Another day, another successful public records lawsuit from Kenosha County Eye.
The disgraced former Village of Pleasant Prairie public works director John Steinbrink, Jr was charged with seven felonies related to corruption, enough to put him behind bars for decades. In the six-page criminal complaint filed last year he was formally charged with one count of theft – false representation between $10,000 and $100,000 and six counts of felony misconduct in public office – excess authority. The former carries a maximum prison sentence of 10 years, and the latter, 3.5 years each.
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 Steinbrink. 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.
John Steinbrink Jr, filed suit on September 2, 2022 in Kenosha Circuit Court. Junior stated that the records are not public 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.”
KCE Editor, Kevin Mathewson motioned the court to intervene in the matter and become a party. The motion was approved. The matter was heard by the Honorable Bruce Schroeder in November.
Today, Schroeder signed an order, dismissing Steinbrink Jr’s suit. The Village of Pleasant Prairie has 20 days to provide us with the records that Jr tried so hard and spent a lot of money to hide. Of course, we will share them with you next month.