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Kenosha County Eye

Salem Lakes Village President Calls Special Board Meeting Monday To Discuss Settlement With KCE Records Lawsuit

Salem Lakes Village President Diane Tesar
(Photo by Kevin Mathewson, Kenosha County Eye)

Salem Lakes Village President Diane Tesar called a special meeting for Monday, March 27, 2023 to discuss a possible settlement with KCE. They will meet in secret and behind closed doors. KCE has learned that the Fire Chief, James Lejcar is universally disliked by his firefighters, paramedics and EMT’s. KCE was told that the department is losing staff rapidly and they are short on firefighters. We made a public records request for recent letters of resignation. It was denied by Village attorney Richard Scholze. It is our theory that Scholze knew that the number of resignations would make Salem Lakes voters lose confidence in the the four elected board members who are likely to be voted out on April 4. Of course, we sued.

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Salem Lakes Village Administrator Mike Murdock
(Photo by Kevin Mathewson, Kenosha County Eye)

We got the chance to depose Village President Diann Tesar, Village Administrator Mike Murdock, and Former Village Clerk Shannon Hahn. We learned a lot on Wednesday. Village Administrator Mike Murdock ,who makes more than $140,000 annually, told us that he was a Battalion Chief for the department (second in charge) until just a couple of months ago. He resigned at about the same time that KCE started sniffing around the village.

Clerk Shannon Hahn, who had previously given KCE a letter of resignation for an employee of the Village testified that she was working on giving us the letters from the fire department, until Village attorney Rich Scholze told her not to. He then used her email account to tell us the request was denied.

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Salem Lakes Fire Chief James Lejcar
(Photos by Kevin Mathewson, Kenosha County Eye)

Tesar, under oath, told us that she had never received a complaint about the Fire Chief’s performance – that is, until we confronted her with evidence. She then changed her sworn testimony. She seemed defeated. “I acted too late. I acted too late,” she said. When asked about how many firefighters left recently, she told us about 20. This is a number consistent with what our sources have told us.

Salem Lakes Village Attorney Richard Scholze
(Photo by Kevin Mathewson, Kenosha County Eye)

Richard Scholze, who is a municipal judge in the town of Burlington, dealing with non-serious matters, like parking tickets, cited Wis. Stat. 19.36(10) as the reason why he ordered the Village not to turn over these records. Anyone with a slight knowledge of the public records law, knows that this is an outrageous defense and it will never hold up in court.

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Immediately after we filed the lawsuit, we offered to settle the case. Apparently, Scholze never brought our settlement offer to the board who never called a special board meeting. Under State law, if the Village declines an offer of settlement, and we win even $1 more than our offer, we will be awarded double fees. Right now our fees are at $644.50 ($184.50 filing fee, $210 service of process, and $250 deposition fee for court reporter.) If we win, we will also be rewarded statutory damages of $100. Our offer was for $1 less than what we will win in court. If the Village, tomorrow, denies our settlement offer, we will be awarded double fees and collect $1,489 from the Village of Salem Lakes taxpayers and get the records. As promised, we will donate the difference between our costs, and what we win back to the Salem Lakes community.

Tomorrow, the board is expected to dig in its heals and deny our offer settlement, most likely based on Scholtze’s bad legal advice. KCE also asked for punitive damages because we believe Scholze knows better or should know better.

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Salem Lakes Fire Chief James Lejcar and Fire Inspector Steve Ptaszynski
(Photos by Kevin Mathewson, Kenosha County Eye)

Also tomorrow, is a special Fire Commission meeting to take up a complaint against the Fire Chief and Fire Inspector. The duo has allegedly been unlawfully tough on business and trying to shut many of them down. The complaint was made by Trustee Ron Gandt, who the business owners tout as being their “only ally.”


  • Kevin Mathewson

    Kevin Mathewson is a disciple of Christ, husband and a father to two wonderful children. Mathewson was born and raised in Lake County, IL and worked as a police & fire dispatcher from 2005 to 2010 in Round Lake Beach, IL. Mathewson moved to Kenosha County in 2006, later being elected to the position of Alderman of the 8th District in 2012 and 2016. Mathewson is a private investigator, security contractor, journalist, and photographer. He enjoys spending time with his family, watching movies, camping and boating. His favorite amendment is the second, followed closely by the first. He loves his country and community.


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13 Responses

  1. If there was no KenoshaCountyEye there would be no one pulling back the curtain on the sneaky cheating ‘public servants’.
    The more some of these petty dictators scream the more it seems they are hiding thing.
    Thank you Kevin Mathewson!

  2. The attorney used the clerk’s email? No, nothing shady going on here. Thank you Kevin, keep getting the truth out there.

  3. Just looking at these two parasites, make me not even want to trust them as they look shady and so unprofessional slouching down in their chairs during a meeting.

    How do they think by shutting down all the businesses, is going to help the Village? Are they that ignorant to realize that these business are adding revenue to the very town that pays their salaries? You can’t fix stupid!!!

  4. I don’t know Public Records laws and obviously you know A LOT, but could you explain what the section 19.36(10) means? I read it but really don’t understand the true meaning behind it.
    I’d like to get some public records from Pleasant Prairie and have been told I can’t because of some law he quoted( dont remember the one off hand), so I didn’t try, but maybe I should have and then sued them if they didn’t give them to me. You need to do a class on all this stuff so we can learn how you hold these officials accountable and how we can all do the same! Thanks for all you do!

    1. Wisconsin Statute 19.36(10) is a law in the state of Wisconsin that deals with public records. Specifically, it says that certain personal information about an individual can be kept confidential in public records if it would be likely to have a substantial adverse effect on that person’s safety or well-being.

      So, for example, if someone requested to see public records that contained your home address or phone number, this law would allow that information to be kept confidential if there was a good reason to believe that disclosing that information could put you in danger or harm your well-being.

      Overall, the law is meant to balance the public’s right to access information with an individual’s right to privacy and safety.

  5. I happened to be at the village hall tonight for sweating in off 6 new firefighters.

    We caught the tail end of the regular board meeting, just sheet they came out of executive session.

    They proceeded to vote on “Kevin Mathewson’s ‘personal injury’ ” claim. Weird huh?

    The motion was made by someone on there phone. Just wondering, do the village’s resolutions allow for electronic attendance? Prior to Covid, I’m aware of several boards that changed their rules to allow for it. After Covid, I imagine it’s SOP, but just wondering

    1. Trustee Campion has appeared via zoom at all but one meeting I have attended. That’s who was on the phone. Personally I think trustees should be present for meetings except in rare instances. This every meeting via zoom should not have been allowed imo. It’s a moot point now as Campion is not going to be reelected, thank goodness.

    2. Trustee Campion has appeared via zoom at all but one meeting I have attended. That’s who was on the phone. Personally I think trustees should be present for meetings except in rare instances. This every meeting via zoom should not have been allowed imo. It’s a moot point now as Campion is not going to be reelected, thank goodness.

  6. Wait a minute. I agree that public records are public records and shouldn’t be withheld except under very limited situations allowed by law. With that out of the way, I’ll play devil’s advocate about the implication that the fire department is “too hard” on business.

    Maybe they are. Maybe they should be. Maybe they shouldn’t. But I sure as Hell don’t want to see corruption by allowing code violations to be swept under the rug endangering public safety. It’s happened far too often and is a common form of local corruption.

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