Friday, March 23, 2012

Walkergate: The Rindfleisch Transcripts

As I mention in Walkergate: Trouble In Paradise, Part 1 and Part 2, I referred to a set of transcripts that the Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office had entered as evidence in the case against Kelly Rindfleisch.

Rindfleisch is fighting the charges she is facing by asking to have her case dismissed outright and by seeking a change of venue to Colombia County.  The purpose of these partial transcripts are presumably to show that Rindfleisch was fully aware of the residency requirements for being employed by Milwaukee County and to strengthen the already strong case that she committed the crimes she is accused of.

Until Dan Bice of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel posted the transcripts online for all to read, people were limited to to what the paper was reporting.

Steve Schultze, also of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel did a bang up job reporting on part of the transcripts, including how Kelly Rindfleisch and Jim Villa had great expectations for the roles they would play in Scott Walker's administration when he became governor.  He also told us how these two thought that Tim Russell was on Walker's bad side, although I'm not sure that's the correct interpretation of events.

But there are some interesting tidbits that either Schultze or his editors felt weren't newsworthy.

First, I would have to stop and say that these partial transcripts are infuriatingly frustrating in the sense that they are Wisconsin's greatest teases.  For example, at the bottom of page 5, the DA is questioning Villa about Rindfleisch and they have this exchange:
Q: Do you know how it came to pass that she was hired in the County Executive's Office in        2010, based upon your personal knowledge? 
A: Yes. 
Q: How did it come to pass?
And that's where they end.  It's like the season finale of one of your favorite TV shows and now you have to wait an indefinite amount of time before you find out how it comes out.

A few pages later (page 11), in the questioning, there is another teaser that indicates that Cindy Archer might have had a hand in the illegal politicking, which would not be a surprise.  I've already pointed out a communication that Cory Liebmann had found in which Archer email Walker at his campaign address as well as Walker's campaign consultant R. J. Johnson.

On the top of page 12, there is another interesting exchange between Rindfleisch and Villa.  As one of Cog Dis' astute readers had already pointed out:
Something very interesting: 
1147 FRI 05MAR2010 
Rindfleisch: Quick question, is Gerry Geishart one of your members? 
Villa: Don't think so. 
Rindfleisch: Ok.Would any of your members know what a hotel would lease for? (end of chat)
Who is Gery Geishart? He is a realtor who buys and sells properties, many of which deal directly with counties. Why is a County Executive Deputy Chief of Staff asking the former County Executive Chief of Staff? Turns out, Villa is now President of the Commercial Association of Wisconsin Realtors, thus Geishart could be "one of Villa's members". What else do we know? Andrew Jensen, a different realtor, was given immunity in the John Doe investigation and later arrested for failure to comply with authorities. Anything else suspicious? The lawyers Walker hired specialize in real estate and complex criminal law.
So, I guess the real question is, why would hotel lease costs motivate Rindfleisch to ask Villa about Geishart? I suppose the county could be interested in leasing one of Geishart's properties, assuming he is the current owner. But why? The other details seem to paint a picture of the County Executive's Office being accused of engaging in some form of real estate shenanigans. These chat transcripts are the first physical documents that link the Executive's Office, Walker's Campaign, and real estate dealings.

For more information on the real estate stuff, you can see what I've already written here.

The next interesting tidbit comes on the bottom of page 13, where the last arrow is pointing:
rellyk (Rindfleisch): and then I got Fran highlighting all the mistakes in the press releases that the campaign does
Fran would be Fran McLaughlin, who was Walker's spokeswoman as county executive.  Yet another name to add to the corruption list.  What is also interesting, at least for Milwaukeeans, is that McLaughlin currently is the Public Information Officer for Sheriff David Clarke, a pompous ass that has aligned himself with the teahadists and other conservative nut jobs and is more interested in politicking than actually performing the duties of his office.  One has to wonder if McLaughlin got waived through the normal screening process and background check before Clarke gave her this political appointment.

The really curious thing about the article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article is that there is not one single mention of McLaughlin or her involvement.  Why was her name omitted?

The last item involves the last few pages of the transcripts.  It shows part of the questioning of one Andrea Boom as well as a series of online chats between Boom and Rindfleisch.  Rindfleisch and Boom knew each other for years when they worked together at Wisconsin Association of Health Plans.

Andrea Boom:
Is that Walker's web of
lies she's stuck in?
The chats included were mundane chatter about Boom's apparently troubled home life and such, but do show Rindfleisch knowingly lying on official documents (her employment papers) regarding where she lived and that Milwaukee has a residency requirement.

But in the various exchanges are some interesting things.  One being that a yet-to-be-identified former GOP female state senator had held a fund raiser for Tom Barrett, who was, of course, Walker's gubernatorial opponent.  I have the greatest minds in the kingdom working on figuring this out as I write this.

The very last page shows a series of discussions in which Rindfleisch is trying to talk her old chum into taking  a new job in Milwaukee County so they could hang together and campaign together, or something.  That didn't pan out, but what is sure to be more than pure coincidence, shortly after Walker was elected, Boom ended up getting a new job as the Finance Director for Walker's campaign.

