Thursday, August 6, 2020

Why I Voted For John Weishan For Milwaukee County Register Of Deeds

Due to COVID-19 and Trump's absolute failure in addressing the global pandemic and because of the Wisconsin Republicans not only failing but making the issue worse, my wife and I took the wise route of requesting absentee ballots for the upcoming elections early on. We received, filled out and mailed in our ballots a month before next week's election on August 11. 

When we received the ballots, it was a bit anti-climatic to find that the only contested primary race was for the Milwaukee County Register of Deeds. Not the sexiest race to be sure. The race is between the "incumbent" Israel Ramon and Milwaukee County Supervisor John Weishan. 

Ramon was appointed to the position of May 2019 by Governor Evers at the strong urging of  Chris "Boss" Abele.  The previous Register, John La Fave, stepped down in disgrace during a federal investigation into questionable dealings with two companies, Superior Support Resources, Inc. and Fidlar technologies. Earlier this year, La Fave entered a guilty plea in his dealings with Superior Support Resources.  These dealings were as corrupt as hell:
La Fave, in short, has agreed to plead to orchestrating a scheme to set up a personal slush fund so he could pay vendors of his choosing without having to abide by county rules. It does not appear that he pocketed any of these funds. 
The charging document puts it this way: "At La Fave's direction, Business A held much of this money on account for La Fave to use outside of the county budgeting and procurement processes." 
In his deal with prosecutors, La Fave has agreed to admit that he "obtained and attempted to obtain at least $89,000" through the scheme. That sum amounts to a special fee, similar to a bonus, that Business A was paid for its role in managing the invoices for third-party vendors. 
The documents do not identify the contractor, but it must be Superior Support Resources Inc., a Brookfield company that processed documents for his office. An affidavit for a federal search warrant last year said La Fave asked Superior Support for false invoices over several years.
Fidlar is still under investigation. 
Despite Fidlar's possible involvement with another corrupt scheme with La Fave, Ramon approached the Milwaukee County Board last year asking for more money to give to Fidlar. Wisely, and following precedent, the request was shot down first by the Finance Committee and then by the Board as a whole.

The Milwaukee County Register of Deeds won't have the funds to complete a contract with Fidlar Technologies after the County Board declined to release the money because of the ongoing criminal investigation into the dealings of the office's former leader.

"This, I think, is a terrifically dangerous vote, if we vote for this," said Supervisor James "Luigi" Schmitt, chair of the county finance committee, during Thursday's meeting of the County Board of Supervisors.

Schmitt cited the ongoing investigation and said the board has stopped contracts over much less serious matters.
Now, I'm not accusing Ramon of any misdeeds like those his predecessor made, but to make such a request is very unwise and ill-advised.  It continues to cast a cloud on the Register of Deeds Office when they can least afford it.

This is why I voted for Weishan in this primary.  We need someone who has shown discipline and has a thorough understanding of how the County works.  He will be able to restore integrity to that office and build the confidence that is so desperately needed now.

Despite Ramon's claims of restoring integrity and transparency, he has failed in the year and a half that he has held that position.

I encourage you, Milwaukee County voter, to ignore the establishment protecting one of its own and make the the wise decision of casting your ballot for John Weishan.

No comments:

Post a Comment