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Something Stinks Again in Pleasant Prairie: Opinion

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Village of Pleasant Prairie Village Hall
(File Photo by Kevin Mathewson, Kenosha County Eye)

With more of the same-old-same-old taking place right under our noses, Pleasant Prairie residents are being gaslighted again into believing that Village President John Steinbrink, Sr. has their best interests in mind, not his own. The preliminary plat for a 700+ unit high-density housing development just west of Village Green Heights, between 93rd and 104th Streets, was approved last week in a vote of 4-1. Trustee Jim Kremer was the only opposing vote, citing concerns raised by residents about the density, lack of green space, lot sizes, the impact on existing property values, increased traffic, and a possible fiscal burden on local taxpayers to redevelop 104th Street (Hwy 165).

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A flurry of comments in opposition of the Highland Estates development appeared on the Village’s Facebook post prior to the March 25th meeting.

Steinbrink, Sr. was noticeably absent from last week’s meeting, evading public criticism of the Highland Estates project. It just so happens that much of the 230+ acres upon which these homes will be built are coincidentally owned by the Steinbrink family. While he abstained on previous board votes related to this development, as President, Steinbrink, Sr. most likely has had a voice in the planning and timeline of this development. According to the Village’s official website (pleasantprairiewi.gov), “The total build-out value of the subdivision is estimated to be between $400 and $500 million.” While a landowner has the right to sell their property to whomever they want, the Village does have an obligation to make sure future development is within the scope of their master plan and meets all state and local requirements.

In the absence of Steinbrink, Sr., Trustee (and former village administrator) Mike Pollocoff ran the meeting. In discussion on a motion to approve the Highland Estates preliminary plat, Trustee Kremer relayed that many residents had contacted him with concerns about the development, and that he was obligated to share their concerns in the decision-making process as their elected representative. His comments were met with opposition not only by Trustees Pollocoff and Klimisch, but also by Village employees and by the developer. Executive Director of Community Development, Village Zoning Administrator, and Village Planner Jean Werbie-Harris recited a monologue of woke reasons why the Village must make room for and welcome high-density housing directly adjacent to subdivisions with much larger lots and homes valued in the $500K-$800K range. The Village Engineer snapped back at Trustee Kremer when he dared to question the outcome of the traffic study that was funded by the property development company.

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Look the other way, nothing to see here, folks. Just a good ‘ol boys club doing what they do best.

Also noticeably absent from the scene was John Steinbrink, Jr. Anonymous sources from within the Village bureaucracy report that the oppressive working environment has improved slightly since a criminal investigation led to seven felony charges for Steinbrink, Jr. in July of 2022. These charges could put him behind bars for decades, but so far, there has been no trial. WHY??? Many on the inside are still afraid to speak out for fear of retaliation if Steinbrink, Jr. is reinstated in his former high-paying job as Village Public Works Director. After all, President Steinbrink, Sr., Mike Pollocoff, and the board voted to prematurely end the contract for Nathan Thiele, former village administrator, without explanation during the investigation in early 2022.

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Village of Pleasant Prairie Trustee Mike Pollocoff (70) and President John Steinbrink, Sr (D) (75) at Board Meeting on July 25, 2022
(Photo by Kevin Mathewson – Kenosha County Eye)

KCE reported on the investigation and was first to break the news about the charges, which include multiple counts of misconduct in public office. All of this was happening under Steinbrink, Sr.’s and Pollocoff’s watch.  So, what has happened since then? Where is the accountability? Where is the justice for Pleasant Prairie residents and taxpayers?

Citing a conflict, District Attorney Mike Gravely referred Steinbrink, Jr.’s case to a special prosecutor in Racine. This special prosecutor has no accountability to the people of Pleasant Prairie. It has been nearly TWO YEARS since charges were filed, and justice has yet to be served in this case. All the while, the questionable activity of municipal government officials in Pleasant Prairie carries on as per usual. Following multiple delays, Steinbrink, Jr. is expected in court for pre-trial on May 3, 2024, and for jury trial on May 20th.

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John Steinbrink, Jr. In Court For Felony Corruption Charges
(File Photo by Kevin Mathewson, Kenosha County Eye)

Pleasant Prairie is one of the fastest growing municipalities in the state, and the Village has done an impressive job with economic development. On the surface, though, is the gleam of fancy new businesses and lakeside beer gardens run by their friends blinding the public from seeing what’s underneath? Is there more to the story?

