Layout 1

Kenosha County Eye

Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.

Judge Orders Village Of Twin Lakes To Pay Resident $20,000 For Violating Public Records Law: Cronyism Alleged

Copied!
Laura Roesslein – Twin Lakes Village Administrator
(File Photo by Kevin Mathewson, Kenosha County Eye)

A Twin Lakes couple was recently awarded almost $20,000 from the Village of Twin Lakes for what a judge ruled was a violation of the Wisconsin Public Records Statute. Judge Frank Gagliardi signed an order on June 20, 2024 that awarded the Neals $11,000 in attorney’s fees, $1,442.70 in court costs, $6,879 in compensatory damages and punitive damages in the statutory amount of $100 because the judge wrote “the Court finds [the Village of Twin Lakes and Administrator Laura Roesslein] acted in an arbitrary and capricious manner in fulfilling [Mr. Neal’s] public records request.”

Paid Advertisement
Matthew Fernholz – Attorney, Cramer Multhauf LLP

So, what does arbitrary and capricious mean? Neal’s attorney, Matthew Fernholz with Cramer Multhauf LLP, told KCE that it means “the judge determined that he couldn’t find a satisfactory explanation from the village as to why it took them so long to get the records out.”

The $20 grand isn’t all that the Village of Twin Lakes taxpayers are on the hook for – the Village also spent more than $50,000 on expensive, private attorneys dealing with the Neals.

Paid Advertisement

Why did Neal sue the village in the first place? Mr. Neal, along with his wife, have owned a home in Twin Lakes for more than 20 years. In 2019, an empty lot next door was purchased with the purpose of building a new home on it. Mr. Neal and his wife were concerned about the implication that the new home would have on their own – the area is wedged between two lakes and is very wet. Prior to breaking ground, the Neals brought issues of the water diversion and flooding up with the Village because the new home was proposed to be built at a much higher elevation than the Neals’.

The Village seemingly ignored the Neals’ concerns and issued building permits. The Neals then hired an attorney to protect their interests. Eventually, the Village issued a “stop work order” on the home that was under construction. The home was built with numerous building code violations according to Neal and his attorney. The Neals took legal action and the Village ordered the new owners to bring the home into compliance. To date, they haven’t.

Paid Advertisement

On August 23, 2021, the building inspector granted the neighbors a “temporary occupancy permit,” which lasted for 30 days. The temporary occupancy permit was conditioned on them bringing their property into compliance. The have yet to bring their property into compliance with Village Code. The 2023 tax assessment for the property $544,500.00. This assessment is based entirely on the lot size and not any improvements to the property, as the lot was sold for $510,000 on September 16, 2019. Although the neighbors have been residing in a new construction home since 2021, they have not paid any property taxes on the improvements to the property.

In the meantime, Neal’s attorney made some public records requests. He got some information back but suspected some documents were missing. Through third party subpoenas, Attorney Fernholz was able to confirm that the Village Administrator, Laura Roesslein, seemed to intentionally withhold public records.

Paid Advertisement
Howard Skinner – Village President, Twin Lakes
(File Photo by Kevin Mathewson, Kenosha County Eye)

In a sworn deposition Roesslein told lawyers that she consulted with Village president Howard Skinner during this entire process. Skinner is the only Village President known to KCE to wear Nascar hats to Village board meetings.

In a separate by related lawsuit filed by the Neals, now-retired Kenosha County Circuit Court Judge Bruce E. Schroeder had the following to say during a ruling last Fall.

Paid Advertisement

The past practices of the Village of Twin Lakes appear wholly incongruent with the Village code and that inconsistent applications have been made to similarly-situated properties. The Village does not appear to have noted, or even seem concerned about the possibility of inconsistent treatment of homeowners or the identity or supervision of those deviating from the written code.”

That’s what several residents of Twin Lakes told KCE – the Village treats residents differently. They pick and choose which ordinances to enforce, and on who. “This Village Board’s brazen behavior is nothing but cronyism,” said a Twin Lakes Resident, when asked about this matter. In the case of the Neals’ new neighbors, the Village is taking the drastic stop of changing the Village’s ordinances just for the one home. If passed, this would mean that all of the building code violations will not need to be corrected, exposing the Neals and other neighbors to additional runoff water.

