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Kenosha County Eye Editor Sues Embattled Politician For Violating Public Records Law – KCE v. Sgt. Hard

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Kevin Mathewson – Editor, Kenosha County Eye, Andy “Sgt. Hard” Berg, County Board Supervisor

Kenosha County Eye Editor Kevin Mathewson filed a lawsuit yesterday against the embattled county board member Andy Berg (D). Mathewson filed the action in Kenosha County Circuit Court four days after Berg denied a request by Mathewson under Wisconsin’s Public Records Laws to inspect copies of maps that Berg handed out illegally during his campaign for re-election.

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Berg, a long time Kenosha County Board member, knows the campaign finance laws well. In fact, when he submitted paperwork for re-election, he was given a packet called “Candidate Guidelines – Spring Elections 2024.” County Clerk Regi Waligora sent all candidates running for re-election this guide as a courtesy. On the top of page four, it displays the following:

Use Of Government Materials By Candidate

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According to Wisconsin State Statute, section 11.1205, candidates who are running for re-election, may not use public funds for the cost of materials or distribution for 50 or more pieces of substantially identical materials distributed after the first day authorized by law for circulation of nomination papers as a candidate.

KCE discovered, via public records requests that on February 2, 2024, Berg sent an email to a county employee demanding 1,000 County Maps that were printed with taxpayer funds. Berg also had county business cards printed – again at taxpayer expense. The county employee only gave Berg 600 maps. He then began to hand out several hundred maps and business cards, in clear violation of election law. He was so brazen, that he actually posted on Facebook what he was doing.

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After being alerted to the violation, County Clerk Waligora issued a warning to Berg on February 19, the same day as his Facebook post, saying:

“This is a reminder that included in the folder for Spring Candidates you received information regarding the use of government materials while campaigning. You may not use materials (no more than 50) that are paid for with County funds while canvassing your district during the election cycle that began on December 1, 2023, and will end April 3, 2024. If you have done this and have distributed more than 50 pieces of County funded material, you will need to cease the use of these materials while campaigning in your district.”

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Mathewson filed complaints against Berg to the Wisconsin Ethics Commission and the Kenosha County DA’s office. The WEC said in a statement “Commission staff has conducted a preliminary review of your complaint as required by Wis. Admin. Code ETH 21.03(2) and determined that your complaint is sufficient to proceed to consideration by the Commission.” Kenosha DA Graveley (D) refused to take action against Berg.

KCE initiated a public records request to Berg asking to inspect the remaining maps that he had in his possession. If he has less than 550 maps, he has clearly violated the law. He ignored our request unlawfully. After many reminders, Berg sent us a photo of the maps, claiming he had 164 maps left, meaning that he handed out 436 maps – 386 too many.

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We can’t know for sure unless we inspect them. Remember, KCE didn’t ask for photos of the maps, we wanted to inspect them physically. Wis. Stat. § 19.35(1)(a) and (b) provide that “any requester has a right to inspect any record” and “to make or receive a copy of a record.”

Kenosha County District Attorney Mike Graveley (D)
(File Photo by Kevin Mathewson, Kenosha County Eye)

KCE believes that Berg’s denial is an attempt to conceal evidence of his violations of state statute, campaign laws, and local ordinances. So yesterday, Mathewson filed suit, asking a judge to order Berg to allow Mathewson to inspect the public documents. KCE first asked Kenosha DA Mike Gravley to force Berg to turn over the records, but he refused. He also refused comment on why he chose not to. Under Wis. Stat. § 19.37(1)(a), Graveley is the enforcing officer for public records disputes.

Andy “Sergeant Har Berg”
(JerkMate.com)

Berg has also come under scrutinity for producing homo-sexual porn as his pseudenym “Sergeant Hard” which seems to align with his position as Sergeant with the Wisconsin Department of Corrections. Berg also has arrests and convictions for OWI and drugs. Berg is also under investigation for allegedly embezzling many thousands of dollars from his charity called Garden of Eatin. Berg is up for re-election this April.

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30 Responses

  1. Good for you, Kevin. Everyone is sick of elected leftists in Kenosha County breaking the law and getting away with it while regular people are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

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  2. Good! He has skated to long. Unfortunately nothing will happen I assume. His crew of idiots will still support him. What’s up with his fraud of all his “donations “?

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  3. Why is the county board not addressing everything surrounding Berg? Can’t they sanction him or something? Vote of no confidence?

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    1. Because Chairman Nudo won’t do anything. He hasn’t even removed him from the Racial Commission. Now Nudo is buddies with Berg.

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      1. Are the Anonymous’s answering their own questions???LOL! Give yourself/selves a name, otherwise, it just looks like you are having a conversation with yourself! LOL!

        He should be voted off the county board.

  4. Why is it so “hard” to tell the truth?

    It is just so unfortunate that some people manage to take advantage of every situation.

    Meanwhile hard working honest folks are the ones always getting behind.

    1. The hard working, honest folks are getting behind because we are all too nice and tolerant of the way others treat us.
      I do not know where this quote came from, but my daughter shared it with me some time ago.

      “Be careful what you tolerate, you’re teaching people how to treat you”.

  5. Berg is a piece of work and maybe gets too much attention but not sure this is a valid open records case. Is it a record? Is Berg a custodian as defined by law? It would be weird to say that a gas station with a stack of state highway maps is a custodian of an official record.

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    1. Kevin has been around the block a few times 🤣. Pretty sure he would have accurate information on whether he would be able to go forward with a public records request and the process if he got denied…just sayin…maybe you should read his past successful lawsuits on towns, villages, and counties for NOT giving him the public records.

      I think he needs to start asking for more money than what it costs him to file the lawsuit and expenses. $5 just isn’t going to cut it Kevin. I think you need to start getting a lot more money and stop allowing these people snub there noses at the law. I imagine you would have a room FULL of people if you offer a class on how we can all do this stuff ourselves and hold the officials accountable with confidence like you do. Thanks for your hard work!

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  6. Haaaaa look at you and hard go at it. Is this what your bathroom looks like when you were writing this. Me get hard…

  7. Assuming that a county map is a public record and Berg is a custodian there may be a monkey wrench here. According to the Attorney General’s office “record” does not include an identical copy of an otherwise available record. An identical copy, for this purpose, is not meaningfully different from an original for purposes of responding to a specific public records request. So, if all of the maps Berg has are identical, then he may only be required to allow access to one.

    1. Everyone is a google lawyer. I’m sure if he had to be warned for doing so as the article states there was obvious wrong doing.

      1. The warning was for the 50-piece limit violation.

        The open records issue is pretty interesting. Would a gas station having copies of the state highway map then be subject to the open records law? A visitor information center?

        Frankly, there may be more serious stuff about this guy.

  8. I’m still more concerned on his fraud investigation. How can he still be asking for donations? I don’t think there is an investigation. I think Kevin found the ass doing illegal things but nothing happened. Kevin? Update?

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