CAEGI 0003 November Ads 2022x250

Kenosha County Eye

One Felony Count Against Disgraced Former Pleasant Prairie Public Works Director Dismissed Today In Court – Evidence Racine DA Isn’t Taking Case Seriously

John Steinbrink, Jr In Court for Initial Appearance
(Photo by Kevin Mathewson – Kenosha County Eye)

The disgraced former Public Works Director John P. Steinbrink, Jr was charged with a series of felony charges on July 19, 2022 related to misconduct and corruption within the Village of Pleasant Prairie. Today he made his first court appearance. He donned sunglasses, a violation of court rules, which the Commissioner and others present in court initially thought were “transition lenses”. He was dressed in an expensive dark-grey suit. The prosecution got off to an awkward and weird start.

Paid Advertisement

If the Kenosha DA does a bad job with a case and justice misses the mark, the Kenosha County voters can replace him or her. There is direct accountability in the system. But what if the prosecutor is from another county? In the case of the State of Wisconsin vs John Steinbrink, Jr, the prosecution is being handled by The Racine County DA, Patricia Hanson. The investigation was handled by the Racine County Sheriff’s Office. From what we know so far, the investigation was thorough and the police in Racine CO did a good job. What really counts, however, is what happens in court. If the Racine County DA does a poor job, there is no direct accountability. Kenosha County residents, and more importantly, the Pleasant Prairie Taxpayers might find this out the hard way in this case.

Racine County DA Patricia Hanson

As many of you know, this author’s full-time occupation is that of a criminal defense investigator, and thus has a slightly higher knowledge of the criminal justice system than a lay-person. Being a citizen journalist with no boss or corporate oversight, this author can state opinions and advocate for things. This author sent an email to Racine County DA Patricia Hanson on July 20, 2022 saying in part:

Paid Advertisement

“BTW, the criminal complaint is deficient. It seems like allowing a 2 year attorney and a 3-year attorney to charge such a large-scale corruption case is a mystery. Looks like you want it to fail. I’m not a lawyer and I can almost guarantee some of these counts will be dismissed at the initial/prelim. Is that what you want?

I suggest you file an amended complaint with more information.

Paid Advertisement
Racine County Prosecutor Chris Steenrod
(Photo by Kevin Mathewson – Kenosha County Eye)

That is exactly what happened. Hanson sent Racine ADA Chris Steenrod today to Steinbrink’s initial appearance. Steinbrink’s defense attorney, Richard Smith made a motion to dismiss Count #4, a felony of misconduct in public office, because the criminal complaint was deficient. Steenrod, who seemed unprepared to argue, had no response after fervently looking through the multi-page document. “I don’t have the file with me” said Steenrod.

Criminal Defense Attorney Richard Smith
(Photo by Kevin Mathewson – Kenosha County Eye)

Defense Attorney Smith seemed frustrated with the sloppily written criminal complaint saying, “My client is being charged with some very serious charges here, you see the cameras” said Attorney Smith to Commissioner Keating, pointing at this author and a photographer for the Kenosha News. To which Keating replied “I got it. I got it.”

Paid Advertisement

Keating dismissed the count. This reduced the total possible prison time by 3.5 years. Keating didn’t have a choice here. It was clear that the complaint did not make a probable cause statement as to the charge.

ADA Steenrod asked for a signature bond of $25,000, meaning that Steinbrink doesn’t have to post any money and will be out of custody until trial. Steenrod also asked the commissioner to prohibit Steinbrink from having any contact with any current employees of the Village of Pleasant Prairie (except his father, the Village President, John Steinbrink, Sr) or former employees that worked for Steinbrink. Steinbrinks’s attorney opposed that request stating that the prohibition was too broad. Ultimately the Commissioner ordered the prohibition as requested, stating “Theses are allegations that strike to the heart of public trust and a violation of public trust and the involvement with employees as well. I’m going to air on the side of caution with contact.” Steinbrink, JR cannot speak to any current employees of the Village or former employees that worked from him.

Some new information was stated in court today. Steenrod told the court that the Sheriff’s office had an outside HR firm come in to take complaints from “dozens” of Village employees and that lasted “for an entire afternoon……This was not a favorable work environment that Mr. Steinbrink Jr fostered.” This gives further merit to allegations that the Village’s HR Director Carol Wilke who recently resigned, was complicit in the misconduct.