But the thing that leaves me still chortling is that, according to the court records, is that Boom is going to get a whopping $47.60 for witness fees.

Yup, Boom sold out her good friend and benefactor for less than $50.  It goes to show you what price Republicans put on friendship and loyalty.  They'll sell you out in a heartbeat if they can make a buck doing so.

It's not unlike the way that Scott Walker and WISGOP treat Wisconsin and its citizens.

For some other thought-provoking insights into this, check out Jud Loundsbury's take on the transcripts.


  1. Riveting analysis. Thanks.

  2. Greatest minds in the kingdom? lol.

  3. Good analysis, but I'm guessing Boom's witness fees were probably for mileage, not in exchange for testifying. I guess there's at least one benefit to living in the burbs :)

    Considering that just about everyone working for Scott seems to have testified, every day of work must be incredibly awkward for these people.

  4. Damn Cog, keep up the great work, so many people collaborating together makes this all read like a great crime novel... Walker and clan better start getting their affairs in order! The question is no longer IF, but rather, WHEN the indictments start coming down.

  5. So when Scott Walker hired Andrea Boom to be Finance Director of his campaign did he know she had testified? I suppose she's safe from retaliation as a witness.

    1. Q: When did Andrea Boom start working for Walker and in what position? The press release and the linked in profile don't seem to agree. It's either April 2011- or December 2011, or two positions and the two dates?

  6. The former GOP state senator? My bet is Peggy Rosenzweig.

  7. This is a little off topic, but does anybody know the significance of Cindy Archer asking Van Hollen for a job? Does it have anything to do with the John Doe?

  8. Earlier Walker's people, or maybe Walker himself, tried to indicate that these campaign aides had done all this politicking on county time on their own, but it doesn't appear to be the case in these transcripts. KellyR seems to know about a certain aspect of things and not about other things.

  9. My guess is that Scott Walker fears Cindy Archer. He has to keep her "satisfied" enough with a high paying job, but far enough away to keep her toxicity away from his position (hence the job in political Siberia). She knows it, too, which is why she is bold enough to ask for a different, higher-paying job. If I were Scooter, I'd be alarmed that the witness I want far-away from me appears to not be satisfied with her current high-paying job.

    What Scooter should REALLY be alarmed about is the number of exhibits and emails and text chats and phone calls that the FBI has been able to recover from Milw Co. backup data files. That is something that Scott Walker's attorneys would NOT have access to at the present matter how highly paid those lawyers are. No. I think that Scott Walker's lawyers are spending all their time with Scooter coaching him on how to explain or answer to all the possible questions he got (or will get) from the DA.

    BTW - Does anyone know if Scott Walker has or will be questioned in front of the Grand Jury or whether he will or can claim Executive Privilege, or, if his lawyers would fight to prevent him from testifying in front of the Grand Jury? That is, has he been asked in to the DAs office only -- without testifying before the Grand Jury?

  10. maybe this is a dumb question but: Does an elected official retain executive priveledge after leaving an office?

  11. With respect to the real estate dealing within the County Executive's office, I believe the below points really add to the discussion:

    From the Milwaukee County website:

    "...leases of County-owned real estate and appurtenances are administered by the Department of Public Works..."

    "...The Real Estate Services Section (Part of Public Works) administers the leasing, acquisition and disposition of a wide variety of buildings and vacant property owned by Milwaukee County. Real Estate Services is specifically responsible for marketing, negotiating and selling excess County-owned properties..."

    At least from the website, the Executive's Office doesn't seem to deal with procurement, property, or leasing...thus reinforcing the question, "What motivated Rindfleisch to inquire about hotel leasing and realtors"?

  12. You left out a couple nuggets:

    1. Tom is an idiot (p.11)

    2. Villa's lawyer seems to be "Levinson", which would be Jeremy I presume, who usually is representing Democrats in political matters. I would worry about Villa if I were a governor.

    3. "Scott won't let me do the things I want to do to fuck her over... And he [Villa]said we're still going to fuck her over... we just aren't going to tell Scott."

    Andrea Boom responds "NICE"

    Who are they talking about? Gotta be Kleefisch, right? If so, Joel should unfriend her on facebook.

    1. 1) I did the Nardelli aspect in the last post.

      2) Likewise, Maistelman is normally repping Dems as well. Villa and Russell should both be big concerns.

      3) There's a lot of debate about that. It could be Rosenzweig.

    2. I read that as two different people being discussed.

      Too bad there is a page of the transcript missing (jumps from 116869 to 116871). Could there be someone both Boom and Rindfleisch want to retaliate against?

      Boom: "NICE!"
      rellyk: "that'll feel so good"
      Boom: "I'll be cheering you on too!"
      Was this politically linked, or was the grudge extracurricular? Whose calendar was Boom keeping at the time of the chat?

    3. No question the two are discussing Rosenzweig in the portion that begins with rellyk revealing that walker cancelled a meeting with a former GOP senator who hosted the Barrett fundraiser.

      No question in my mind that the previous exchange is another different revenge job of some sort. Want 116870.