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Eight Judges, Two Court Houses, Two Appeals, And Five Years Later, A Former Racine Alderman To Get Public Records

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Former Racine Alderman Sandy Weidner and her Attorney Mark Hinkston on Tuesday 9/20/2022
(Photo by Kevin Mathewson, Kenosha County Eye)

After a five-year battle to obtain public records from the City of Racine, a former Racine Alderman is about to have them. It was a long, expensive Journey.

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On August 22, 2017, longtime Alderman Sandy Weidner was in a closed session with other members of the Racine City Council. It is a legal way to handle government business in secret. It is only allowed under very few circumstances. In this meeting, there were emails and other documents shown to the council committee. After the meeting, Weidner asked City Attorney Scott Letteney to give her some of the documents. For more than three months, she was ignored. She filed a lawsuit to ask a judge to order the release of the documents. A couple days after, Letteney provided the documents to all Aldermen. Weidner decided that she wanted to ask a judge for more documents than she previously asked for. Under Wisconsin statute §802.09(1), a lawsuit can be amended once within 90 days without permission from the Judge. She filed an amended complaint.

Judge Eugene Gasiorkiewicz (Old Photo)
Courtesy Ballatopia.com

Racine Judge Eugene Gasiorkiewicz, who is considered by most attorneys we spoke to, to be most unprofessional, rude, impatient, grouchy and terrible judge in the County, dismissed the complaint, knowing that he was violating the law. He also ordered the case to be sealed and kept most court activity secret and out of the public and media’s view. If you have a minute please read this motion from an attorney named Chris Carson who told KCE the following of Judge Eugene Gasiorkiewicz:

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“I am bound to express my concern, which I can say is shared by the entire Racine County Bar, of the increasingly erratic behaviors Judge Gasorkiewicz is displaying.”

Weidner appealed Gasiorkiewicz’s unlawful dismissal of the lawsuit. Appellate court Judges Reilly, Gundrum and Brash said:

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“We agree with Weidner that the circuit court Judge (Gasiorkiewicz) erred in refusing to accept her amended petition for mandamus.”

The appellate court reversed Gasiorkiewicz’s decision. Weidner then asked for a new judge. The other Racine Judges recused themselves so it came to Kenosha to Judge Chad Kerkman.

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Judge Chad Kerkman (Green Trunks, Black Trunks) and Kenosha Prosecutor T. Clair Binger

Kerkman is the Kenosha equivalent to Gasiorkiewicz. He is the most unprofessional, rude, impatient, grouchy and terrible judge in the County. He fines litigants without attorneys for minor procedural mistakes and lectures folks all day long. Lawyers have to walk on eggshells. He is the judge that is bro’s with T. Clair Binger, the failed Rittenhouse Prosecutor. Here is one minor example of his short temper:

Judge Kerkman dismissed the case and ruled that Weidner couldn’t have the public records. As he does often, he got angry during the hearing and didn’t let Weidner’s attorney finish sentences and adjourned the hearing. Weidner went back to the court of appeals. The Wisconsin Court of Appeals reversed Kerkman’s decision as they often do. (Kerkman was told to hold a new trial for convicted murderer Mark Jensen. Instead of having a new trial, Kerkman found Jensen guilty without a trial. He knew this was illegal, but didn’t care. He was overruled by a higher court with more integrity.) Returning to the Weidner case, Appellate Court Judges Gundrum, Grogan, and Kornblum told Kerkman he made a mistake and ruled that Weidner will be given the public documents. Victory is within Weidner’s grasp.

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Kenosha Circuit Court Judge David Wilk
(Photo by Kevin Mathewson, Kenosha County Eye)

Weidner asked for a new judge and was assigned Judge David Wilk, an even tempered, fair judge, according to many Kenosha lawyers. Weidner was in court today and the law firm out of Milwaukee representing the City of Racine appeared by phone. The City of Racine has paid this firm more than $200,000 and counting, according to the Journal Times. What’s left to decide? The most important point that Judge Wilk will have to decide is how much money the City of Racine will have to hand over to Weidner. The statute allows for “reasonable attorneys fees” when one wins a public records case. The two lawyers will probably not agree and the Judge will have to decide what a reasonable amount is for a five-year battle. Ultimately, the Racine taxpayers will have to pay for the decisions of the Racine City Attorney Scott Letteney and Mayor Cory Mason’s attempt to cover up alleged misconduct.

Harry Wait and Patrick Fagan (Weidner Supporters)
(Photo by Kevin Mathewson, Kenosha County Eye)

In court today were many supporters of Weidner including Racine’s Honest, Open, and Transparent Government (H.O.T.) President Harry Wait, activists Jim Spodick, Patrick Fagan and Jim McClain.

