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Salem Lakes Public Works Superintendent Resigns Suddenly, Just Days After Deposition

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Paul Snellen (50) – Former Village of Salem Lakes Public Works Superintendent
(Still Photo from 2/2/2024 Deposition)

The Salem Lakes Public Works Superintendent has resigned from the Village of Salem Lakes, just days after giving damning sworn testimony about his behavior while employed for the Village. Paul Snellen, 50, of Illinois, resigned suddenly last week without giving any advanced notice.

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KCE was informed by the source familiar with Village operations, that Snellen’s job was in serious jeopardy after the Village was made aware of serious accusations of misconduct spanning several years. Snellen gave testimony on February 2, 2024 in the matter of the defamation lawsuit of Michael Culat, the ousted former trustee, against Kenosha County Eye.

Snellen hired the same law firm to represent himself at his deposition that Culat hired to sue us – 138 miles away. Ousted Village Administrator Mike Murdock was also deposed recently and believe it or not, also hired the same law firm to represent him at his deposition. KCE brought this apparent conflict to the attention of the court, but the court refused to take action.

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Paul Snellen (50) – Former Village of Salem Lakes Public Works Superintendent
(File Photo by Kevin Mathewson, Kenosha County Eye)

Scrap For Cash

Snellen admitted under oath that many times, he brought scrap metal that belonged to the village, to the recycling plant. He said many times he would get cash, and use that cash to buy meals for Village employees. The cash should have have gone to the Village treasurer where it could be used to benefit the taxpayers instead. KCE was unable to get an answer from Snellen as to the total. dollar amount. Paul Snellen also implicated others in the scrap-for-cash debacle, but KCE has not confirmed Snellen’s allegations.

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Storage-Gate

Snellen admitted under oath, that he ordered Village staff to remove traffic barrels from a Village storage unit. he later testified that he placed many of his belongings into the unit after a break-up. He admitted to the personal benefit from this arrangement.

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Kentucky Credit Card Purchase

KCE received a tip that Snellen used his Village credit card while in Kentucky. KCE later confirmed this to be true be reviewing credit card statements after submitting public records requests and seeing a large purchase at an Auto Zone in Kentucky on 3/29/2023 – $144.86. KCE asked Snellen about the purchase and Snellen admitted to making the purchase. Snellen said he used it to buy spark plugs for his Village truck. He wasn’t able to say under oath why he couldn’t have purchased the spark plugs in Wisconsin. KCE also learned that Snellen used his village credit card to use “touchtunes” on a Saturday for $15. According to its website: “With TouchTunes, you can play the right song at the right time at over 65,000 bars and restaurants.”

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Zero Turn Mower Madness

KCE was tipped off that Snellen used a Village-owned zero-turn mower at his own property for the entire summer of 2022. Snellen confirmed that he did in fact use the Village’s zero-turn mower at his property. He admitted that this was a personal financial benefit.

Lying To Subordinates About Location Of Equipment

Finally, Snellen testified under oath that he lied to a subordinate about the location of the Village’s expensive skid steer when asked. Apparently the employee needed the piece of equipment for tax-payer purposes, but Snellen lied to him and said he didn’t know where it was. Snellen admitted to this lie under oath and said he in fact knew where it was – it was at the former politician, Mike Culat’s house.

Unbelievably to KCE and our co-defendant, Snellen’s attorney allowed him to answer all of our questions. It looked to us that the law firm was more interested in advancing Culat’s case, than defending Snellen’s personal interests. KCE asked Snellen’s attorney for comment about his resignation in lieu of termination and he told us “No comment. Full stop.”

Below is an excerpt from Snellen’s deposition.

Snellen Depo Excerpts

Author

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88 Responses

  1. This all took place under the watchful eye of Gandt Hopkins and Faber. Why didn’t they do anything about this. They are not fit to be trustees.

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    1. There is no primary for supervisor

      So there’s still time to launch a write in campaign.

      Anybody willing to step up ??

      Otherwise it’s wait. until next year plus one !

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    2. You keep trying to throw Gandt, Hopkins, and Faber’s names under the bus but none of them have been accused of anything. Sorry but facts don’t have feelings.

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      1. They were supposed to watch for right AND wrong doings.

        It’s the “evidence” they didn’t see !!

