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Kenosha County Eye

Former County Board Supervisor, Somers Trustee Gets Felony Dismissed By Walworth CO District Attorney With Sweet Plea Bargain

Joseph M. Cardinali (25) of Somers Appears In Court 4/28/2022
(Photo by Kevin Mathewson, Kenosha County Eye)

On March 22, 2022 at 8:33pm in Pleasant Prairie, police found a running car in the middle of an intersection with a man slumped over the steering wheel. Several officers tried to get his attention, but he was overdosing. Police shattered the window and pulled him out. Police saved Cardinali’s life by administering Narcan. Once revived, Cardinali became combative with police. Cardinali told the police that he snorted Fentanyl. Police found many pills in the car. He was charged with Operating While Intoxicated and Possession of Narcotic Drugs, a felony. DA Michael Graveley was a strong supporter of Cardinali when he was an elected Somers Trustee and vying for a seat he would be granted on the Kenosha County Board. For this reason, he had to recuse himself and let the Walworth County DA handle this case. Yesterday, the Walworth DA gave Cardinali a sweet plea deal, dismissing the felony. He pled guilty to three misdemeanors. He can still own a gun and hold public office. His OWI case status is unknown – it is being handled by the Racine Municipal Court.

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Kenosha Circuit Court Judge Angelina Gabriele

Cardinali wrote a letter to Judge Angelina Gabriele, who approved the plea deal, asking her to recuse herself – saying she couldn’t be fair and impartial because he worked on her opponent’s campaign. He apparently forgot about this letter yesterday and waived any potential conflict. Judges in Kenosha usually approve pleas for judicial efficiency.

This isn’t the first time the Walworth DA gave Cardinali a big break. On March 25, 2022, Cardinali was arrested for blocking access to the entrance to the Police building and refused to move when ordered by police. The Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department asked the Walworth DA to charge him with criminal Disorderly Conduct. They didn’t. They gave him a citation instead. This is further evidence that when our DA sends cases elsewhere, they aren’t treated seriously. We contacted Walworth DA Zeke Wiedenfeld and their Deputy DA James Sempf and we didn’t hear back.

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Walworth County Deputy DA James Sempf In Court 4/28/2022
(Photo by Kevin Mathewson, Kenosha County Eye)
Walworth County DA Zeke Wiedenfeld

Joe Cardinali was only 18 when he was elected to the Somers Town Board in 2015. The Town of Somers later became a Village after incorporation. Cardinali ran for the Village Board in 2016 and took first place out of four candidates. There was some questionable behavior from Cardinali during his time on the Somers board. In 2018, the death of a County Board Member sparked Cardinali to seek appointment to the board. In this process, the Chairman takes applications, interviews the candidates, and then makes a recommendation to the board of who he/she wants appointed. In this case, the Chairman was Daniel Esposito who would later be arrested for felony retail theft. Many candidates emerged, but Esposito wanted Cardinali. It seemed obvious. Cardinali had dozens of letters from prominent democrats recommending him for the post. The Chairman and most of the board were democrats. Because of his past behavior, many spoke against his appointment and five of the board members voted against it. Here are some of the prominent officials who endorsed him:

Sheriff Deputy Ray Rowe (D)
Kenosha County Board Member John Franco (D)
County Board Member Andy Berg (D)
Somers Village President George Stoner (D)
County Treasurer Teri Jacobson (D)
Former County Clerk Mary Kubicki (D)
Register of Deeds JoEllyn Storz (D)
State Senator Robert Wirch (D)
State Rep Tod Ohnstad (D)
Somers Trustee Gregg Sinnen (D)
Somers Municipal Judge Robert Kupfer (D)
Former County Executive John Collins (D)
Former Kenosha Mayor John Bilotti (D)
Paris Town Chairman Virgil Gentz (D)
Former County Board Member Mark Modory (D)
Alderman Holly Kangas (D)
Alderman Pat Juliana (D)
Alderman Daniel Prozanski (D)
Alderman Jan Michalski (D)
Former County Board Member Rick Dodge (D)
Former KUSD Board Member Mike Falkofske (D)
KUSD Board Member Mary Modder (D)
Somers Fire Chief Carson Wilkerson (D)
Somers Fire Captain Rob Hamm (D)
Kenosha County Democratic Party Chairwoman Mary Jonker (Former) (D)
Kenosha County Democratic Party Chairwoman Lori Hawkins (D)

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Just after his appointment, Cardinali had a woman petition for a restraining order. There were three in total who would file retraining orders against Cardinali.