In a rare move, Steinbrink’s attorney asked the commissioner to waive his client’s preliminary examination, meaning that he cannot further challenge probable cause until trial.

We reached out to DA Patricia Hanson and we don’t expect to hear back. If you live in Pleasant Prairie and want her to take this more seriously, her email address is .

We asked Steinbrink and his attorney for comments after the hearing. His attorney told KCE his client was “happy” that one of the felonies was dropped. Steinbrink said “no comment.”

Steinbrink Jr is due to appear in front of the Honorable Judge Anthony Milisauskas on August 26 at 1pm.

Steinbrink, JR
(Photo by Kevin Mathewson – Kenosha County Eye)


  • 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.


Embattled Director Of Women’s Shelter Drops Lawsuit That Was Allegedly Filed Illegally

The embattled director of Women and Children’s Horizons dropped a lawsuit yesterday, two weeks after it was filed, and only 10 days after KCE published an article alleging she was practicing law without a license. According to a 8-count findings document outlining an investigation into misconduct, Paine was disbarred May 20, 2023. The documents says in part, “After proceedings conducted pursuant to [Michigan Supreme Court Rules], the panel found, based on [Paine’s] admissions to all of the

Read More »

Man Who Escaped Kenosha Prison In July Captured In Milwaukee County, Was In Possession of Firearm

On July 26, 2023 a State Prison inmate named Parish Eckford escaped from a Kenosha Prison. This is a State of Wisconsin Department of Corrections Facility and not associated with the Sheriff’s Department jail. Eckford was serving a 16-year prison sentence for the following convictions in Milwaukee Circuit Court: Eckford was scheduled to be released the month he escaped. He previously served 5 years for armed Robbery. The prison, is a minimum security prison that is

Read More »

After 30 Years On The Job, Kenosha Deputy Police Chief To Retire: Q and A

After 30 years on the job, the Kenosha Police Department’s # 2 is hanging up his gun belt. Deputy Chief Tom Hansche announced his retirement officially on October 4, 2023 in a memo to the Chief. “This memo is to inform you that I will officially retire from the Kenosha Police Department on December 31, 2023…I have been blessed with many opportunities and I wish you and the department nothing but the best of success in

Read More »

Salem Lakes Fire Chief, Inspector, Intimidated Subordinates Not To Cooperate With Investigation: Document

In an explosive report released to KCE following a public records request, investigators outline an inquiry into misconduct that was obstructed by the former Salem Lakes Fire Chief and Fire Inspector. The eight-page report begins with an executive summary saying “Overall, following nearly two-dozen interviews and the review of hundreds of pages of communications and records, it could be determined significant deficiencies exist in the respective performances of the Fire Chief and Fire Marshal. However, as

Read More »

After More Than A Year On Bail, Exonerated Kenosha Man Speaks Out

When then 28-year-old Arris Parker tried to break up a fight on August 3, 2022, he never though he would be fighting the Kenosha DA’s office to determine where he would spend the next 20 years of his life – in prison, or as a free man. But that is exactly what Mr. Parker says happened. The same day that he was arrested for trying to help quell a disturbance, one where someone was stabbed, Parker

Read More »

Gov. Evers Appoints Toni L. Young to the Racine County Circuit Court

MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers announced today his appointment of Toni L. Young to the Racine County Circuit Court – Branch 3. The appointment fills the vacancy created by Judge Maureen M. Martinez’s resignation, effective Nov. 17, 2023. Young will complete a term ending July 31, 2024.  “Toni Young is a well-respected attorney with broad experience who is committed to seeking justice for everyone who enters her courtroom,” said Gov. Evers. “She will be an excellent judge for

Read More »

Gov. Evers Appoints Frank Gagliardi to the Kenosha County Circuit Court

MADISON —Gov. Tony Evers announced today his appointment of Frank Gagliardi to the Kenosha County Circuit Court – Branch 3. The appointment fills the vacancy created by Judge Bruce E. Schroeder’s resignation, effective Nov. 27, 2023. Gagliardi will complete a term ending July 31, 2024. “Frank Gagliardi has strong connections to the community and is committed to fairness and integrity,” said Gov. Evers. “He will serve the people of Kenosha County well as their next circuit court

