Documents obtained by Kenosha County Eye after we won a lawsuit suggest that the alleged corruption of John Steinbrink, Jr was almost universally known about for more than 20 years by village staff.
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.
Fatal Public Works Plow Truck Accident
On December 12, 2000 at about 9:12pm, a Pleasant Prairie man heard sirens approaching his home on a dead end road with a cul-de-sac. The man soon learned the reason for the sirens. There was a terrible accident that occurred just a few houses away at 7225 51st Ave. A 51-year-old Kenosha woman named Evonnee Wheeler had been run over by a Pleasant Prairie snow-plow that was driving in reverse. Sadly, Mrs. Wheeler passed away. The man that lived down the road offered his driveway to the village for a turn around point for the snow plows four or five years earlier. He thought it was dangerous for a plow to backup for two blocks. According to multiple village employees, on the evening of December 12, 2000, John Steinbrink, Jr, the highway superintendent at the time, ordered the plow to be worked on before the State Patrol inspected it the next morning. According to the supervisor, Steinbrink Jr ordered the plow to be “gone over.” He said the employees had the truck torn apart and a backup alarm and reverse lights were installed that night. The work on the truck would continue all night. According to the report, Steinbrink ordered the work to reduce liability to the Village upon inspection by the State Patrol. Multiple employees knew about this.
Several employees accused Steinbrink, Jr of having inappropriate relationships with at least two of his secretaries.
One whistleblower told police that Steinbrink Jr had a fraudulently-obtained engineering degree. He said that one public works employee took the practical test for Steinbrink, Jr, and another employee signed off on apprenticeship hours that Steinbrink, Jr didn’t actually complete. Two other employees also told police they heard about this.
All employees interviewed by police had significant knowledge of Steinbrink Jr’s alleged corruption. One whistleblower told KCE that while two village employees were helping Steinbrink, Jr install his in-the-ground pool on the village’s dime, Steinbrink, Sr visited his son on his golf cart and witnessed the village employees finishing concrete on duty, while village truck’s were hidden from the roadway. Whistle-blowers tell KCE that there is no chance that Steinbrink, Jr’s father, and Village President, John Steinbrink Sr didn’t know about this conduct.
Steinbrink, Jr is due back in court on March 1, 2023 for a status hearing.