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Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Milwaukee/ Henningsen indicted on 5 federal counts

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Blogger Bob said...

U.S. accuses Alderman of extortion, dipping into campaign fund

By GINA BARTON and GREG J. BOROWSKI
gbarton@journalsentinel.com
Posted: Jan. 15, 2003
Milwaukee Ald. Paul Henningsen shook down developers of planned housing for disabled people, embezzled from his campaign fund and falsified campaign finance reports, according to a federal indictment filed against him Tuesday.

U.S. Attorney Steven M. Biskupic, Assistant U.S. Attorney Mel S. Johnson and Milwaukee FBI agent Jeffrey Troy hold a news conference at the federal courthouse Tuesday announcing the indictment of Ald. Paul Henningsen on one felony count of extortion and four felony counts of mail fraud.


The Charges

EXTORTION: Henningsen is accused of soliciting campaign contributions from Revitalize Milwaukee, a real estate development group, in exchange for supporting one of its projects.

MAIL FRAUD (four counts): He is accused of soliciting contributions to his campaign fund and then using the money for other purposes. He is accused of writing more than 90 checks on his campaign account, for more than $15,000, to "cash," and other checks to his wife and to pay rent on a Glendale apartment. He also is accused of filing false campaign reports.

Scandal Timeline

Before Tuesday's indictment of Ald. Paul Henningsen on extortion and mail fraud charges, the Milwaukee area was still recovering from a year of political scandal.

Milwaukee Ald. Rosa Cameron resigned in October after she was indicted on federal charges of misusing federal block grant money.
Also in October, the state caucus investigation resulted in felony charges against the top leaders in the Legislature - Senate Majority Leader Chuck Chvala (D-Madison) and Assembly Speaker Scott Jensen (R-Town of Brookfield) - among others.

Earlier, state Sen. Brian Burke (D-Milwaukee) was charged with 18 felony counts tied to illegal campaigning.

The city settled sexual harassment allegations against Mayor John O. Norquist, who said he would not run for a fifth term in 2004.
As a result of the Milwaukee County pension scandal, former County Executive F. Thomas Ament resigned in February, seven supervisors lost recall elections, including Board Chairman Karen Ordinans; and an architect of the pension plan, Gary Dobbert, was charged with three felony counts of misconduct in office.

Henningsen, chair of the powerful Zoning, Neighborhoods and Development Committee and a Common Council member for nearly 20 years, faces five felonies: one count of extortion and four counts of mail fraud.

Henningsen became the second Milwaukee alderman indicted in four months, as part of an ongoing FBI corruption investigation at City Hall. Last fall, former council member Rosa Cameron pleaded guilty to misusing federal block grant money and resigned.

Although it contains only one extortion count, the indictment suggests that Henningsen, 56, also extorted campaign contributions and direct cash payments from numerous others in exchange for his help with city property sales, zoning permits and liquor licenses.

Henningsen, who represents downtown, faces up to 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000 if convicted.

U.S. Attorney Steven M. Biskupic said the FBI corruption investigation isn't over.

"We have received dozens of leads related to City Hall in the past few months," he said.

Henningsen's attorney, Dennis Coffey, said his client is unlikely to step down as chairman of the zoning committee or from the council.

Coffey questioned whether the allegations amount to a violation of federal law. If anything, Coffey said, they would seem to fall in the realm of state campaign finance laws.

"Our point is he did not violate federal law," Coffey said. "I expect him to contest the prosecution."

Envelopes at City Hall
The indictment accuses Henningsen of extorting campaign contributions from three members of Revitalize Milwaukee, a real estate development group. The document describes a meeting between Henningsen and the group members on Feb. 4, 2002.

As the meeting ended, the indictment charges, Henningsen followed two of the men out of his office and gave them envelopes and instructions to use them for campaign contributions of $375 each - the maximum allowed from one person during a four-year election cycle. He slipped a third envelope into one man's pocket, telling him it was for the third man, who had left the meeting early. He also told them not to pay the money until after the housing project was discussed at the zoning committee meeting the following day, according to the indictment.

Common Council President Marvin Pratt said Henningsen once told him that he should keep envelopes in his coat pocket so that if he ran into a supporter he could just pull out the envelope and give it to the person, presumably for a donation.

"I never did that, and I'm not sure if he did," said Pratt, who expressed disappointment at the charges against Henningsen.

Soliciting campaign contributions -even legitimate ones - inside City Hall is illegal.

The mail fraud counts allege that Henningsen, who serves as his own campaign treasurer, defrauded contributors to his aldermanic campaign fund by using more than $15,000 for other purposes. The counts allege that fraudulently obtained contributions came to Henningsen via the U.S. mail.