Read More »

Commissioner William Michel II Declares Candidacy For Kenosha Judge

KENOSHA, WI | Longtime Kenosha lawyer and Kenosha Circuit Court Commissioner William Michel has announced his candidacy for the office of Circuit Court Judge. This announcement follows the retirement of longtime Circuit Court Judge Bruce E.Schroeder. “Judge Schroeder is an incredible role model, the ultimate professional, and a fair minded jurist who has served our community for more than four decades. He has served with dignity and has kept our community safe, ensured justice, and elevated

Read More »

66 Responses

  1. So now, judges allow dark glasses in court?
    What’s next, tinfoil hats?
    Whatever happened to the judges that actually exhibit control over the courtroom?

    What’s next, allowing people to wear AC/DC tank tops and shorts/ Sandals?

    Court proceedings never cease to amaze me over these last few years.

    1. I don’t know, they allowed masks,dark sunglasses and hats in the banks these past couple of years!? You’re right! What is this world coming to?

      1. Thanks to Covid, in places with open carry, you technically could walk into a bank with a mask over your face and a gun visible and no one would have an issue. Or go in without a mask and they might kick you out for NOT wearing a mask. It’s times like these that make me sometimes wonder if I fell asleep one night and woke up in some alternate Bizzaro World reality. The one defense lawyer looks like a hobo, the defendent is wearing sunglasses indoors, this is what happens when society keeps lowering standards.

        1. Without embellishment that actually is Attorney Smith’s hair. Just more gray than when I knew him years ago.

  2. If you were a defendant of another race, I wonder if you could get away with wearing sunglasses. I doubt it. Furthermore, I guess Jr doesn’t want to look anyone in the eye.

      1. If you weren’t a Democrat, then you would respect B-t-n-w’s right to express his opinion without your condescending remark.

        1. JimBob,
          What hole do you have your head stuck in these days?
          This is the way the game is played these days….
          Who do you think I learned it from?

  3. Nothing is going to happen to Steinbrink. Good buddy system might accept a misdemeanor plea and some token restitution. Rigged game–Rigged legal system.

  4. So if Jr is not to have any contact with anyone associated with Village of Pleasant Prairie employees, I presume this would include the inspection department, correct? So, how then is he still excavating (and building a garage, or a pool?) for a pleasant prairie home in Rolling Meadows subdivision. You know, the subdivision directly behind village hall? I bet he didn’t pull a permit either. This screams double standard once again for Steinbrink!

        1. I was wondering who was the brain trust that cut down all those nice trees in his back yard. I guess a pool is more important to the enviroment than trees.

          the house is now a real eyesore now on the corner compared to what it used to look like

          1. I don’t see any permits in the window of the home. By ordinance, permits must be posted. Looks like Johnny boy and his buddy don’t need to follow the rules. After all, whose going to hold him accountable? They all report to daddy so they are STILL in fear of their jobs. Does anyone know the name of Jrs tree trimming service company?

      1. I wonder if there is any relationship between Junior and that homeowner, or, if the homeowner has any ties to the village. I won’t mention the name here, but it’s easy to find through the Kenosha County property web portal.

  5. Sounds like this is all smoke and mirrors to make it look like the court is trying to do their job. Like always, these slime ball Steinbrinks will use their corruption and power to weasel their way out of consequences. He stole MILLIONS, and rather than having an HR team interview staff, maybe they should hire a professional accounting firm that specializes in fraud to investigate. Taxpayers deserve to be fully reimbursed with interest on every single penny that asshat stole! And don’t stop digging, Sr and Pollocoff need to be investigated too!!

    1. Instead they put a referendum through to make us all pay even more for taxes on a possible future increase of people coming to Pleasant Prairie! I have no problem supporting the fire department and the police department, they do a great job here in Pleasant Prairie but that referendum never should have gone through! Did anybody notice that all the other counties in the area have just put referendums through for their fire departments and police departments as well? The Kenosha one was also passed! It seems like once Pleasant Prairie did it everybody in the area did it. Somehow Pleasant Prairie got away with making it look like all of us wanted that referendum!

  6. So if he “waived his clients preliminary examination” doesn’t that signal he doesn’t want his dirty deeds exposed in detail to the public? That certainly indicates he’s looking for an out of court settlement, pay a fine, and try to save his reputation, without exposing all his shenanigans. What a dirt bag!