Body-Camera Footage of His Arrest


  • Kevin Mathewson

    Kevin Mathewson is a disciple of Christ, husband and a father to two wonderful children. Mathewson was born and raised in Lake County, IL and worked as a police & fire dispatcher from 2005 to 2010 in Round Lake Beach, IL. Mathewson moved to Kenosha County in 2006, later being elected to the position of Alderman of the 8th District in 2012 and 2016. Mathewson is a private investigator, security contractor, journalist, and photographer. He enjoys spending time with his family, watching movies, camping and boating. His favorite amendment is the second, followed closely by the first. He loves his country and community.


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29 Responses

        1. Yes, and even the non partisan judges? Zeke is a total loser that hates women. He’d never make it as a DA in any other county because he’s so terrible and lacks integrity.

  1. So this clown and hypocrite who cried justice and equality all summer walks on charges? Felony drug charges at that? This is insane. How is this even allowed

    1. Given the road he’s going down being in jail could be a blessing and no sentence would be worse than what he’s doing to himself.

      1. Kevin cmon u and I both know the day he inevitably snorts one too many lines of coke or is finally WACKED once and for all will be a day of celebration. Don’t pretend like you’d feel any different

  2. It’s one of Kenosha’s worst held secrets that Cardinali is tied to the mob. All one has to do is dig. It’s darker than political favoritism. Gabrielle and him were chummy until he decided to support her opponent because she was black.

    This punk is like a cockroach. He just wont stay down.

  3. Im starting to think this kid has a little black book of dark secrets on the kenosha elite. Blackmail has to be the only way he keeps getting out of this shit. Kevin maybe you should team up with him LMAO

    1. Nah. He was a precocious kid why got in with the wrong people and wrong stuff and threw his life down the toilet. He shit on the very people who tried to help him. The kid s a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. He is, however, small potatoes and not worth the bandwidth here or elsewhere.

  4. BOOM Gravely slides out of doing his job again ! How much does this cost the county for continually pushing cases off on other county ?

  5. Look at who his “mentors” were. Stoner, berg, Barca, g ruffalo, Blake, Kreuser, eSposito, molinaro and the commie pastor just to name a few. All corrupt libs with collections of figurative (and probably literal) skeletons collected in thier closet

    Wake tf up Kenosha!!!

  6. Was the sentencing even public? Did he say anything? Show any shred of remorse or commitment to change? Kevin thoughts???

  7. What I cannot understand is how much shit has this scumbag talked about gravely and yet crooked mikey never fails to put his thumb on the scales of justice in favor of him. What scares me truly is I believe cardinelli being the narcissist he is feels 100% invincible and with puppets like gravely and gabriele in his back pocket who knows what he feels like he could pull and get away with

  8. Kevin you should do a poll to find out who the most corrupt (AND HATED) public figure person in Kenosha is. My nominees are this bum (cardinsmellie), mayor antbrainiam, barley breath beth, stankbrink jr (throw old man senior in there too frankly), bitch ass gravelly, and who else???? ??? farmer dandy Andy berg??? Fat Albert Anthony Kennedy?? Does the corpse of out of district/out of touch bobby wirch count still????

  9. Unbelievable, hopefully we’ll have a new State Attorney General soon and perhaps we can go even farther outside Kenosha County and get some justice within investigation into this.

  10. Walworth county D.A. Wiedenfeld is crooked lying piece of trash. Zeke makes up lies about people and tortures people with his long winded baseless accusations. Who knows what actually happened? As long as Zeke has been able to hold court via proxy and make up his own criminal complaints which are obviously not written by cops the maniacal fool remains a threat to democracy in Walworth county as well as the surrounding areas. Zeke and his criminal accomplices don’t belong in any position of authority.

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