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Powerful County Committee Votes Down Casino Agreement, Signalling Trouble For County Executive

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Kenosha County Finance and Administration Committee
(File Photo by Kevin Mathewson, Kenosha County Eye)

In a bipartisan vote Thursday evening, the County’s Finance and Administration committee voted down an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) for the Kenosha Casino. Kenosha County Executive Samantha Kerkman was convinced by Mayor John Antaramian to negotiate the terms of the agreement in secret and ask the County Board to vote for the document within days of first seeing it.

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County Executive Kerkman was unable to answer basic questions about the agreement and at one point, left the room to make a phone call. She later returned, waving her hands to speak. Some of the committee members seemed to take exception to the lack of transparency and public input by Kerkman and voted it down. KCE asked Kerkman what the rush was and why she didn’t want the public to be privy of the details. She refused comment.

Kerkman seemed very upset and nervous after the vote failed and immediately left the committee room. Voting in favor were board members Dave Geersten, John Poole, and Erin Decker. Voting against were board members Terry Rose, Tim Stocker, John Franco, and Bill Grady.

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The County Board will be voting on final approval or denial of the IGA on Tuesday.

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  • 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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46 Responses

  1. It’s horrible that County Executive Kerkman, Supervisor’s Nudo, Decker and Geertsen have been working on this privately since the spring and are trying to ram this casino through without a full review by the County Board and all the committees as is done for the budget aor any other major project impacting the community. Kerkman could not answer many questions.

    Supervisor Thomas limited questions of fellow supervisors allegedly at the direction of Chairman Nudo at the Legislative Committee this week. This is unprecedented.

    This is not the same Casino location or plan as in the past. Many things have changed since the last proposal. Even if they dusted off the old plan, there are many Supervisors and Administrators that weren’t even on the board the last time. They need to know the deal and not follow Kerkman’s just trust me attitude. They need to fulfil their duties and there should be public hearings and presentations and ample time for public input.

    Urgency is a sales gimmick, and it puts the County at a disadvantage, something these stooges don’t understand. Full transparency, open discussions and a detailed review should be had before any vote to approve the IGA. Even if approved by the board, it will be years before the Federal Government Acts on this. There is no rush.

    State Representative Amanda Nedweski in the lock step follow the orders mode of her predecessor Kerkman VOTED TO MAKE IT ILLEGAL TO HAVE AN ADVISORY REFERENDUM.

    County Executive Kerkman is used to representing a gerrymandered district giving her the ability to ignore her constituents. She seems to be now governing as if this is the case and she can ignore the citizens of Kenosha County If she doesn’t change her tune, she can be recalled, unless of course Representative Nedweski is successful in the Legislature to make this illegal too.

    The County Executive and Board Leadership have demonstrated there weakness and disregard for you.

    The supervisors named above need to be voted out of office in April 2024 (candidates can declare and start circulating nomination papers December 1) based on their incompetence and disregard for the public.

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    1. You were pretty convincing until you got to “gerrymandered district”.

      You lost all credibility with that liberal/progressive/socialist BS talking point.

      1. You haven’t been paying attention if you think gerrymandering is a one sided issue. Just in the past year alone, NY Republicans were battling gerrymandering.

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  2. We need successful businesses to establish in Kenosha County and offer good paying, stable jobs.

    A casino only offers permanent loss of taxable property, a huge increase in crime and addictions and a tremendous strain on city and county resources. Turning over land from non-county residents…. letting them do whatever without rules or control… Will only cause chaos and low standards.

    If you want to go a casino, there are plenty within driving distance. We don’t need to drag such a problematic place into our county. It helps no one. They will bring in out of state workers, be a magnet for crime and problems and forever take away a chunk of Kenosha County (which can never be returned to us by law).

    Vote out anyone shoving the casino down our throats. They are only doing it for under the table deals for themselves.

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  3. Never was too fond of Kerkman even when she was a congresswoman. The other post was right when they said “her just trust me aditude”. I always held my nose and voted. She has always had her interest 1st and foremost. Time for her to get a job in the secular field, the free ride is over. And I’m sure that I don’t just speak for myself when I say, I don’t want her plopping scrambled eggs on my plate at the Dairy Breakfast anymore!

      1. Why can’t you give yourself a name? It can be ANY name. It’s just easier to respond properly to the right person. Why be “anonymous”? You can STILL be Anonymous with a made up name.

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  4. It doesn’t matter who is in office, clearly the Indians keep pushing and greasing. Go to Ill Noise with it, Kenosha doesn’t need the trouble. Look at the areas around existing casinos, are they booming? No. The reservations are still run down. The money gets pissed away, not invested in generational wealth. Casinos prey on the poor and working class and rob retirees of their savings. THE HOUSE ALWAYS WINS!

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      1. As dysfunctional as Illinois can be, at least they did it the correct way by passing legislation to legalize non-indian casinos. Until Wisconsin does the same thing, there should absolutely be no more of these phony Indian filter casinos

  5. A casino is a money making venture for its owners, almost entirely self-contained and maybe helpful if you own a convenience store down the street.

    The truth is likely to be that it’s not as bad as opponents think and nowhere near as good as its backers will tell you.

