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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.

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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:

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“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.

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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.”

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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.

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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)



Pritzker Military Museum and Library Ribbon Cutting – In Photos

The Pritzker Military Museum and Library celebrated its opening with a ceremonial ribbon-cutting today, May 25, 2024 at 11:00 a.m., just two days before this years’ Memorial Day. The museum was founded by billionaire philanthropist and retired Lieutenant Colonel Pritzker of the Pritzker family. The new building, built in Somers over the last few years is the new location for the museum, which was relocated from Chicago, IL, where Col. Pritzker’s brother is the Governor. About

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Now Hiring – Village Of Salem Lakes

The Village of Salem Lakes is under new leadership and the Village Board recently increased the pay for several positions. The benefits packages are among the best in the region. The Village is seeking: Village Clerk – Earns between $65,000 and $90,000 depending on qualifications. Click here to read the requirements, duties, and how to apply. Assistant to the Village Administrator – Earns between $60,000 and $90,000 depending on qualifications. Click here to read the requirements,

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Kenosha County Is A Leader In The State For Sending People To Prison – Why?

Wisconsin has sent 3,152 people to prison From April 1, 2023 to March 31, 2024. For the sake of this discussion, we are talking about “new sentences” only – not any other reason, such as probation and extended supervision revocations. KCE often refers to the Kenosha County DA’s office as “soft on crime.” That doesn’t sit well with Kenosha’s District Attorney, Michael Graveley (D). He believes KCE is cherry-picking data and challenged KCE to use objective

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16-Year-Old High School Student Pleads Not Guilty To Two Police Chases – Facing Almost 40 Years In Prison

A 16-year-old student at Indian Trail High School and Academy has been charged with four very serious felonies for two separate car chases that allegedly occurred on April 27, 2024. Sunny A. Patel was briefly charged as a juvenile, but quickly was waived into adult court. Patel was charged with two count of Attempting to Flee or Elude an Officer and two counts of First Degree Recklessly Endangering Safety. The former comes with a maximum prison

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Samantha Kerkman Delivers 2024 State of the County Address, Unveils New Logo For Kenosha County

Kenosha County Executive Samantha Kerkman presented her annual State of the County address to the County Board this evening, highlighting recent successes while unveiling a new county logo. “The State of Kenosha County is strong — and it’s looking better all the time,” Kerkman said, referencing a rebranding process more than a year in the making. The new logo, Kenosha County’s first since 1982, moves the county’s brand into the 21st century, Kerkman said. “The new

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Silver Lake Man Arrested, Charged For “Stalking” Women On Silver Lake Walking Trail

A multiple felon named Dale H. Lassiter of Silver Lake, was arrested Sunday, May 19, 2024 by the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department. The 28-year-old’s arrest occurred after a pair of allegedly sexually-related attacks on two separate women – Saturday and Sunday. Lassiter is behind bars, holding on two separate $1,000 cash bails. He needs to post $2,000 to be released pending trial. He was charged with fourth degree sexual assault, lewd and lascivious behavior, and two

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Salem Lakes Board Appoints Pete Poli To Vacant Trustee Position – Sworn In Tonight

The Salem Lakes Village Board appointed 51-year-old business owner Pete Poli to sit alongside them on the board. The vacancy was created by Kathryn “Kelly” Sweating as she resigned for health reasons. The board voted 5 to 1 to appoint Poli to the board. Poli was challenged by resident Doug Randolph. Both men were given the opportunity to answer several questions in writing before tonight’s meeting. They also gave opening statements and were asked questions by

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Fired KUSD Teacher Groomed Student “For Sex”: Civil Lawsuit Filed Today

A fired teacher at KTEC West named Christian Enwright groomed a 13, and later 14-year-old student, from June of 2023 until he was caught in February of 2024. He did this for the purpose of having sex with the child at some point. This is according to a civil suit filed today in the Kenosha County Circuit Court. Named in the suit is Enwright and his insurance company (if he has one.) According to the 38-page

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Grooming Teacher’s Cell Phone Seized Before Court Last Week, Sexual Contact Is Now Suspected: Unsealed Warrant

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KCE Takes Andy “Sgt. Hard” Berg Back To Court For Contempt – Berg Hasn’t Provided Records Or Paid Fees As Ordered

Last month, a Kenosha Judge ordered a former Kenosha County Board Member Andy Berg (D) to make available for inspection a large amount of county park maps and business cards that he was illegally distributing during his Spring 2024 election. Judge Frank Gagliardi also ordered Berg to pay Mathewson’s legal fees, in the amount of $309.50 – neither have happened. Berg’s deadline was May 11, 2024. Mathewson contacted Berg via his attorney. Berg still wouldn’t provide

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Salem Lakes To Appoint New Board Member – Pete Poli Is The Obvious Choice: Opinion

The Village of Salem Lakes has the opportunity for any legal resident of Salem Lakes that meets the age requirement, as well as other legal statutory requirements, to serve out the remainder of the term of beloved Trustee Kelly Sweeting. Sweeting abruptly resigned due to health reasons. The Village of Salem Lakes has seen major fundamental changes since the upset of the Spring 2023 election. These changes have been led by President Rita Bucur, trustees, new Salem

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Former Indian Trail High School Employee Charged With Very Serious Sex Crimes Against Students

Jamill E. Sanders, 36, of Racine, was allowed to resign from the Kenosha Unified School District on May 13, 2022 as an “Educational Support Professional.” He then went on to work for 21st Century Preparatory School in Racine. That is where police and prosecutors say he sexually assaulted two juvenile students. Sanders was charged this past Tuesday, May 14, 2024 with “Second Degree Sexual Assault Of A Child Under 16 Years Of Age” and “Repeated Sexual

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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.

  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. 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.

  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.

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