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Salem Lakes Trustee Faces Scrutiny For Allegedly Using Village Property At Home

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Salem Lakes Trustee Mike Culat
(Photo by Kevin Mathewson, Kenosha County Eye)

KCE has received countless tips about bad behavior by employees and elected officials in Salem Lakes. Most of these have panned out. This has led board members to assert that KCE is somehow working for and being paid by one or more candidates. This is categorically false. I have briefly met some of the challenging candidates, but nothing more than a short conversation.

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Michael Culat is a trustee for the Village of Salem Lakes and a local Realtor out of Antioch, IL. He previously worked as a police officer for the City of Antioch, IL, being hired in 1985 and allegedly leaving under suspicious circumstances in 1991. According to a police report written by his then-Lieutenant, he seemingly left the department so suddenly, that he had to be hounded by the police department to get their police equipment back from Culat.

Skid Steer
(Stock Photo)

KCE received multiple complaints about Culat’s behavior. First, we were told that there was a Village of Salem Lakes skid steer in his backyard for several months. He was alleged to be using the village-owned machine for his own personal use. We emailed him several times to ask him why the skid steer was in his rural back yard. He never responded. What do we do when government officials aren’t transparent? We asked him in public after a meeting while recording. He admitted to having the skid steer at his house but said he didn’t know who dropped it off or who picked it up. He said he never touched the skid steer and his fingerprints aren’t on it. He started to say that he didn’t see it, but then corrected himself, saying he did see it. He told us he didn’t use it, but wouldn’t say why it was there. We captured this interaction on camera:

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Since we took this video and published it, someone brought it to the attention to the Kenosha Sheriff’s Department. They handed the investigation off to the Walworth County Sheriff since they have a conflict of interest. Captain Shannan Illingworth of the Walworth County Sheriff’s Office did confirm that she assigned detectives to investigate, but she said the investigation is in its early stages.

11230 260th Ave
(Google Images)

Another allegation brought the the attention to KCE was a real estate deal in the Village. Mike Culat had listed a property in the Village at 11230 260th Ave. He sold the property on September 9, 2020 and made approximately $3,360 in commission. A little more than three months later, on December 14, 2020, Culat made a motion to approve a conditional use permit for the new owners to allow tattooing, piercing, and outdoor entertainment in addition to the tavern. The vote was unanimous. We asked the new owner about the deal. He hung up on us after his wife was heard yelling in the background, “Is that Mathewson? Hang up!” We asked Culat via email why he didn’t abstain from the vote. He didn’t respond. Again, we asked him after a meeting. After asking repeatedly, he told us that he and “his lawyer” thought it wasn’t a conflict of interest. He then threatened to sue me for defamation if I wrote this article. Here is that bizarre confrontation: **I was not polite to Mr. Culat**

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Salem Lakes Sex Offender Re-Offends

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On March 19, 2018, the Salem Lakes Village Board voted unanimously to allow a sex offender, Daniel Olszewski to live near a park. The Salem Lakes board members at the time were Diann Tesar, Mike Culat, Dan Campion, Ted Kmiec and Bill Hopkins.

Salem Lakes Trustees (Top) Mike Culat, Bill Hopkins, and Daniel Campion
(Bottom) Ted Kmiec, and Diann Tesar
(Photo by Kevin Mathewson, Kenosha County Eye)
Daniel F. Olszewski (41) of Salem Lakes In Court 12/7/2022
(Photo by Kevin Mathewson, Kenosha County Eye)

What is the worst that can happen if you vote to let a sex offender live near a park? He re-offends.

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According to the criminal complaint:

On September 23, 2022, a Kenosha Sheriff’s Detective received a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. It had indicated that someone had uploaded images of child pornography in June of 2022. Detectives obtained a search warrant for the IP address and it came back to Olszewski’s home in Salem Lakes. The Wisconsin Attorney General’s Office, Department of Criminal Investigations joined the investigation. Investigators opined that Olszewski liked to look at underage girls that were of the same age and appearance of his young daughter. GPS and other data confirmed that the images were downloaded and shared by the defendant with email and Snap Chat.

The photos are described in the criminal complaint but KCE will not be providing further details. We stopped reading.

While the defendant’s home was being searched incident to a search warrant, police found a used marijuana bong and 20 improvised explosive devices in his bedroom.

Olszewski also is charged with violating his sex offender registration rules by not reporting his access to internet and email.

Olszewski faces a maximum of 406 years in the Wisconsin State Prison System.

We emailed all board members and only Tesar responded saying:

“This sex offender was granted leniency for two reasons. At the time, in Salem, a sex offender could not be within 2000 feet from a school, church, or playground. Mr. Olszewski was very close to that distance within 17 feet. (He was 1,983 feet away) At that time, because of legality, we were seriously contemplating to lower that requirement to 1500 feet. That is why the board allowed him to live there. Secondly, it was noted that he only wanted to live there temporarily with his mother. This is why he was granted permission. “

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25 Responses

  1. It is stunning just how many roaches infest the local governments of Kenosha County. We are seeing all of them now because the KCE has turned on the lights. We are better off for this. I hope it continues.

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  2. Elected officials should expect to be scrutinized (even though they haven’t been as much as they should be) and they should conduct themselves in ways that easily withstand scrutiny. It is something to see the entitled attitudes, shady replies, and upset reactions of some of these elected officials toward something that used to be normal: being approached and questioned by a journalist.

