for his personal vehicles (on video) , built houses, hired his friends, sexually harassed the women, the list is long and proof is first hand knowledge, not rumor or speculation. And it goes back to when he started! His theft is MUCH higher than Thiels payout. Not exaggerating, it’s likely in the millions. IF they do an independent internal audit they will find it! Employees have been blowing the whistle for decades, DECADES but under Pollocoff leadership, they were shown the door for speaking up against Steinbrink. The only dynamic that changed was the Administrative leadership Pollocoff/Thiel.

    Regarding the Menards rebates, comparing that to frequent flier miles is insane. Any person of integrity would NEVER even think to spend those credits other than for business purposes. Jr is a crooked thief, and has been a disgrace to that family since he got his high school gal pregnant and kept cheating back then! Once a cheater, always a cheater—he just modified his modus operandi over the years to include thievery, fraud and embezzlement. Shame on his dad for not representing the Villages best interests and allowing his cheating, stealing son to get away with it. Oh, and Yes, we can be judge, jury and whatever else he mumbled in that video- we’ve seen him and his daddy get away with this shit for DECADES! It’s time to pay the piper!

    1. Not necessarily disagreeing but trying to illustrate why the rebates might not have made it into the criminal complaint which someone else questioned. If what you say is true you should be dancing that jr. is gone. As you agree, we won’t have an idea of how much was misappropriated without an audit (and maybe not even then if things go back as far as you say, among other reasons).

      You want answers about jr. Fine. Others want them about Thiel. And maybe the trails intersect.

  21. Cleaning up is going to be more like pruning diseased branches than a nuclear option. At the end of the day Pleasant Prairie provides good services with a small staff. Most of the department heads are pretty sharp (one is too new to evaluate). There are a couple of people who need to go and it’s pretty obvious who they are. They also need to hire a competent administrator smart enough to fix what’s wrong and not mess with what isn’t and a replacement for jr. who will get the work done without being an issue. Maybe with the disease removed the people who were too afraid to do what needs to be done will be able to. And they need transparency.

  22. Many of the longer tenured department heads at public works knew exactly what was going on. They just watched it all happen, kept there mouths shut, and refused to stand up for their employees. Many good employees were lost over the last 10 years because they tried to speak up. As for the newer department heads, they are very inexperienced and has no business being in the position they are in. They only got the position because they are good friends with John’s son and John knew he could control him. All the managers need to be investigated, watching it all happen and refusing to speak up makes them just as guilty.

  23. I would think the Wisconsin State Patrol would be interested in reinvestigating the accident with the snow plow and Yvonne. If Jr lied to police and they find out now, why would there be a statute of limitations as the original investigation was a sham? Yvonne’s family should sue Jr personally and the Village big time as this is the ultimate kick in the face. First they loose their loved one and then to find out now that the Director of Public works lied and ordered to get the snow plow fixed during the night is inexcusable. The State Patrol should have impounded the vehicle at the Scales instead of at the municipality where the accident occurred. Just by parking the snow plow at their facility, their investigation would have found the Village was in the wrong. Furthermore, the State Patrol is also in the wrong here and Yvonne’s family should look into legal action against that agency.

    Then all of the good employees that lost their jobs because John had an axe to grind with them and then having HR Carol Willke sign off just bedside she couldn’t stand up to Jr is not how professionals are supposed to work.

    1. The horse may be out of the barn on this but I would think the evidence should be in hand and solid about the alleged wrongdoing. Otherwise it’s kind of cruel for the family to read this. That said, even without that, there may be other evidence of potential negligence that was brought to the attention of village officials at the time but the witness was never contacted by any investigators or interviewed.

  24. Why do all the meetings start at 5 pm? Is it because the Boards are made up of retired people? Is it because the Boards do not want to hear from the public? Anyone with an ounce of brain matter, would understand that most citizens are getting off of work at 5 o’clock. Therefore, how could they attend a meeting to make a comment or question something? Seems to me that the powers that be do not want to hear from us residents. What about Kudrow who ran this spring on ridding the Village of corruption? Seems to me he’s just like the rest of them even though he was put up to run by the Republican Party of Kenosha. All lies to get elected, and once in office, does nothing. A BIG disappointment.

    1. The meetings were at 5 p.m. for a long time. When Jeff Laurer and Alex Tiahnybok were elected it was moved briefly to 7 p.m. and then they settled at 6 p.m. Nathan Thiel wanted it at 5 p.m. so that he and the village staff didn’t have to hang around for 90 minutes (village hall closes at 4:30 p.m.).

      The new board member should be cut some slack. He’s only one vote so he has no ability to do anything without two other board members on the same side. Plus he’s learning the ropes. I went back over the board records after seeing your post and he was not involved in any of the recent stuff except for approving the separation agreement two days after his very first board meeting.

      Another important point: this is STILL UNDER INVESTIGATION and you don’t want to do anything that could impede it.

    2. Listen to 7/25/22 board meeting on Pleasant Prairie village website. Go to Menu, Government, Meetings and Notices, Village Board, 2022. Village attorney is on phone saying board cannot comment on anything not on agenda. That’s what Sr. was referring to.
      As for Consent Agenda, it’s for non- controversial items, e.g. meeting minutes, not for financial matters. It can be abused. Pollocoff used to edit minutes years ago and not post them. State law gives people 120 days to contest board action. (893.80) If you didn’t know about it, too bad.
      I felt that Pollocoff, not Sr., always ran things. He was village administrator and superintendent of public works for years, with no engineering degree.
      I don’t expect any confessions of guilt. When Jr. gets sentenced, he’ll have people supporting him and he’ll beg for mercy. Remember former county exec Allen Kehl (a buddy) – soliciting and taking bribes is a federal crime.
      Also, when Jeff Lauer was on the board, they were merciless in tormenting him. He was the sole independent. They couldn’t have that

      1. Alex Tiahnybok also served with Jeff. They tried to make some good points but didn’t do enough homework. Didn’t jr. already confess some guilt? Guess we’ll have to wait and see.

        I don’t know about edited minutes. They used to actually post transcripts of the public meetings which are more detailed. What they often did was not state specifically why they would go into a closed session. Ironically, with Thiel they did.

        Not surprising about Pollocoff “running things.” A good administrator or superintendent runs the board. The “brains of the board” was Mike Serpe. If it appeared that people were upset about something he would move to table it and they would go back and rework it. I pity whoever becomes the new administrator.

  25. On another note…I got my ballot today. It’s a mish-mosh. Who designed it? Almost wound up voting for a Democrat the way it’s laid out.

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