KCE contacted each and every member of the Village board and asked them why they spent so much money fighting with the Neals to violate the law. We asked why they are making far-reaching changes in the ordinance just for one home. Not one spoke to us. The timing of the new ordinance may speak for itself. It was published only six days after the judge ruled in the Neal’s favor for $20,000.

The meeting to vote on the new ordinances is scheduled for July 1, 2024 at 6:30 pm. Opponents of the ordinance are encouraging residents to email the Village board and speak at the meeting.

hskinner@twinlakeswi.gov

sbower@twinlakeswi.gov

billkaskin@gmail.com

akarow@twinlakeswi.gov

kperl@twinlakeswi.gov

bandres@twinlakeswi.gov

kfitzgerald@twinlakeswi.gov

Author

Copied!
LATEST NEWS

Village President Agrees Not To Extend Harassment Restraining Order, Cites First Amendment Rights

Rita Bucur, the Village President of Salem Lakes agreed in court today not to extend a harassment restraining order against village resident Dee Grubb. The harassment restraining order was signed on July 10, 2024. Today’s hearing was set to extend the order by four years. The gallery was filled with nearly a dozen of Bucur’s supporters. Grubb, a 51-year-old Salem Lakes resident who was furious with the village board after they refused to take action on a

Read More »

Seven Applicants Apply For Vacant Kenosha County Board Seat, 5th District

Seven residents applied for appointment to the vacant 5th District Kenosha County Board seat, County Board Chairman Monica M. Yuhas announced today. The close of business on Monday, July 22, was the deadline for interested individuals to apply for the appointment. The seven applicants, in alphabetical order, are: David Arrington (D) – Special Educational Teacher, IL – Former County Board Member, Lost By a Large Margin just three months ago James Kendall – 29-Year Retired Kenosha

Read More »
MORE TOP STORIES

Drug-Using Counselor Out On Bail For Allegedly Operating A Firearm While Drunk, Sends KCE 18 Bizarre Emails Starting at 1:00 A.M.

A former foster mom is not happy that KCE wrote an article about her recent arrest and criminal case. So upset, in fact, that she began emailing KCE at 12:57 am on Saturday, July 20, 2024. Jacqueline Covelli-Niccolai, 37, of Kenosha, sent KCE Editor Kevin Mathewson 14 emails in a 3-hour period containing bizarre, questionable, concerning, and explicit emails. Niccolai went on about how a Kenosha nail bar “fucked up” her finger nails and they look

Read More »

Lainey Wilson Headlines County Thunder Wisconsin On Friday: Photos

On Friday night, Lainey Wilson took to the stage at Country Thunder Wisconsin in Twin Lakes as Friday night’s headliner. The 32-year-old county music artist and actress took the stage at 10:00 pm and played more than a dozen songs for many thousands of fans. According to Wilson’s website: GRAMMY® -award-winning and multi-PLATINUM singer songwriter and actress Lainey Wilson has garnered enthusiasm across industries. With her first-ever GRAMMY® win for “Best Country Album,” and as the

Read More »

Apple Holler Kicks Off Early Apple Picking Season Amid “Tropical Wisconsin Weather”

Sturtevant, WI, July 19, 2024 – Apple Holler, the beloved orchard and family farm, announces an exceptionally early start to its apple picking season, thanks to unprecedented “tropical Wisconsin weather conditions”, a mild winter, and a warmer spring than usual. This year, visitors can begin their apple-picking adventures almost two weeks earlier than normal. The season commenced with the harvesting of the crisp Lodi apple. In the coming weeks, apple enthusiasts can look forward to picking

Read More »

Fired KUSD Grooming Teacher Has Trial Set For 22 Counts Of Disorderly Conduct

A fired Kenosha Unified School district teacher, who was fired for grooming a 12-14 year-old student, will face trial on April 21, 2025. He stands accused of 22 counts of disorderly conduct. That is, if the defenses upcoming motions to dismiss are denied. Defense Attorney David Luczak told the court today that he would be filing a motion to dismiss that will be heard on September 23, 2024 at 3:00 pm. The motion must be submitted

Read More »

