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Scholze Out As Salem Lakes Village Attorney

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Former Village Attorney Rich Scholze
(File Photo by Kevin Mathewson, Kenosha County Eye)

KCE, after confirming with an insider at Salem Lakes Village hall, can confirm that Rich Scholze and his law office of Wanasek, Scholze, Ludwig, Ekes & Wishau, S.C. are out as the Villages legal counsel. Sources confirm that Village President Rita Bucur asked for his resignation, and she got it.

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Resignation Letter

Bucur, however, wouldn’t confirm or deny this immediately, when contacted by KCE. On an upcoming special agenda, there is an item labeled “Village Legal Services,” which prompted our inquest. Scholze had very little knowledge of municipal law – this author successfully sued the Village. I am a high school graduate and he is a lawyer, having four years of undergraduate college, three years of law school, and 34 years as a licensed attorney. I walked all over him in court and prevailed. He is either one of the worst attorneys in Wisconsin, or he knew his legal argument was disingenuous and deliberately misinterpreted the law to shield his friend Mike Murdock from embarrassment.

Scholze was embattled for the last several years, seemingly giving his friends and clients, the village board, bad legal advice that shielded them from accountability. Scholze often missed meetings as well. According to village insiders, he took a very long time to respond to emails and return phone calls.

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Scholze is also a Town of Burlington Municipal judge. It’s about the equivalent of being third string player for the Detroit Lions’ practice squad. He presides over parking tickets and other trivial matters. However minute, he commands more respect than other attorneys as a “judge.” In fact, one need not be a lawyer to be a municipal judge.

The new board was replaced earlier this year by a village that brought proverbial pitchforks to meeting after meeting. There were several mandates assumed onto the new board. One, to get rid of the embattled administrator, Mike Murdock, and the other, to get rid of the villages attorney. Both have happened in the first six months of the new board.

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Salem Lakes Village President Rita Bucur
(Facebook)

KCE spoke to three village residents and business owners who were pleased to hear of Scholze’s firing. “It’s very hard to get things done as a village board if you have an attorney who is still working for the old board and bureaucrats. His departure will open new opportunities for this new board to move forward,” said a Village politics insider and business owner.

“I’m very happy that this new board and village president are draining the swamp, so to speak. Murdock and Scholze stood in the way of so many great ideas and initiatives. I’m excited for what is coming,” said a Salem Lakes Tax-Payer.

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KCE reached out to Scholze and he didn’t respond to our request for comment.

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29 Responses

  1. Great news !!!!
    Good to see things happening here in Salem.
    Promises made ! Promises Kept !!
    Keep ‘em coming ! We Are All Watching !!!

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      1. The “Town of Salem” went hat in hand to the “Village of Silver Lake” to save over a million dollars to become a Village of their own. (Remember Silver Lake was having their own problems at that time ?) Salem wanted to be a Village for a long time but cringed at having to pay the big bucks to get there.
        The name change to “Salem Lakes” was a concession to Silver “Lake” residents as a thank you for giving up their autonomy.
        Though when Diann and her cronies finally became a Village they dropped the ball because they didn’t want to do the work they were now required to do that the county did before. Remember her punting the Silver Lake, Lake District authorization vote ??
        During Covid ? She didn’t want to do the work to move that District forward.
        Silver Lake is/was a part of Salem before they split off in the 1960s. Their community is totally surrounded by Salem. They just couldn’t hold it together and were on the verge of dissolving back into nothing more than another community in the county like Trevor and Wilmot.
        IMO We should Not have changed the name but it didn’t exactly go to a vote. Just a consensus of people who voiced an opinion at that time.
        Me ? Still just Salem and always will be.

  2. A good municipal attorney is supposed to work for the community, not a particular office holder. Good municipal attorneys often have friction with (and ulcers because of) local politicians who want to do things that good municipal attorneys advise against.

    Rick was a decent enough guy but not a heavyweight when it comes to municipal law (most of which he would not deal with as a municipal judge which, for all intents and purposes, is a soft version of a criminal court). The board needs to hire a replacement that’s a good municipal attorney, not a lackey.

    1. A good municipal attorney follows the laws ordinances, regardless of community or electeds. If u was an attorney to work for you, the community, then u must hire one. Scholze does not represent the taxpayer as u seem to think. He is to present the legal info and to attempt to direct the biard and clerk in legal directions. He cannot make these people do anything. The taxpayer controls the concept of who works for whom in the election booth. Seems some voted in the correct direction.