Jim Spodick, Former Racine Alderman Sandy Weidner and her Attorney Mark Hinkston on Tuesday 9/20/2022
(Photo by Kevin Mathewson, Kenosha County Eye)
Sandy Weidner Greeting by Supporter Outside the Courthouse Tuesday
(Photo by Kevin Mathewson, Kenosha County Eye)
Sandy Weidner Greeting by Supporter Outside the Courthouse Tuesday
(Photo by Kevin Mathewson, Kenosha County Eye)

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28 Responses

  1. Curious why did site seemingly encouraged people to vote for Kerkman’s wife when it appears both her and her husband are both fucking horrible at their jobs?

  2. Kevin Mathewson…..Thank you for covering this story!
    The Dems running Racine use the same play book as those running Kenosha which means there us very little transparency in government.

  3. Another Twin Lakes gem that Kerkman is. Were he and Spike on the same ball team? I have noticed he and Andy are very chummy too. Brothers! I think that’s drag queen story hour code… Or bath house IDK>

  4. The FBI and DOJ were aware of extreme criminal corruption involving officials in Racine linked with very powerful corporations, foundations and secret societies in collusion with media, but instead of arresting and prosecuting them, the witnesses to the crimes were targeted, threatened and attacked. Racine and Kenosha are prime examples of why America has fallen into an evil and corrupt empire at all levels.

  5. Sandy Weidner ‘s case is the reason why HOT Government was formed.
    We combined resources from a few public watchdog groups into a single collective and created H.O.T.

    Sandy’s case showcased the corruption within our courts of prejudice, bias and criminal acts committed by court officials.

  6. Thank You Kevin for a more detailed glimpse inside the Public Circus at the Kenosha County Court House. One can only hope there is a supply of Puke Pails for those who actually await and expect the disbursement of true justice.

  7. No doubt the Journal Times will have to clear coverage of Ms. Weidner’s victory with City Hall. Mayor Mason should do the taxpayers a favor and resign.

    1. Unless I’m missing coverage I see nothing in the Journal Times regarding Weidner’s win over open records. This is a really big story and it must be politically damaging for Democrats.

  8. Congratulation Sandy Weidner for taking on the Arrogance of Racine’s Leadership…Time to Replace some So-called leaders…Wake UP Racine…You Snooze…You lose

  9. I continue to pray for Racine which was once a shinning jewell of southeast Wisconsin. Unfortunately with good people like Sam Johnson gone, there is no Godfather left to keep all of the radicalized left wing shit balls in check. Cory Mason, who should be nicknamed “fat bastard” from Austin powers has only moved the community backward. What a sin that beautiful Racine , that had the best public school system, an excellent local government , and title of Manufacturing City USA in the 50’s and 60;s has degenerated in a a racially divided shit hole. This is what happens when you allow these liberal, psychotic, marxists to get a toehold in your community.

  10. I am semi-retired, after practicing law for 44 years. I have had many cases before Judge Kerkman and have always found him to be scholarly, even-tempered and professional. He treats everyone with respect. One thing he does not do is suffer fools silently. If you interrupt him, are rude or are unprepared you may hear about it. And you should. We need jurists like Judge Kerkman. He is courageous! Signed, Sally Yule Mengo

    1. Apparently, you did not read the article about Judge Kerkman dismissed the case which resulted in circuit court overruling him and he did not follow law on public records.

  11. This is only the groundwork for the real issue at hand. The materials now received by Weidner were used as a cover story for a smear campaign against Weidner during Racine’s hotly contested 2017 mayoral race. Weidner was actually appeared ahead of Mason late in the campaign, before she was publicly targeted by the City Attorney for an “ethical violation,” allegedly based on the materials that she has until just now been unable to disclose to the public. What now remains is for the voting public to see those materials, and realize that the alleged “ethics violation” was not justified by them but was instead an underhanded dirty trick to damage public confidence in Weidner, who very likely could have been elected mayor. Meanwhile, the cost of all this nonsense to the taxpayers of Racine is going to be approximately a quarter million dollars, possibly more. Thanks for fighting this fight Sandy. I look forward to the knockout punch.

  12. Sure miss the witty banter from George, Jim, and Ken!
    Somewhere up above I’m sure George Meyers smiled over the Weidner win.

    Since the Journal Times seems to be ignoring the decision over Ms. Weidner’s, and HOT Government’s quest for transparency, a big thank you to Kenosha County Eye for providing space for discussion.

  13. this is what happens when someone with power is incompetent. When it comes to power-the ability to do something or act in a particular way, especially as a faculty or quality.
    Incompetent-not having or showing the necessary skills to do something successfully. Unfortunately, there are a lot of politicians and people with authority that greed and power come before right and wrong.

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