        That’s their burden to bear

  2. It’s the damage that happens during those times of inadequate and incompetent supervision that’s hard to quantify.
    Money, fuel, materials stolen.
    Equipment unavailable when needed.
    Wear and tear and damage on that equipment.

    Does anyone think we will ever know everything ??

    When you think about the salaries and benefits these “employees” have and in government, job security, it’s a wonder that they are willing to throw it all away for a fist full of dollars and favors.

    And then, where do they go from here ?
    No competent surrounding town village or city will hire them. Nor should they. Did they think about that ?? Did they think about their families ??

    Maybe go work for a private contractor in landscaping or excavating. But even then, who wants to hire a 60 something that is also a thief ?

    Maybe just open a small business of their own and hope their history doesn’t follow too close.

    But in the end, we wonder. Why ??
    And hope it doesn’t happen again

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    1. Why did our board allow this. We elected them to supervise the village. Are they sleeping or are they unqualified to be there. Maybe they are just plain stupid

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      1. They were told, but other employees weren’t believed.
        If you remember, back in the early 2000’s, the Highway Dept was using Town garages to fix cars and buying parts for the cars.
        That was done on Tesar’s and Faber’s watch. The department head was given a short unpaid leave. All involved should have been fired.
        The former Administrator was employed by the Town highway dept at that time. Not sure what his role was at that time, but he was employed
        by the highway department.
        The employees at the time were given a slap on the wrist under Tesar’s and Faber’s watch. Looks like it has continued.

      2. From the top on down.

        Diann
        Ted
        Mike
        Dennis

        And Dan. Though hard to believe dan was involved it’s the “in-involvement” that allowed things to go unchecked.

        Do we want micromanagement ?
        No. But weekly oversight ? You bet !!

  3. Yes, electeds do have to micromanage or this is what you will get.
    The last time employees got caught, it was fixing cars in a town garage with town equipment. And wasn’t there a tado in Silver Lake about Snellen under Gerber? Probably under Albrecht too but he was an odd man out micromanager and bad ranks closed against him. Would love to know how much money Silver Lake taxpayers lost with the likes of Snellen around..Speculating, but could this Snellen character, a minor link, have been the cause of the demise of our old village? Please say it isn’t so!

    1. Come on !!
      Let’s have it all you old timers in Silver Lake !

      Let’s hear all the stories.

      Though no rumors.

      Just the Facts ma’am.

  4. He must be friends of Andy, gaining things that aren’t his and using credit cards funded by others to buy things for himself

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  5. These allegations all see pretty petty but still in ethical. He took scrap metal money and used it to buy food for his guys that work hard year round. While the board meets once a month and have dinner catered. Why don’t we go up the chain and look into some of their spending habits and who is scratching who’s back. Sure we can find a lot worse.

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    1. Petty is a couple meals, I’m hearing meals were weekly and they traveled great distance to find fine eatery’s. The Village did have a policy book approved by the board in 2021 that covered this type of dishonesty.
      I don’t believe any of employee read it, because if they did they wouldn’t be doing these so called petty things. I wonder, if it was 10’s thousands of dollars of free food, if that would be considered petty?

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    2. It’s called a “expense report” you use in business that is submitted to accounting to be reimbursed. By not doing it properly shows guilt of spending abuse. What was done with property equipment was theft! Using a storage unit “free” is not exactly a good choice either. People get fired for this stuff. Once a guy was fired from Chrysler for taking a roll of toilet paper! Without approval, ANYTHING you take is theft….PERIOD.

    3. That’s what he said he did. But there is no proof. I’m sure if he is buying spark plugs in Kentucky for his work truck he isn’t buying food for the crew.

      1. What the hell was he doing in Kentucky with the work truck ?? And then doing a tune up ?
        Probably buying plugs for a family members truck who didn’t know how he paid.

        I know an Illinois guy who is in HVAC. He got a call from a friend in Oklahoma noticing my guys company work van in Oklahoma.
        No it wasn’t my guy but a coworkers company van which they take home.
        Sent him a picture. My guy showed the picture to the boss. The boss waited for the guy to get back from being on “vacation” and fired him on the spot. Made the guy call for a ride.
        Turns out the guy drove to Oklahoma to install a furnace for his dad. The boss said it would have been ok if the guy would have just asked. Instead he got fired.

