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BREAKING-Did city, officials violate open meetings laws?



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May 20, 2010 | 10:13 AM
Last Wednesday, just before filing their amended lawsuit against the city in federal court, Geneva Ridge Joint Venture filed a verified complaint with the Walworth County District Attorney's Office citing numerous open meetings law violations by the city of Lake Geneva and its officials.

Geneva Ridge Joint Venture attorneys state in their complaint that private meetings were held between certain city officials and special interest groups, that officials improperly communicated by e-mail among themselves and with others concerning opposition to their development and that private, ex parte meetings were held. They claim the instances were all violations of Wisconsin Open Meetings law.

The 11-page complaint also cites a closed session meeting held on Oct. 6 that was never convened in open session, which they state is a violation of Wisconsin statute.

"Upon information and belief, through closed door meetings and back hall conversations, the individual respondents intentionally undermined the process of fair, factual and objective decision making in government in the city, instead foring illicit, behind the scenes agreements with political action committees, affluent property owners, and others, to prevent the orderly and permissible development of the property.

"To assure this outcome, the individual respondents, individually and collectively, ignored, avoided and violated applicable city ordinances and laws of the state of Wisconsin, including Wisconsin's open meetings law, effectively rendering city government in Lake Geneva a tool of special interest groups and personal agendas."

The complaint lists the defendants as the city of Lake Geneva, Gary Dunham, Arleen Krohn, Tom Spellman, Bill Chesen, Todd Krause, Mary Jo Fesenmaier, Penny Roehrer, Don Tolar, Frank Marsala, Don Rutkowski, Al Kupsik, Tom Hartz, Matt Kuehl and Dennis Lyon.

Read much more on this story and some of the e-mails in next week's Regional News.

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