  7. Looks like JR took to heart a comment from a previous KCE article whereby the commentor suggested his daddy wear sunglasses to hide his lying eyes.

    1. So the prosecutor from Racine drove to K town for this proceeding but claimed not to have the file? He had the file he was paging through it. The problem was, he was not prepared and didn’t know where to look for charge 4. Next time, could you read the documents?

  8. This is from comments on Gonzalez’ story. Apparently in Pleasant Prairie there is all kinds of stuff going on that no one knows about.

    August 9, 2022 – 5:03 AM at 5:03 AM
    If Smetana is so competent then why did he push almost the entire upper half of the department into early retirement and many others to leave law enforcement all together? For the fist time in the history of the department, the are talking lateral transfers from other agencies because they’re desperate to fill positions. Smetana is nothing but an egotistical and hypocritical pr**k. Someone should look into him. He’s a puppet and in the Village’s back pocket.

    Pleasant in the Prairie…. Not.

    1. One of the reasons is that a whole group were hired within a short period of time and the retirements came at about the same time.

      1. If that is true, why couldn’t you plan for these retirements. That’s right it was planned by asking the taxpayers for more money.

        1. The retirement openings were filled. The referendum is funding additional positions and they are not related to or affected by retirements.

  9. this definitely seems like a smoke screen. seems kenosha DA sends any case they want to increase the chances of that person getting off. after all why would racine DA spend their money and use their resources to really put any effort in prosecuting a case from Kenosha county; and lets also say that the steinbrink name is big in kenosha county and of course wouldn’t they like him to catch a break. it is terrible to think that we cannot count on the justice system. and so many examples of failure with our so called justice system in these counties. Patricia Hansen should be ashamed and i hope her voters vote her out next chance they get

  10. I just can’t get over the sunglasses. I have been in courtrooms hundreds of times over many decades. I have never seen a judge or commissioner not order a defendant to remove sunglasses. Not once, ever.

    It seems that the commissioner was paying way too much deference to this defendant.

    One other commenter said that there is no way a black defendant would be allowed to wear those glasses. He is absolutely correct. However, I propose that no defendant, of any race, gender, or social status would be allowed to do so. However, the Prince of the Prairie is allowed to do it. I don’t want to be too dramatic, but the photos are stunning.

    1. I could give a rat’s ass about the glasses. But (thanks to KCE for posting) the criminal complaint makes no sense at times. Hope the prosecutors do a better job at trial.

  11. Thank you KCE for covering this story with integrity. If anyone were to read todays Kenosha News article, it’s absolutely embarrassing. Jrs other attorney states it’s “all a misunderstanding and he’s worked tirelessly for local government”. Sounds just like his dad wrote the article. Where are the facts that he’s been stealing from tax payers for over 28 years? What a bunch of bullshit and gaslighting! He did the exact same shit to his (now ex) wife Jennnifer. Gaslighting, lying , denying asshole! The citizens are so tired of the Steinbrinks and their lying, cheating, stealing ways, all while smiling through their corn cob teeth! Enough is enough, send that prick to jail so he can harass and date all the fellow inmates he wants. Would love for the tables to be turned and Johnny Boy feels the discomfort of sexual harassment from inside the prison walls where he belongs!

    1. I get your disgust with him and his family but under our constitution he is presumed innocent until a unanimous jury says otherwise (regardless of our personal opinions). I hope the evidence at trial is more thorough than what’s in the criminal complaint.

      1. While I understand your legal point of view, he IS A CRIMINAL! Has been since we know for a FACT these charges (any many, many others yet to be uncovered) are real, true. Employees saw it first hand. The problem is he and his family has power/control over VPP employees and others in the community no matter what the court says. They are always in fear for their jobs, safety, family, reputation, etc. Steinbrinks have never played fair. Their dirty, stealing cheating thief’s. VPP has been the Steinbrink’s playground and your only allowed in if you run their back or keep your mouth shut and let them do whatever they want. I’d go as far to say that IF this makes it to trial (cuz he will certainly want to avoid that), he will know ppl on the jury and will get a slap on the wrist. As said before, if this were any other employee, the Village would ensure the employee be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Why not him? Oh, daddy runs the board! You can already see/hear the narrative if “oh he was a good citizen, dedicated employee, etc”. I call bullshit- he STOLE MILLONS, send that assh@le to jail!