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  3. This is what happens when electors keep electing the same incumbents over and over.
    The incumbents start to think they own the village. If this story is investigated true, their needs to be consequences. This village seems to be on fire with bad choices, let’s hope a new board, can right this village.

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    1. Or could it be replacing one set of problems with another? Always leery when politicians run as a bloc. Has anyone vetted them?

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      1. All current or future candidates should be vetted. It appears all candidates are life long residents or at least several decades. Hard to believe an insider is not known, or have skeletons in their closet. From what we are reading there are a lot of questions, however currently not on the candidates trying to unseat the current board. From what I’m seeing, change is clearly warranted. This happens all the time, the board goes on auto pilot and chaos follows. It looks like the incumbents have been there collectively 70-80 year’s, not a good formula for motivation or and initiative. Fresh minds and ambition always follows new board members, how the hell can that be bad? All communities should have term limits, it protects taxpayers from bad formulas.

  4. Maybe Culat learned a few things from Steinbrink Jr about using Village equipment for personal use? I think the Salem board should let every single taxpayer in Salem Lakes be able to use the Village skid steer and other equipment. Perhaps this behavior of “I am on the board and I can use Village equipment whenever I want “ would stop. Hold Village officials accountable. This is bill shit behavior.

  5. Regarding the story about alleged sex offender Daniel F. Olszewski:
    There is no cure for pedophiles and rapists. Westley Allan Dodd, a prolific Washington state child molester and murderer who was executed by hanging in 1993, said as his last words before his execution: “I must be executed before I have an opportunity to escape or kill someone else. If I do escape, I promise you I will kill and rape again, and I will enjoy every minute of it. I was once asked by somebody, I don’t remember who, if there was any way sex offenders could be stopped. I said, ‘No.’ I was wrong.” Mr. Dodd was correct. I do not believe in capital punishment, but keeping these vermin locked up for actual life in a supermax-type prison would work just as well.

    1. To say the least. Convenient to be given an administrator job with zero degree and experience. Wait. Being great friends with half the board and the presidents husband may have something to do with it. Small town bs at its finest.

  6. What seems shocking to me, their is no push back on these stories about this Village.
    Why wouldn’t the subjects of these stories contact the editor? Real journalism is not convenient. I’ve read these stories and have had a different thought pattern change based on additional information. I thought the original story about this villages over reach was spot on with facts. The second story about the attorneys mistress was thought to be a little questionable story but changed with the second and now third regarding the attorney. I view these stories as bad timing for a individual running for office but how could they be orchestrated with a investigation. What I see as the big problem, no denial through a interview, why. Why would a public servant need a attorney to answer the truth. I’m pretty sure the editor doesn’t control investigations or arrest, so why the negative comments on real fact journalism. I find very few things in these stories that aren’t fact finding. The folks that care and love these people may find it offensive to report these facts but on the flipside, push back through a interview and clear up the unclear information.
    These articles remind me of Pam Zekmen and John Drummond reporting for CBS Chicago.
    These stories are about what is the truth? A interview would clear up a lot of these unknowns.
    Seem smart to get in front of these facts and counter if there nothing there. Let’s hope these voters in Salem Lakes Village get a chance to hear the other side, if they don’t it will look suspicious against the Village. The truth is always righteous.

    1. The stories may not be entirely true and you don’t run a smear campaign without the facts. The real stories are the depth of the drug problem in our county and the shady behavior of village board members and administrator.

      Bottom line: the smear against Kmiec is nothing compared to the others who screw the taxpayers.

  7. As an employee, the corruption was bad at all levels. Never have I seen so much at one place and so open. I have watched employees leave work on work hours for Xmas parties and get drunk and get paid for it while the admin and superintendent took care of the time cards. I have witnessed scrap money getting used for free meals for employees. I have witnessed certain employees just writing in their times on a time card. Watched employees go shopping for personal items on company times. Deal with smoking in most of the village buildings and village vehicles and equipment. The superintendent drives home for lunch with a village vehicle that is used for everyday commutes to and from work. He lives in kenosha. Secretary cooking and baking weekly instead of doing her job. Village employee arrested for DUI and never losing his job even though he couldn’t perform the work. Administrator parking his personal vehicles in village buildings. Promotions for only certain people that cater to the corrupt administrator. Good employees leaving over harassment from administrator. The superintendent showing up hung over. And remember he drives a village vehicle home. The same unmarked truck that you will find at woodmans and other establishments during work hours and after work hours. There is more too.

    1. I have also witnessed employees getting paid to work pumpkin days and drinking the entire time. Including Murdock. The employees were using village trucks during this as well.
      I have witnessed only one guy allowed to take scrap wire in from the treatment plant renovation and it was taken to IL for some reason. I have seen where the money of the renovation went. New flat screens in every room. Including offices. A new kitchen with new appliances set up like for a house. A personal bathroom for only the director of public works and his secretary. Security cameras in every hallway and room except the directors office. They want transparency for all staff except themselves. They micro manage their employees down to the minute while abuse of power is shown on a daily basis.

      1. Technology in today’s world is smart thinking and who gives a shit about the bathroom? The rest of the story is what you worry about.

  8. Pretty sure that loader showed up while I was in the shower. No, wait, pretty sure it was there when I bought the house ?

  9. Witnesses should submit info to Kevin rather than innuendo. If it isn’t verified and documented, it is hearsay and worthless. Worthless as a comment too!

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