        Makes me wonder if the truck was in Kentucky and if Diann and Mike knew about it

        1. Paul drives the exact truck of the ones for the village. His personal looks like a village truck. It was probably plugs and wires for that truck and play it off that it was a work truck. Employees quit because they would get fired if this was ever brought up. Brad knows about all this and was one of the money holders of the scrap money.

          1. Nobody believes he was buying parts for the Village truck in Kentucky, come on really Kentucky. I think his convoluted answer speaks for itself. The only way he was buying parts for the Village truck in Kentucky, if the Village truck was with him, otherwise it makes no sense.

          2. Brad was promoted to Public Works Director? Wow!
            Another post, when all this was coming out, insinuated he was driving home to Kenosha for lunch, using a village truck?
            Was that investigated? Was he promoted?

    4. It was thousands of scrap money. If you recall they did a whole waste water plant upgrade. New pumps. New wiring. New plumbing. He was taking the scrap all the way to IL by himself to get the money. Why don’t we ask why when a truck was damaged in a traffic accident we only went to one Autobody shop for an estimate. And Paul was the only one that could be there. Found it funny it was over 8000 dollars for a rear bumper and tow hitch. I think the corruption was lingering around. Maybe someone should ask Brad about all that money. Or why they were punching guys out for the day to go to the bars to drink. So many good employees have left over this unethical place.

  6. The question I’d have to ask, what is the current policy about scrap metal in the Villiage? This was uncovered months ago and we have yet to see a written policy (at least that I’m aware of)as to this income steam by current officials. Is it included in the new budget as a line item, so the citizens can see this cash flow? It’s easy to find problems but solutions are what current officials should be providing.

  7. I got a feeling the scrap metal story is just in the early innings, who knows where that might go? The Village did some monster infrastructure project in the last 5 years or so. I wonder how much scrap metal was scrapped in those projects????? Based on the pattern we have been seeing, you can only wonder?

    1. This isn’t a pickup load every couple of months. Rumor has it it was the whole Silver Lake treatment plant that was scrapped and it’s that money that went unaccounted for !!

      Ten’s of thousands ?
      Probably topped 6 figures $$$

      The sheriff’s department “supposedly” investigated this during its investigation of Mike Murdock.

      Let’s see that investigation come out. Why isn’t he already in jail ? And all the people that helped ?

      1. Snellen and Steinbrink probably laughed in Menards parking lot as to who had more rebates! Sick of them stealing they should be charged with theft, but Kenosha DA and judges will take care of them.

  8. Why would the Village of Salem Lakes hire someone from Illinois to be superintendent of a department? Was there no one from Wisconsin qualified? I would think they would want to hire someone from the area rather than a complete stranger.

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    1. The Kenosha County Highway Commissioner is from VERONA. When we have winter weather, he doesn’t come to the area at all. The Highway Commissioner for Kenosha County isn’t even familiar with Kenosha County’s Highways, and he’s been there since 2015/16. At least there are areas of Illinois that are very, very close to Salem Lakes.

      1. He’s impossible to talk to. If you want answers you have to talk to one of the Supervisors who drive around in the regular-colored pickup trucks. They’re the only ones who know what’s going on. There’s one who covers the east side of the county and one who covers the west side. They’re always driving around making sure things are good and I’ve never had a problem stopping them to inquire about where my tax dollars go 👍

      1. She’s a rockstar who is doing an amazing job. Could run circles around Murdock with one hand and foot tied behind her back and with a blindfold on. And, she’s actually a really nice person who is inviting to talk to, and who prides herself on honesty. Where she lives is irrelevant. The last one lived here and look what that got us. Don’t be so quick to judge.

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        1. You can be nice and still corrupt as heck. Time will tell just how “nice” she is. We don’t need nice, we need someone with integrity and someone who spends less and saves the Village money. On day 1 she blew the positions budget with her salary. How nice of her.