        1. You’ve said that several times but, as was mentioned, the only voice that matters now is the jury’s.

        2. MILLIONS

          Putting something in all caps doesn’t make it more or less accurate. If you have evidence, by all means contact the Racine County Sheriff’s Department and give it to them so it can be investigated. May I remind you that it was village employees who blew the whistle and the village police department that did the initial interviews and the village police who turned the investigation over to an outside agency. We can only hope that the prosecutors do their job.

          1. Who said anything about caps being more accurate? It’s used to emphasize! Kudos to the village employees who blew the whistle. And I agree it’s up to the courts. I’m skeptical they will prosecute him to the full extent of the law as the Village (or the State?- both of which Sr has/had influence) aren’t present in court, demanding full force be brought in him on behalf of taxpayers. Who is representing the taxpayers in this case? Do we really believe anyone from the Village board would ask for a harsh punishment? Either way, this theft has been happening for decades. Former employees no longer have access to the documents that may have existed; which is why a forensic audit is needed! There is so much more to uncover here. They just don’t want to uncover anymore bad publicity for Johnny Boy & daddy

  12. I think we should all write Patricia Hanson an email and express our disgust with the handling of this case. Why not have a strong prosecution team to fight for the people of Pleasant Prairie? I have sent my email to Ms. Hanson asking her to finally make sure Jr. (And Sr.) Are taken down for the years of abuse of power and corruption we the people of PP have had to live with.
    And why no admonitions on the sunglasses in court by the judge?
    It takes away my faith in our justice system all over again.

    1. If you see the way some people dress in court these days the sunglasses pale in comparison. The court rules do not prohibit them.

      1. If the judge says remove them, you just do it and don’t dare tell them what any so called rules say.

  13. I love how they only mentioned him forging DNR documents about temperature checks, what about all the state grant documents that he intentionally lied on to receive additional funds. The amount of money that he has stolen from the taxpayers is well beyond a million dollars.

    I bet Hanson’s Pool and Spa would love to know that they are employing someone who has been charged with 6 felonies. In addition, I bet Hanson’s customer would love to know this as well. Someone really needs to contact the IRS regarding his tree trimming business, most of that income was off the books.

  14. What is the name of Tree Business? Is it registered with the Village of Pleasant Prairie like every other business has to do?

    What is the name of the pool or excavating business he ran on the side all while being a full time department head for the Village? Is that business registered with the Village of Pleasant Prairie.

  15. What can we say in my opinion about these two miserable s hitheads John Sr and his mini me John Jr ? Sr walked around for decades with a puffed chest and a s hit eating grin on his face like he was the king of the village ruling over his subjects. In my opinion he is an angry, temperamental, arrogant, petty man with an attitude that infected the mindless minions on the village board and at the village hall. Please investigate every single s hitbag associate and politician that sucked up to and did business with king Sr. This family had the world by the ass in my opinion. All they needed to do was to remain humble, kind, polite and earn the respect of the people.
    Obviously they could not.

    God Hates Pride
    Proverbs 11:2 “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” Proverbs 16:5 “The LORD detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished.” Proverbs 16:18 “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.”

  16. He looks like an absolute fucking fool with those sunglasses on…..his girlfriend lets him leave the house looking like that?

    1. They should charge his girlfriend as an accomplice, I will guarantee she sings like a canary and that shit bag goes down hard. Shame on her for going along with type of behavior.

  17. There should be new discovery and charges added. The charge being dropped and time going to 3.5 years is disheartening. In Pleasant Prairie the bad guys get away with it. The citizens are not being protected. We were over policed before the referendum. What is the law doing? Passing the brick! What is being protected if this is supposed to go to Racine and the numbskulls are too “cronyismed” to do it here. Just shows how they all stick together and are out for themselves, not the citizens. All those police and this is what we get. Let’s go after them all. This going to Racine, is a way to push it all under the rug and try to keep their hands out of it. I’m ticked at this “banana republic court” appearance and the glasses go with the theme that rules don’t apply to Steinbrink.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Subscribe to updates

Get notified of new articles. We'll never share your email address.