If they delay Steinbrink, Jr.’s case long enough, will people eventually forget about it?

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Demand accountability. Vote Carl Coulson for Pleasant Prairie Trustee on April 2nd.

Carl Coulson

Author

  • Catalina Jorgenson

    Catalina is a native of New Mexico. She has Latin and Native American Heritage. She moved to Kenosha in 2019 and keeps a close eye on education and politics. She enjoys spending time with her life partner Donny and her two fur-babies, Jack and Jill. She is a medical chemist by trade but loves to read, crochet and write poetry.

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87 Responses

  1. We need change in unpleasant prairie Steinbrink and Pollocoff are the poster boys of corruption and greed! PLEASE VOTE them out we can’t afford them and dirty backroom dealings, Thiele has a gag order so he cannot talk about backroom greed that he saw. Pleasant Prairie is the worst of Kenosha County! Talk to employees that will talk behind closed doors, they can tell stories of greed and intimidating workers.

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          1. Yeah…it was a shame nobody ran against him THEN. That would have been a good time to do it! Maybe there is a way to get all the people of PP to recall him!

    1. The “ oppressive working environment has improved slightly”? NO. The working environment has improved GREATLY!

  2. Thiel’s contract was not renewed at its expiration. He was not fired but then why did he get a windfall? Were there skeletons in Thiel’s closet?

    Steinbrink, jr. was reported by village employees, investigated by the village police who turned it over to an outside agency and he was fired. His case is pending (delayed due to a change of attorneys and a backlog of violent crime cases) and he should be held accountable. The real enemy here, his father, was re-elected village president without opposition despite the pending prosecution of his son. Without opposition. Despite pending charges and the scandal that was reported extensively here.

    Even if jr. is convicted of every charge against him no realistic possibility of spending decades behind bars. With no prior criminal record and nonviolent crimes the big house is a small chance. Isn’t be banished from village property?

    Prairie Wood LLC and Steinbrink LP are business entities linked to the village president.

    Why did conservative trustee James Kedrow vote for the development (or did he)?

    What were the “woke reasons” given in favor of the development?

    How much tax revenue would these homes generate? Is this development consistent with the master plan?

    Why hasn’t the village green development gone anywhere?

    We know Coulson doesn’t like this development but isn’t he a “one trick pony?” What other qualifications does he have other than being pissed off? And if Pollocoff and sr. are the old boys club wouldn’t Kremer, Kedrow and Coulson be a “new boys club?”

    1. Why would Steinbrink (75) and Pollocoff(70) keep running for the board if they were not scared of new board members finding out about the backroom deals? We need new blood in there after how long they have ruled the village with an iron fist and FAT checkbook!

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      1. But there are two new board members, one of whom was there when Thiel’s contract was not renewed. What have they uncovered?

        Overall, they have done a good job which makes it all the more frustrating that they do hold on so tight. They don’t need to.

      2. You should see their retirement plan. I saw it years ago and it was a sweet deal! There is no telling WHAT they have added to it now!

  3. Not unlike, with the help of Madison, to increase their old permit from 1989 for Lake Michigan water diversion from 3.2 million gallons a day to 10.69 million gallons day in 2010. Two years after the formation of The Great Lakes Water Compact in 2008. Without consulting with the Great Lakes Water Compact. These guys do whatever they want. And don’t question them or you will be targeted like myself and my neighbors where when they tried to extend 122nd Avenue through the Kenosha County Bike Trail. Without consulting Illinois for traffic outlets on Stateline Road and The National Parks Dept who fund the Trail.

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      1. 2010 … democrats controlled the legislature, including Steinbink, Sr who was in the Assembly and Doyle (D) was the governor.

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    1. Pleasant Prairie has allowed these guys have more and more control. People need to come together and stand up against them. I hope Carl Coulson gets in, but with the current Village Clerk we have now, she will probably find some ballots in boxes that all go to Mike P and Mike will stay in.

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  4. Did anyone check out Coulson’s background. Interesting how he tries to get out of paying his taxes according to the Illinois Property Tax Appeals Tribunal.

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    1. You mean how he appealed his property assessment because he felt he had comparable properties that came in at a lower assessment?
      Nothing to see here folks. Move along!