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          1. One – that was a board decision on what to pay her. And well worth it.
            Two – she’s only getting $5000 more than what Murdock was. He cost the Village countless thousands of dollars and wasn’t even qualified, was not nice and perpetuated all these issues, including using Village property for his own advantage. Stellar and worth the money, was he?
            Three – she’s already saved the Village over 50 grand in insurance savings. And with that – better coverage and more benefits.
            Four – went to bat with the Teamsters to hold them to their contract on covering the FD insurance for the time the Village paid for.
            Five – put a rental contract in place for Trevor Feed who for YEARS used village property for free (under Murdock’s watch mind you)
            Six – is working on putting policies, procedures, and training in place (never had any of those before)
            Seven – She does have integrity, morals, and a high regard for truth, which are invaluable qualities in any individual. I’d even challenge Mr. Mathewson to find anything in her background that says otherwise.
            Eight – go take your uninformed, negative, and prejudiced self on a permanent vacation. No one wants to hear your bs point of view that holds no weight whatsoever.

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              1. No one’s making no an idol here. Just stating facts to not beat down someone doing a good job and without a reason

              2. When I had painted sprayed on my car by a road crew contracted by Salem, Paul was irritated that I had the audacity to complain. Completely rude and unhelpful. Dave Bretl, Rita Bucur, and Cassandra were all helpful. Took my calls, responded. They have a lot of work to do to clean up the village, but they have a vision to make Salem a good place to live and do business.

      2. Pat Casey liked in Lake County til he sold that house moving in with his Lake Geneva family, ust before he quit.

        BYW electors said employees did not have to live in the village except for fire ems and that is expressed by a distance in job description.

        Only elected people must live in the village and I don’t believe that applies to appointed positions like clerk or Treasurer.

        Location of Snellens bedroom isn’t an issue.

  9. For those who think the supervisors should have known. – you are correct.
    They should know. They should be visiting the work place. Know the employees. Be available to chitchat with an employee without fear of being fired or for any violation of insubordination. It should be so frequent that the supervicors know the names of the employees and their faces. It is up to the supervisors to review the reports they get, do comparisons year to year, month to month, ask questions, create additional reports if those in place are insufficient. Review the actual vs budget, know where new item appearances in office and out in the field come from as in, which budget item was the purchase allocated to. Hire people who are trustworthy (this was lacking in the past for sure!). micromanage when it comes to money and get the support of all the other supervisors if any one of the supervisors decides to give time to the effort. It is up to the supervisors to do more than listen when a complaint or a hint of an issue is brought up in any conversation by any citizen or employee. It is up to the suprevisors to make sure that all employees can jump chain of command in a public service job. The village is not the military. It is a service organization and the department heads are not GOD. They were just selected to enforce the rules and guidelines of the supervisors and to set the upstanding values of the village. We have lost track of the time when the supervisors often were the worker bees and did the job themselves. We instead, hire an administrator who may or may not have that micromanage gene. As audience members at board meetings, we and the supervisors, have lost track of the reports from department heads and the direct questioning of issues heard about over the last days/weeks. It is time for the supervisors to reduce their salary since we have an administrator and to sit and analyze since they are not out walking and reviewing. It would be good for Rita to introduce this, which has been a request by many since the first days of Patrick Casey (RME).

    To those who think that scrap money should go to the workers for the job they are doing – I remind you that some of these people make more than the elders in our community and if their salary and great insurance and pension is not sufficient – they can find the door. They dont need scrap monies to feed their faces. Any citizen, however, can walk into any department office and offer to buy lunch and a beer. They dont need taxpayer monies. Please remember however, that there is a support staff beind many of those you see out in the open working.

    To those who think that we can fire supervisors – Welcome to the world of learning. You get to elect them or recall them. You cannot fire them. Put your learning hat on.

    To those who dont know who is running – shame on you.

    To those who have never attended a board meeting – another shame on you.

    To those who think that this kind of conduct is rampant in the village – shame on you. Instead you should be so very thankful that we do have many upstanding employees who stay with the village and work with these kinds of untrustworthy people and try hard to do a good or great job despite the bad actors.

    To every supervisor who didnt micromanage – this crapola is on you.

    To those who think everyone should be gone and the village should start over – get real. That is not how life works and certainy not how government works. Put on your learning hat and dont should everyone how much you dont know.

    To Snellen, Murdock, Kmiec, Culat, Tesar, Dunski – so many of us are glad you are gone.

    To many of us who know the players, we hope Gandt, Faber and Hopkins are gone soon. I am certain all three were so happy to see who was declaring to run and to have such a great chance at making big money for another two years all on our backs without more than one contender.

    The Fire Commission needs good people. Make your move now and apply.