Indian Trail High School Employee Allowed To Resign During Sexual Assault Allegations, Later Charged With Very Serious Sex Crimes At Another School

Jamill E. Sanders, 36, of Racine, was allowed to resign from the Kenosha Unified School District on May 13, 2022 as an “Educational Support Professional.” While he resigned, he was under investigation from the Kenosha Unified School District for alleged sexual misconduct. He was allowed to resign by KUSD’s HR Director Kevin Neir and William Haithcock, Chief of School Leadership. The district didn’t designate the resignation as “resignation during investigation” or “resignation in lieu of termination”

Read More »

Fired Teacher and Accused Pedophile Calls Police Many Times On Neighbors Who Call Him “Pedophile” And “Perv”: Videos

A Kenosha teacher who was recently fired and charged with 22 criminal counts for allegedly grooming a 12-14 year-old child for sex, has called Kenosha Police three times lately for what he calls “harassment.” Christian Enwright is also being sued by his victim’s parents for “grooming [Holly] for sex.” Enwright called police on May 18, 2024, June 9, 2024 and again on June 10, 2024 to report neighbors and passerby’s driving by and calling him a

Read More »

Kenosha Area Leaders React To Trump Assassination Attempt

Yesterday, July 13, 2024, was an historic day in the United States. A 20-year-old gunman named Thomas Matthew Crooks shot and killed one person and injured the 45th President of the United States, Donald J. Trump, who is also a candidate to be the 47th president. The shots took place during an event in Butler, PA. President Trump released the following statement Saturday evening: “I want to thank The United States Secret Service, and all of

Read More »

Salem Lakes Trustee Who Recently Resigned Due to Health Reasons Passes Away Peacefully

Kathryn “Kelly” Ann Sweeting (née Fallaw), 63, of Wonder Lake, IL, and, in later in life, Salem Lakes, WI, passed away peacefully on Saturday, July 6, 2024. Born in 1960, in Arlington Heights, IL. Sweeting was a beloved mother, sister, daughter aunt, and friend – also to this publication. Kelly resigned her position in April 30th, 2024, due to health reasons saying: “As some of you may be aware, I have entered into a season of

Read More »

City Council President Sexually Harassed Department Head – Mayor Does Nothing And Issues Gag Order

A long-time Alderman, and current City Council President, Jan Michalski made some allegedly sexually-charged and inappropriate comments during a City Committee meeting last month. On or about June 10, 2024, Michalski commented on a female department head’s looks and body when she got up and bent over to turn off the video recording system for the committee meeting. The department head, Katie Elder, was recently appointed to be the director of parks at the City. In

Read More »

Fired Kenosha Unified Teacher Sentenced To Ten Years In Prison, Despite Pleas From Victim And Victim’s Mother

A now-fired Indian Trail High School and Academy (ITA) teacher was sentenced today to ten years in prison for a sexual relationship with an 15-year-old male student at his school. Nathan R. Gardner, 28, of Racine kept his head down in shame for most of the proceedings. Gardner was originally charged with five felonies and faced 97 years in prison. The charges were Possession of Child Pornography, Child Enticement, Use of a Computer To Facilitate a

Read More »
Categories
Archives
Authors

52 Responses

  1. Another deal brokered in a back room of a local tavern along with a coke sniffing party. Twin Lakes; “things like never happen in our town.”

    17
      1. Be more specific if you’re going to toss around accusations about Salem. No specifics = just more bullshit
        from someone scorned in the last admin.

        2
        2
          1. I am certain that it is the same for you. Just let yourself go. Try it. You know you will like it. There are many guys like you who try so hard to hide it. Stop trying to hide it. You will feel so much better once you do.

          2. FINGERS POINT TO “STRAIGHT WHITE MALE”

            what a turd defense mechanism, is PeeWee Herman your role model?

            I know you are but what am I?
            you made fun of me… WAHHHH that means you are a homosexual

  2. Anyone read the drama between sharmain Harris and the moe moe guy? Isn’t sharmain the one with a father being charged for molesting a child?

    1
    1
  3. I hate to see the taxpayers punished like this, but apparently it’s the only way that the taxpayers will learn to vote for someone else, and maybe the taxpayers should look into what legal will recourse they have with people that cost them a fortune. Perhaps a recall is due for people who waste so much money in such a small tax district?