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    2. LOL! Let’s compare Steinbrink, Pollocoff, and Steinbrink Jr to Coulson….LOL!!! Yeah…I’m goin with Coulson

  5. Unfortunately, anything a politician does is for his/her own benefit. They’re professional liars. Worse than lawyers.

    “Politicians are the lowest form of life on the planet”…. Gen. George S. Patton

  6. Jr will get fined and probation. No jail time. The rub will be when he tries to pay the fine using Menards rebates.

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  7. Did deeper. When did Steinbrink buy all that land by cooper road? It was for sale forever but when Steinbrink’s found out the subdivision would go through that is when it was purchased. This was insider info.

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    1. With all the land he owns in the village no wonder he stays on the village board, to protect his interest. Just think someday all that land will be controlled by Jr. or some built it all developer with no ties to the village. Don’t forget about Pollocoff he has his hands plenty dirty also, the village is getting dirtier by the day and more crowded, not so pleasant anymore!! Also he owns more land than the map shows.

      1. I know a person who has a farm near me and Mills offered her pennies on the dollar for some of it, but she refused. I think he, along with Steinbrink, have a plan to push her out or make her sell somehow. She has both residential and agricultural zoning on her property and when she asked VPP if she could build a house for her parents on her property, she was told she could only build a house if she had the remaining part of her Agricultural rezoned to Residential. If anyone has conversations with people from PP, record it. I hope one day someone will clean house and get rid of them all.

          1. Please explain. I would love to know how that turned out and maybe this would help the person I know who might have it happen to them.

            1. If you do anything with village get it in writing. I was told no problem doing what I wanted to do when village came out, so I when to village to start paper work and was told NO you cannot do that , I said this person said I could then higher up person came out and said they would not allow this. DO NOT TRUST THEM!!!!

              1. I am fed up with not so “pleasant”, Pleasant Prairie. I believe there should be a limit, on how long anyone can remain in office! Steinbrink’s gonna do whatever he can with the little time he has left to steal as much as he can from us! The utility bills in Pleasant Prairie has tripled! With all the industry and housing that Pleasant Prairie has, there’s no excuse for this! We need to stand United, taxpayers of Pleasant Prairie! If you, or, I committed a crime like Steinbrink, Junior, we would be in prison!
                Steinbrink Junior should be in prison! Corrupt, greed, and power are the good old boys! Steinbrink also use intimidation! If you complain or go against them they condemn your home and steal it from you! Let’s take back our village! I’ve worked my whole life and I’m tired of corrupt greedy old men stealing from me! How do they sleep at night? I truly believe in karma. And their karma day will come!

  8. First off , I can’t sign my name to this post for fear of being rubbed out by the PP mafia. We all know they’re crooks . They’re all in on it . Especially the Big Guy . Pollocof is no better . They have their own fifedom , and don’t you dare mess with it.

      1. So long as the courts Stonewall on the steinbrink family, it’s going to be difficult to get anyone to run against them. How many sane people volunteer to jump into a meat grinder?

        1. What a dumbass statement. The courts have not stonewalled on the family. Junior’s case has nothing to do with the fact that his father ran unopposed. I doubt a credible candidate would have lost had they run. In this election, like Pollocoff or not, he is smart and has forgotten more than most people will know. Coulson is an Illinois transplant who is a one-trick pony and a curious past of his own and also a provocative family history. Coulson teamed up with a boutique law firm to challenge several property tax assessments, most of which he lost. He’s a pissed off single issue guy who blows off steam but is light on specifics and particularly what he would do better. Also, what is HIS special interest as a realtor, construction guy and property manager? Devil I know vs. the one I don’t.

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          1. We need to break up the “Good Ol’ Boys”….I don’t care who it is at this point! Carl Coulson is a start! Who’s next? We can do it!

            1. It’s time for some new blood. Not a big fan of Illinois influences, but yeah, at this point we can’t get worse

    1. Stop being afraid, and stand up for what you believe in. You are entitled to your own opinion! You have given them exactly what they want. Afraid to say anything! I have an opinion and I’m gonna say what I want I think. Do we still live in America where we have the freedom of speech?

  9. We do need affordable housing, not just 500-900k new homes with 12-15k tax bills. Dina is looking out for Bear’s best interest also I’m certain.

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    1. I’m against anything called affordable housing, because affordable used to mean something you could afford, not something that you expect other people to pay for in your behalf. Affordable now, is just code for subsidized, so I would rather see the expensive homes going in because I know my tax dollars aren’t going to go towards the mortgage.

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        1. The low end of this development is 400K which is hardly subsidized housing.