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    1. After reading this, I recall a town chairman who was ridiculed continuously in board meetings for micro-managing; including by Mr. Faber. She was on to something. Our loss.

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      1. Linda Valentine is the Town Chair that you’re referring to.

        She tried to set the bar higher. Tried to rein in the administrator. Asking for monthly reports.
        But in her short time she pissed off enough connected people to then lose the next election. People didn’t want to admit that there was something wrong that they didn’t see.

        Change is hard !
        Government covers for its own people.
        The reality is that some just aren’t smart enough to realize how good they got it !

        Are there good people still here ?
        You bet !!
        Lets support them .

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        1. Linda got into a pissing contest with Pat, the administrator, who was a real piece of work. (You’d think they would have replaced him with a better one.). The problem is when they hired Pat they never set out to define the duties of the administrator and the town chairman so they constantly clashed. Linda went to the DA’s office and they found that the ordinances were such a mess that the town was exposing itself to some potential liability. The DA’s office tried to light a fire under the former town attorney who didn’t do much to fix the problem.

    2. Well said. We need write in candidates. We need to just vote for Joe and not vote for Gandt Faber and Hopkins. They have proven they are incompetent

      1. Just voting for the new guy ?

        Two others will still win but to see those short results at 11:00 ?

        Those short numbers will be telling all on their own.

        I’m in

  10. Next investigation needs to look into past activities of Ellis Border and hired contractors in Salem Lakes. I suspect there is a lot to uncover here.

        1. So he was after Jack?
          Jack was a piece of work.

          Missed so many things. Made up so many of his own rules and was backed by the administration and the board.
          Very little oversight.
          Lots of retaliation.

          1. Border approved permits that in some residents opinions should not have been approved. Contractors not followed zoning ordinances were not held accountable and ordinance violations ignored by the inspector. Granted the village has the option of not enforcing ordinances, why have them if they are not being enforced?

  11. Small potatoes compared to what has gone on at one of our friendly local giant pharma companies — I wonder if some of the folks bitching here were part of those scams —- too bad they aren’t public

  12. Strangely, I’m finding this all so amusing. Silver Lake, Trevor, Wilmot – local gold diggers get red pilled. Someone should open this can of whoop-ass in Twin Lakes. Or maybe Randall….. It’s almost like these cucks are running from a huge bar tab they ran up at the Packer Inn!

  13. So, let’s recap all the mostly true rumors and some worse than we thought.
    1. Operation Village Assets: This was the policy that employees and others used Village assets for personal use.
    2. Storage Gate. This was employees and others utilizing Village buildings for storage of their stuff, like boats, cars, and other crap.
    3. Menards Rebates program: Menards rebates are unaccounted for years.
    4. Operation Eats on Taxpayer Dime: A crazy amount of meals have been charged to the Village. Employees weren’t afraid to drive for 30-40 minutes to find that special eatery (so that nobody would recognize them). Thus, four people travel a half-hour for a lunch buffet that takes 40 minutes to eat and then drive back to work. Let’s think about this– 1 hour and 40 minutes per employee times four people is 6 hours and 40 minutes vs the 2 hours the Village allows for lunch. Hmmmm….very expensive to taxpayers
    5. Scrap for cash program: Who knows the extent of this, just meals…probably not. This needs to be looked into with law enforcement.
    6. Village Credit card for personal purchases: I hear the extent of this is being currently investigated, based on the patterns. Hmmmm
    7. Culat equipment care program: This is a program started by Paul Snellen and Mike Murdock This involves leaving a Village Skid Loader at a trustee house during a period that work was being completed on Culat’s property. So, the story from what I’m hearing is Paul and Mike aren’t sure who brought it over, but it was left there.
    They told the police one story and now they have another. The skid loader I was told broke down there, but Mike And Paul said it didn’t to the police, but they forgot to mention to the police investigators that the skid loader magically had a new ignition system installed in it while it was at Culat’s house… doing nothing but sitting there. Hmmmm. Oh wait, I also heard when the Skid Loader was returned to the Village, an employee said it was filled with wood chips and sticks. They must have driven through a forest on the way back to the Highway Dept from Culat’s property. Rumor has it that he had a lot of Village equipment on his property as part of the care program. Thanks for caring Mr. Culat! I also heard that Culat doesn’t think employees using Village equipment for personal use is a problem, it’s just fine And dandy.
    8. Business and Citizen attack program: Either do what the previous Village administration and certain trustees dictate whether right or wrong or we will put your business out of business or fine you into bankruptcy. Hard to believe but this was a real program, but the body count proves it.