      1. I’m not sure if the & was meant as an 8 or if you accidentally hit the shift for 7, therefore I’m not sure of the time. Do you know the address of the administration building? When I googled the address for the administration building it showed 1010 56th Street as the address. I’ve never been to that building so I want to make certain I go to the right place. Thanks for your help.

  6. I was at the meeting Kerkman did not step out because she couldn’t answer basic questions. No one asked her any questions. She did step out to make a phone call to Rebecca Dutter — she stated that when she came back into the room. She called Dutter to ask her what she told Supervisor Stock. It’s clear Supervisor Stock was lying about his conversation with Dutter, and Kerkman wanted confirmation that what he was saying was untrue.

    It’s amazing how much Stock lies when he wants to justify his position.

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        1. Phone records are a form of freedom of information act. Any governmental employee who uses a cell phone for government business is susceptible to their phone being searched right, Kevin?

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    1. Sounds like Supervisor Decker. Makes shit up all the time just like this comment. Say anything and do any thing, the end justifies the means.

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      1. Stock was telling the truth. Here’s the deal people, the republican party under Erin Decker, bought and paid for the Supervisors, Stock, Karrow, Nordigien, Rodriguez , Geertsen, Poole, Nudo, Decker, Nedweski.
        I’ve also been told by one or two supervisors that they’ve been threatened that if they don’t vote with a County executive, they’ll be treated like Glenn, Fenske, and Frank Martinelli were.

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          1. It is my understanding that Glen Fenske was giving a buy out package to “retire” early by Kerkman, only the second by out package in Kenosha County history for early retirement and benefits. Talk to the County highway guys and they will tell you the truth. They were told that if they work and support Sam Kerkman in her bid/election for county executive, she would “find a way” to get rid of Glenn Fenske. Apparently Glenn wasn’t well liked by his coworkers. Frank Martenelli was another political target because of his political beliefs and the fact that he supported financially and publicly Sam Kerkman’s opponent. Kerkman used Decker to do her dirty work, which should not be a surprise since they are tied at the hip and good friends for over 20 years.
            Now the highway guys are pissed with Kerkman and Decker because they did not follow through on all the promises made to them in 2022.
            Employees at the COunty have been leaving in record numbers. Ask the IT dept. how many work stations they are setting up and taking down a month. I think you’d be surpised by the numbers. Kerkman was given the power by the County Board to fire any employee at any given time for no justification. Now everyone is seeing what others have known for quite sometime now – Sam Kerkman is a dumb bimbo who is only good when she is on her back. She is on track to causing great damage to Kenosha County.

            1. Preach Waldo!
              I couldn’t agree more. Kerkman cheated on her husband multiple times. Not a good role model at all.

        1. Nudo took the most money. Gabe while having over $15,000 in his campaign account was given $1,000 from the Kenosha GOP. This was at a time when the Kenosha GOP was almost broke after spending over $25,000 on Erin Deckers legal bills for defamation.

          1. I’m sure the reason he is rushing this casino is because he and Kerkman are on the take. Just like Allen Kehl.
            Dirty politics all the way around, and Republicans no less!!

  7. Is it fair to say that coverage of this issue by Kenosha County Eye sort of threw a wrench into what was probably considered a “done deal”?

    Thank you Kevin Mathewson for reporting on the shady side of Kenosha County politics.

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    1. What about the vocal Supervisors trying to stop this? This isn’t Kevin’s doing. Support and give kudos to those doing the heavy lifting. They are standing up to corruption. They are being threatened. They are being told they need to get in line or things out of Nudo and Kerkman’s control are going to happen to them. Typical corrupt politicians.
      Kenosha County in the past year and a half has become a cesspool of corruption – Nudo, Decker and Kerkman are up to their eyeballs in it. Believe me. .

  8. The casino plan years ago was to get in front of the “possibility” that Illinois would allow a casino in or near Waukegan. Keeping Kenosha gambling money here in Wisconsin.
    Well that ship has sailed !!

    There is not a substantial benefit to “another” casino in or close to our area. ( Isn’t 30 minutes to Milwaukee close enough? ) If you want to gamble just be glad you are only an hour or two away in most any direction versus having to get on a plane and flying to Vegas.
    If gambling was/is such a great idea then laws should be passed that you don’t have to be Indian to open one.
    Try to pass that law. Not !

  9. One of the better days for the Kenosha Democrat Party. They just gained more Elected Officials with the “D” suffix.

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  10. Looks like John Antaramian tried to put one last feather in his political hat. I’m glad it’s on hold .

      1. Believe me that the tribe needs Kenosha County to be on board because a No vote does not bode well for them. Just a scare tactic for a gullible County Executive and weak County Board. Take your time and get it right.

        The City will look silly in the end if there are major issues that come up during the County Board deliberations.

        Take your time and get it right.

        1. What does “doesn’t bode well for them” even mean to them? They’ll look silly? The City leadership doesn’t give a shit.

          1. The BIA does want local approval and that includes the County. Without the County on board the tribes application is not as strong and that is what ‘does not bode well for them’ means (synonym: it looks like the situation will not turn out favorable, based on the evidence).

    1. It’s not on hold. The cities voting for it on Monday and it will pass. The county votes on Tuesday.

  11. The mayor told her to negotiate this in secret, then vote? The godfather has made her directions (-an offer) she could not refuse!

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