The disgraced former Director of Public Works for the Village of Pleasant Prairie has sued the Village to prevent Kenosha County Eye from obtaining records of his alleged misconduct. John Steinbrink, Jr, the son of Village president, John Steinbrink Sr, filed suit on September 2, 2022 in Kenosha Circuit Court.
In the complaint, Steinbrink alleges that the Village shouldn’t release the records to KCE because he hasn’t been yet convicted of a crime. He is asking the court to order that the Village to be restrained, or prohibited, from disclosing records.
On July 27, 2022 KCE made a public records request to the Village of Pleasant Prairie for the Village’s investigation into allegations of misconduct by Jr. Junior has since been charged with seven felonies in reference to these allegations.
The Village came to the legal conclusion that the Village must release these records and sent Jr. a letter notifying him of such. State law gives Jr. the legal right to ask a judge to block our access to these records.
Junior states that the records are not public records because they were created as part of an inconclusive employment investigation and the investigation is still ongoing. The public records law allows the government to withhold records pertaining to open investigations only if they can show that it will hinder the ongoing investigation. Junior also says the records should not be released because he “has not been convicted of any related crimes.”
Since this author is the requester, the statute allows him to intervene and KCE has made a motion today to intervene.
We asked Steinbrink’s civil attorney, Ben Hitchcock Cross why his client is afraid of the Village releasing public documents and we didn’t hear back.