      1. The municipal attorney represents the municipality, not the politicians or the taxpayers. A competent attorney following the law and ethical standards will give the SAME advice. Many times politicians and special interests get upset because the city, village or town attorney has told them that the law says they can’t do what they want to do. They may not like it but that’s the law.

  3. The new board and village president need some lessons in transparency. Replacing the village attorney shouldn’t be a secret process.

    1. And if the board discussed this and then was taking action, it should have been stated immediately after that closed session as action to be taken. Tho this is Schulze action is good thing, they, the new board, uis not fulfilling the full closed session mechanics. She could not do this on her own, so it was a closed, secret in this case, session item and a majirity biard decision. The secret in this disappears with the post meeting statements.

    2. Transparency? Obviously, you don’t attend many meetings, because if you did you wouldn’t make such a comment. Mr. Scholze did this to himself, his attitude toward the new board has been nothing short of (I don’t want to be here). Why would you continue a relationship with an attorney whose main attribute is he doesn’t charge as much as other attorneys? How has that served the village? The old adage (you get what you pay for), IMO is true in this case. Time for the village to find a fresh console with new guidance for the village.
      I’m sure if you need transparency, show up to a meeting and ask in public comments, or better yet ask the President before or after the meeting.
      IMO this board has been beyond transparent, you just need to open your ears.

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      1. Transparency meant that while replacing the attorney was the right thing to do it should have been done out in the open. Yes, it would be legal for the discussion in a closed session but afterward the decision could and should have been announced.

        The new board gets eggs thrown at them for this one which makes them seem like the old board.

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      2. I dont want to be here should not be confused with Sholze’s DRIER than DRY presence. Also do not agree with the statement about his lack of knowledge of muni law. He can quote any of it at any time without papers. Still, it is time for new eyes. Leaving Salem Lakes will give him a few days off and wil not at all hit his pocketbook.

  4. A good municipal attorney follows the laws ordinances, regardless of community or electeds. If u was an attorney to work for you, the community, then u must hire one. Scholze does not represent the taxpayer as u seem to think. He is to present the legal info and to attempt to direct the biard and clerk in legal directions. He cannot make these people do anything. The taxpayer controls the concept of who works for whom in the election booth. Seems some voted in the correct direction.

    1. they got together a few like minded people, grouped nd talked and created a platform and then got some businesses to openly support them and then, the most important thing, filed papers (which happens about december/january) . Now is the time to do this. before the weather turns and int he background, get your media organized and plan of attack and schedule for doing doors and getting opinions of the common people out there on your behalf… Do it now becuase after election, meeting together a a group becomes problematic. Talking here and asking why you cant, doesnt make for change. you many not be the one to run but you certainly could be the manager and organizer… stop talking. act.

      1. Totally different situation in PP.

        It’s one thing to be greedy like they were in Salem and PP….it’s a totally nother’ thing to target businesses like they did in Salem.

        They both have shitty situations but the Salem one is definitely more urgent for taxpayers.

    2. Hard to compare with Pleasant Prairie here because PP does not have a specific village attorney. Instead the village has contracts with some pretty good law firms for general and specific legal work and with an experienced local attorney as the municipal prosecutor. Seldom is legal counsel present at a Pleasant Prairie village board meeting.

      Three of the law firms are known as top-notch. For the complex work it’s Quarles and Brady. A municipal law boutique firm handles the general legal work and an experienced local law firm (with Republican party connections) gets some business. Unlike other municipalities in the area Pleasant Prairie doesn’t have an attorney at every board meeting. I’ve not been terribly comfortable with that but I do acknowledge that even under Steinbrink sr. the village board meetings in Pleasant Prairie are well run and orderly which isn’t the case in much of western Kenosha county. I may not like all of what’s done but I have to give sr. credit because he does allow people to speak. There is a signup sheet but after all of those speakers have finished sr. will ask if there’s anyone else who wishes to be heard. He has other faults, to be sure.

  5. Have you all noticed that “West of the I” still hasnt commented on this news. And, took forever to make any statement regarding Murdock and Scholze until the action at the Hall was complete? Guessing that they are no longer a true news source and like keeping readers in the dark on real, pocketbook affecting news. Glad for KCE being available to us!

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  6. You said; “Scholze was embattled for the last several years, seemingly giving his friends and clients, the village board, bad legal advice that shielded them from accountability. ” If it shielded them and they were paying for his service how is that bad to them? I agree he may be a shyster, I don’t know, but all lawyers suck and protect their clients!

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