    I’M SURE MORE NEW PROGRAMS WILL BE UNCOVERED AS THE RATS JUMP SHIP. This is why change was needed and will continue to be needed. The New Village President Rita Bucur has done more in less than a year than Diann ever did, Thank You, Rita. We owe thanks to Cassandra Hiller for accepting this enormous challenge of cleaning up this mess. Also, need to mention Al Carr for stepping in when our Village needed a leader in the Fire Dept. Thank You. Our new Attorney, Remezy Bitar has made many smart decisions for the Village, yes costly but truly needed to right the ship. Many others have stepped up, and some current board members have stepped up also, that’s for you to decide in April. Sadly, only one challenger has stepped forward, Pete Poli. He deserves an opportunity to help take Salem Lakes down this new path. Things are getting a lot better, voters should be proud of the change they have made.
    Let’s not forget the most important person in the crusade for change, Mr. Kevin Mathewson. Thanks for giving an outlet for the public to bitch and complain for change. Thank you for reporting what others won’t. It matters! If you support this publication don’t forget the people that advertise here, they help make this local news site possible. Don’t forget donations to this outlet! Imagine if he wasn’t here. It’s pretty hard to get the message out, wouldn’t it?

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    1. Not sure if it matters anymore but,

      I’ll bet if you call Menards they could give you a total of the rebates sent to the town address.

      Interesting how they ended up anywhere other than the town hall. I’m sure we can find out who sent them in.
      Every employee address against Menards mailing list cross checked against the credit cards.

      A little work but I’m sure the dollar amount amounts to Grand larceny.

      Just need the sheriff and a warrant

      1. It only doesn’t matter if people stick their heads in the sand, like they’ve done in the past.
        Accountability is when people step forward and do something to fix what’s not right. Salem Lakes voter appear to be pulling their heads out of the sand.👍 Vote tomorrow, it matters.

        1. That would be easy to check with the rebate processing company in elk mound, Wisconsin. It’s not some giant faceless company either, it’s run by John Menards daughter. First, it would be great just to have the sheriff’s department have a detective call and ask politely, and if told that warrants would be needed, let’s get some warrants printed up.

          1. The sheriffs department could fund themselves by running radar on S between I-94 & 31, and 31 throughout the county, but they won’t do it. They’re not going to bother with Menards rebates for Salem Lakes.

    2. great article. Remember the 3 remaining board members who did these deeds. They will try to say I new nothing about it. If that is true they need to resign for not doing their job.

  14. Is that an advertisement for a private dinner with Lindsey Graham? Seriously?!?!

    Mr Amnesty, Lindsey Graham. Fuck him and the establishment GOP. To hell with all of them, all the same. They are the same as the democrats, they can’t exist without one another.

  15. Ok couple comments here. First of all the maintenance officer John Carrier is a waste of tax payers money as he is very very uneducated and knows nothing about anything he enforces. As he double dips being a fire fighter and your town clown I mean maintenance officer the rest of the time… I really question how that schedule plays out there as well maybe the town should take a look at that because some where in those two town jobs he is coaching soccer as well. But I mean what do I know. Right … Ktm

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  16. As the fabulous 3 from Pleasent prairie did what they did to get to get Steinbrink out what you guys don’t know is the day they met with the village administrator Steinbrink literally was speeding through town frantically looking for the three missing employees as he was tipped off by a rat in the village office on 39th. One guy was off that day and took his personal truck and as he was driving down he road after the meeting Steinbrink passed him going the other way. Steinbrink then made a mad U turn in the middle of the and attempted to chase the employee down. I still commend those three strong individuals that brought that light to the table… and yes I agree Ktm

  17. SO GLAD TO SEE THESE PEOPLE FINALLY GETTING CAUGHT…. IVE KNOWN ABOUT THIS STUFF FOR YEARS AND NO ONE WOULD LISTEN…..I HOPE THEY GET PROSECUTED…. AND CULAT IS A TOTAL LYING POS FROM WAY BACK

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