Biskupic would not say where the bulk of the money went, but the indictment mentions that $900 was used to pay rent on a Glendale apartment. Between Jan. 1, 2001, and July 22, 2002, Henningsen is accused of writing 90 checks from his campaign fund to "cash," and someto his wife.

In addition, Henningsen falsified campaign finance reports, according to the indictment. For example, on July 22, 2002, Henningsen publicly represented that his re-election campaign account had a balance of $23,218.20. The account balance was really $37.37.

Revitalize Milwaukee, the development group at the center of the extortion charge, consists largely of officers or members of the Apartment Association of Southeastern Wisconsin.

"They were the victims," Biskupic said. "In order to have their matter fairly reviewed, they were instructed to make campaign contributions."

The group, created in January 2002, planned to buy 22 vacant lots from the city - for $1 each - to construct 12 duplexes on them, according to city records. The houses were to be built for low-income residents, with the first-floor unit in each wheelchair accessible.

The lots were located in four aldermanic districts, two on the north side and two on the south side, but none in Henningsen's downtown district.

After unanimous approval from Henningsen's committee, the measure was approved 16-0 by the full council on Feb. 12, 2002. But the city never closed on the deal because the sale was contingent on the group receiving low-income tax credits from the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Association.

A WHEDA spokesman said the group applied for about $305,000 in federal tax credits, but its application was turned down. Spokesman Ron Legro said one reason could have been the size of the payment request, which was fairly high for the size of the project.

Revitalize Milwaukee, a limited liability corporation, includes Tim Ballering, Jeffrey Chitko, Tom O'Brien, David Ohrmundt and Heiner Giese, according to city records. Giese, who was not one of the three members at the February meeting with Henningsen, said Tuesday that he was not aware of other aldermen making similar requests for campaign contributions.

"Other aldermen indicated they supported it and they supported it strongly," Giese said.

Asked why Henningsen's support would have been critical, Giese said: "Theoretically, you could say it had to get passed by his committee."

Other members of Revitalize Milwaukee could not be reached Tuesday.

At City Hall, news of the indictment was met with shock and surprise.

While Pratt said Henningsen remains innocent until proven guilty, when asked to speculate on what might have been his possible motives, Pratt said: "I don't know why he did it."

"It's not a good day for the city," said a grim-faced Ald. Jim Bohl. " . . . I certainly just hope there's no truth to it."

Ald. Bob Donovan said he was shocked by the severity of the charges. "I know Paul. He's hardworking and experienced, and I feel sorry for him and his family."

Ald. Willie Hines said, "I guess we'll just have to stay tuned for the fallout."

Hines and Donovan were on the committee that approved the Revitalize Milwaukee project. Both said Tuesday they didn't remember it.

No Cameron connection
Biskupic said Tuesday's indictment did notstem from testimony provided by Cameron, who pleaded guilty to misusing federal block grant money last fall. She admitted using money meant for the Williamsburg Heights neighborhood group on her 2000 election campaign.

As part of a plea agreement, Cameron resigned from the council and agreed to assist in the ongoing investigation. Federal prosecutors plan to recommend that she serve 16 months in prison when she is sentenced Feb. 14.

Biskupic said the new charges were the result of an FBI investigation into City Hall financial transactions.

"To be effective, public officials must talk with their constituents," said Jeffrey Troy, assistant special agent in charge of the FBI's Milwaukee office. "However, we all know that money talks, too."

FBI agents have also interviewed Pratt and an aide to Ald. Fred Gordon. Biskupic said he expects the investigation to continue for another two to three months. He would not confirm whether more officials would be indicted.

Georgia Pabst of the Journal Sentinel staff contributed to this report.

8:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank You Bob

This is just what people need at this time.
With all the New Development planed in the Twin City area.
The high-way 35 bridge developer with a apparent kick back to someone's campaign or just their own pockets.
Minneapolis City Council Dean Zimmermann took a bribe.
The New Twins Ballpark is still up in the air, the air alerts in Minneapolis will put the stoppers on it because of the cover up about the air alerts and the hole where the stadium is to be built.
Did any one see the Leslie Davis Show tonight?
Catch next weeks show .. Tuesdays 7 pm.
They are offering the ALWAYS CHEAT book on Leslie's on the show.

Bill

9:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Go fuck yourself Dahn. We're not interested in selling your crack pot books here. What is so hard for you to stay on the subject Bill without trying to turn everything into something about you? Were your born a asshole or do you have to work real hard at it?

10:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

10:25PM

Extortion, falsified campaign finance reports, accused of filing false campaign reports.18 felony counts tied to illegal campaigning.
a real estate development group, in exchange for supporting one of its projects.
planned housing for disabled people,misusing federal block grant money.The city settled sexual harassment allegations against Mayor John O. Norquist. Henningsen, chair of the powerful Zoning, Neighborhoods and Development Committee and a Common Council member for nearly 20 years, faces five felonies: one count of extortion and four counts of mail fraud.

dose the truth hurt.Did you read Leslie's book.
when ya step on some peoples toes they scream loud.
Good work Bob
Bill

5:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Speaking of campaign reports, I don't know that I ever saw a copy of yours being filed Bill.

How do we know that you haven't been getting all sorts of campaign cash that you aren't reporting when you don't file any finance reports?

JMONTOMEPPOF

Chuck Repke

8:23 AM  
Blogger Sharon Anderson said...

Politicans like billdahn.com and leslie davis.org are hard to come by to expose Politicians Pollutions
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/793612621?z00m=10311819

Please sign Petition for Clean Water
It is no wonder Fortune magazine calls water the oil of the 21st century - "the precious commodity that determines the wealth of nations."

12:40 PM  
Anonymous Bill Dahn said...

To JMONTOMEPPOF
Chuck Repke
8:23 AM



Thanks Chuck
You evidently don't know the campaign laws as good as you thought?
Apparently City Council people and their staff know how to swindle the system, with or without the honest hands in the pot.

1st. If you do not get any money, then you do not have to file a campaign finance report.

2nd. If you do not spend any money on your campaign, then you do not have to file a report.

This is according to the Ramsey County Finance Office. on Kellogg Blvd. in St.Paul

To all the Democratic people that helped cover the fact that Ramsey Action Program aka RAP used insulation that was band in Canada, and RAP purchased for pennies on the $$$$ Dollar and was reimbursed
$$$$ Dollars on the "penny".


HAY.

DON'T STEAL, >>
THE GOVERNMENT HATES COMPITITION


Bill Dahn
WWW.BILLDAHN.COM

4:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bill if you never file a report, how does anyone know that?

No, cab fair, no bus fair, no personal expenses...

No cost for anything that you ever had printed that you used your own money for?

You spent $50 to file so you were half way there in July.

The law is that once you raise or spend $100 you must file the report. It gives campaigns a deadline as to when they better have a campaign report on file.

It doesn't say that if you never raise that amount of money and you have been on the ballot that you are excused from filing a final report.

JMONTOMEPPOF

Chuck Repke

9:38 AM  
Anonymous Bill Dahn said...

Chuck
Bill Dahn here to say,
I am smarter then you in a lot of ways.
$50.00 filing fee and nothing else.
My $50 buck screw up the system and that shows that Sharon and Bill's $50 did get our web sites and blogs seen by many people.
Thune and the other candidates spent a lot of money to get their issues heard, Sharon and I just talked to the public and typed a few e-mails.
I don't ever take contributions, and I just talk to people to get the few votes I get.
I don't even have business cards, that would be nice to have and hand out with my web site.
I just write my web site on any small piece of paper around at the time, to show the letter to Dean Barkley from RAP, and tell people to watch the 2 minute movie of Jesse and his co conspirator Dean Barkley at my home.
The law didn't protect me from this big goon coming to my home and scaring me to do what he and Dean had planed before they came.
So -- Jesse and Dean and others in Jesse's campaign conspired this hole act before they came to my home on July 19,1998.
www.billdahn.com has more power because its out there getting watched and people are contacting me about it.
THE DFL pays Dave's way because he is the best at what he dose for the Dumb F Liars, and Thune is all three of that.
In a town of Dumb F Liars aka DFL, they need the best at it.
You tell people that you were in about 100 campaigns in your life, that show that people that suck up to the DFL gets "grants" and other things to help them without a strait out pay off.
Did you suck up to Susan Kimberly also? she sure is one ugly thing!
All you people in City government must have a desire for strange things.
Next we will read how Thune was hanging out "down by the river" and a officer arrested him, and he will "come" up with a excuses like Norm's daddy.
"BOY" would that be interesting, he would tell the news that he was just showing some investors some prime property.
I did "file a report last year" as I ran.
So get your facts strait, you and Thune are the reason that I ran for governor in 1998.
If you and the people that slide money under handed help me with my home, no one would even know who Bill Dahn is.
You remember that I stuttered badly, but now I can out talk almost anyone.

www.billdahn.com

www.billdahn.com

www.billdahn.com

www.billdahn.com

Thanks Chuck for helping me get the story out about the bad work that was done by RAP and their so called professionals on my nice home in 1995.


Winners Never Quit
And
Quitters Never Win


www.billdahn.com

7:06 AM  

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