    15
          1. A drink or two will loosen you up, in several ways. Come on man, submit to your fantasy. You know you want to.

            1
            2
    1. No one runs against this guy!! He has had everyone in his pocket for over 20 years! So many back door deals!

      Please Kevin, please dig deeper and don’t let up. What happened with the fire department? We need help here! Everyone that speaks up in this town gets blackballed!

      1. I would be worth investigating all zoning law changes in the village over the last 20 years and see how many are for the specific benefit of an individual with “ties” to the Nascar hat. It wouldn’t be surprising to find out money has exchanged hands under the table for these changes. Someone should dig deeper and uncover all the corruption in the village.

  4. “Skinner is the only Village President known to KCE to wear Nascar hats to Village board meetings.”

    Lol – I love the dig, Kevin.

    9
    1
      1. And while on the news nonetheless regarding Rex!!! Skinner is laughing his azz off thinking he is untouchable!

  5. Guys, who cares? It is just taxpayer money. It is not like it is real money or our money, there is always more.

    7
    2
  6. It’s probably not going to happen but hopefully the tax payers of Twin Lakes show up in droves to the next Town Hall meeting and voice their concerns. If I lived there, I would tell all the hill rods that I’m voting them all out next election cycle.

    1. Yep! Do what Salem did! Vote them out! I wish people in PP would step up and run for office and get these people out! ALL OF THEM!

      11
  7. Karow and FItzgerald are the only two on the board who have a bit of integrity but they have been on the board for so long that the skinner shit may have rubbed off on them.
    The two foot rule that the county put in failed to add a greater distance from the lot line for the runoff to collect before it discharged to the neighbor’s yard. This is not a new instance to the county rule. If you are inside the 1000ft from the water you could get hit with this crap and it is the newcomer who will win. Shame on the county for not making an adjustment in this when it first came up.
    I suggest a lawn decoration on your side of the lot line resembling a cement knee wall to keep the water on the neighborside of the lot line painted with some sort of pretty color on the neighbor side!
    I am glad that I am not the only one who thinks that ‘little boy howie’ is a pr ck.

    1. You are correct in the 2 board members with some integrity. They are the only ones worth keeping!

      No one will run against Skinner, that’s the issue we have here!

  8. This almost sounds like that BS that Bristol has going too!! What’s with these small town good ole boy clubs…… gonna cost $$$$$

  9. I asked skinner to look into the fact that the erosion control fence was installed improperly next to the walking bridge on bayview ave. Nothing was looked into. The channel and the people on the channel do not matter. No fill permits. No erosion control permits. No retaining wall. Let the fill just erode into the channel. Thank you from the 15 home owners and countless kayakers/canoers that happen to enjoy our channel.

  10. Twin Lakes did the exact same thing to us as they’re doing to the Neals. Our neighbor, who was buddies with the Nascar hat, planted trees as a spite fence between our yards all the way to the waterfront blocking half of our view of the lake. We filed a complaint with the village as the village code prohibited side fences exceeding 6′ or something like that, and that trees planted as these trees were, constituted a fence. Pretty standard zoning regulations. After our complaint, we discovered the village altered their zoning laws such that the row of trees was no longer in violation of the zoning laws. Cronyism at its best. We also encountered issues when we built, and the village placed these restrictions on our new construction, but when later we asked for a transcript of that meeting that indicated the extent of the restrictions, the village couldn’t produce anything. More hiding the dirt.

  11. Moved out of Twin Lakes a few years ago and refuse to move back. When the K9 issue was at hand everyone claimed they were gonna vote that creep out but yet here he still is. Maybe people will remember now that it is costing them money. Although I’m sure this is not the first time Skinner has cost taxpayers money. I wonder what this guy does when no one is paying attention.

  12. Take a look at the house elevation and code violations on the new construction on 2nd St. Twin Lakes. Building inspector and Town and Country Engineering should be held accountable for their lack of response. Want the Village Engineer , PE, WI. (outsourced service) to review and report.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

LATEST NEWS
LATEST NEWS
Categories
Archives
Authors

Subscribe to updates

Get notified of new articles. We'll never share your email address.