          Interestingly, Trustee Kremer in August praised the work of the developer to address resident concerns, including reducing the number of homes to be built and eliminating “for rent” homes.

          Coulson seems a bit shady himself. What’s his angle?

          I agree that development should proceed cautiously but Pleasant Prairie has a large, diversified industrial park, the outlet mall, new hotels, the Highway 50 shopping corridor and residential developments. I would imagine that there will be some additional related commercial development.

          On the down side, development is needed in the eastern part of the village, especially a grocery store. Whatever happened to plans for the Carol Beach fire station? Coulson doesn’t seem to have a grasp on these issues nor the public safety concerns.

      1. Ok, yes, affordable is the wrong word. Reasonably priced?

        But even with a household income of over $200k I wouldn’t even think of buying a 500k-900k home.

        What is the target price of the new subdivision? Even homes in the 300k range aren’t going to draw in the riff raff.

  10. If they delay Steinbrink, Jr.’s case long enough, will people eventually forget about it? Yup, that is the goal. works. It worked for Fat Frank Pacetti.

  11. The end goal of the FEDs is not to improve life for everyone, but rather reduce everyone to the same state of suffering and degradation so that both they are easier to control and depend largely on government for their every need. WEF (Col Klink) Klaus Schwab says you will own nothing and be happy. Every move the feds make is towards that same goal.

  12. You can never escape from the scum and villainy of urban decay. HUD will just move more of it to your nice house in the countryside.

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  13. Since village board likes to name buildings and streets after themselves Polloncoff Parkway, Polloncoff gym at REC-PLEX that were were not going to use tax dollars on. I suggest we name the huge new Police station after Steinbrink and let him be 1st person locked up in jail there!!

    1. It won’t have a jail. The current PD doesn’t. All prisoners go to Kenosha county jail. At least Smetana gets the office he has been dreaming of for 10 years.

  14. Please, everyone get out and vote! Vote for trustee Carl Coulson. It’s time for a change! It’s time to get rid of those old men that call themselves, the good old boys! There is nothing good about them!

    1. Have you looked at the quality of village services, the lower taxes and responsible s? These people aren’t perfect but still we areget better services and lower taxes. Colson wants to bring Illinois politics to Pleasant Prairie. He doesn’t have a sliver of the expertise Pollocoff has. And we don’t know his motives. I’m all for replacing Pollocoff but not with a partisan political hack backed by special interests who don’t care a rat’s ass about the village. Check out his background.

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  15. If you want to compare shady political families you should take a look at the Coulson clan. Maybe the son should not pay for the sins of his father but we don’t need Illinois politics. Maybe they’re good old boys but they’re the devils we know nit the ones we don’t.

  16. If you want to read a horror story have Pollocoff write about his greed and stealing that he did to the village.

    1. You need to check out the Coulson clan. Don’t be fooled. A Google search will be most revealing……

    2. What about starting a therapeutic rec department because one of his children is mentally disabled? I wonder if all village employees can start programs at the rec plex as they see fit?

      1. And the money from the cell phone rental on village property paid for the therapeutic rec department. Is that legal?

        1. The therapeutic recreation programs are available to and used by everyone and not restricted to village residents. It is mind bogging that someone is so petty and devoid of human decency to question their importance.

  17. Carl thanks for running but..just think what you could have done if you had gotten the word out there better?

    1. That was carls downfall. Not getting out there enough. Lots of pollocoff signs, hardly any of his

    2. Wasn’t only his fault. He could have used more help. Running a campaign isn’t easy, and hitting doors takes time and money. Consider contributing next time. If everyone helped, we could completely wipe out the RATS in Pleasant Prairie

    1. It’s either right down the street, or it isn’t.
      “Sounds like” has no significant bearing on anything.

  18. Some other comments and questions of a concerned citizen….

    Why did a department have to organize (become a union)? One example, because benefits such as holiday time-off were taken away from members in the 90’s.

    Department apparatus may or may not have been taken away due to negotiations not favoring one’s outcome.

    Department insurance may or may not have been changed due to negotiations not favoring one’s outcome.

    Have the fire/ems and police referendum positions been filled?

    Distribution of Supplemental County and Municipal Aid Under Enrolled Assembly Bill
    245 (AB 245)- Wisconsin’s system for funding critical local services like police, fire protection, EMS, water, sewer, well-maintained safe streets, and parks.
    What was the additional Shared Revenue money, that was given from the state used for ($518,066)?

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