March 9, 2014 Leave a comment
So I get this email
Feds likely already on the Racine liquor licensing case
By Bruce Vielmetti of the Journal Sentinel
March 3, 2014
When reputable lawyers sue Racine city officials, tavern league members and a downtown business development group claiming they conspired to run minority bar owners out of business, there are going to be questions.
One of the first from many people who heard about the case’s claims was “Are prosecutors on this?”
Oddly for this sort of blockbuster suit, the lawyers weren’t saying much (perhaps letting a recently screened documentary film tell the plaintiffs’ version) But from a series of “can’t comments,” suggest some government authorities, like the federal Department of Justice, are indeed looking hard at liquor license regulation in Racine, and maybe some campaign finances too.
The lawsuit portrays a racially biased effort by white business owners and downtown Racine boosters to force out the minority tavern owners, or even white tavern owners if their bars attract mostly minority customers. Specifically, it accuses Mayor John Dickert of accepting bribes from those concerns and then using the city’s regulatory and police functions to accomplish that goal. It claims excessive contributions to Dickert’s mayoral campaigns went either unreported or were laundered through his private bank accounts and reported as personal loans to his campaign.
Pretty serious stuff, right? Stuff someone would flag to prosecutors or the FBI?
Racine DA Rich Chiapete said he’s gotten no referrals about anything related to the lawsuit’s claims. The only John Doe proceedings in Racine last year were sought by state prisoners. There is one open John Doe proceeding this year, but all records concering it are sealed.
The state Department of Justice said it’s not involved. Milwaukee U.S. Attorney James Santell’s office offered this: “The U.S. Attorney’s Office has no comment at this time regarding the recently filed law suit alleging discrimination in Racine.”
Maybe the Civil Rights division of the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. is reviewing what’s going on in Racine? “We are declining to comment,” said spokeswoman Dena Iverson.
Martin Kohler, one of the plaintiffs’ attorneys, said the lawyers investigated the case for eight months. He wouldn’t say if they brought their findings to prosecutors’ attention.
Vincent Bobot, a Milwaukee lawyer who represented two of the plaintiffs during their earlier battles with Racine over their liquor licenses, also had little to say when asked about any interest from outside law enforcement.
“I can’t answer that. I’m not at liberty to say,” Bobot said. “You can take from that what you will.”
Bobot did say that he has warned Racine officials repeatedly that the way they were handling liquor licenses was wrong and unlawful. “I told the coucil ‘you’ll get sued and it will cost the city tons of money Dont’ do it.’”
“The facts are only going to get worse for the city of Racine when it goes to depositions,” Bobot predicted. “It’s alarming.”….”
Wow now I have heard that “Others” have talked to the Feds from HUD to Treasury about Racine and the Games the “Others” say are going on.
Then too, I have been told that The FBI is looking into Racine and other strange stories, I am sure you have too, after all this is Racine.
What if the above story from the J-S is on the mark? What then?
Would we know if the Mayor of Racine was talking to the FBI or Department of Treasury or maybe if his Campaign manager or other past staff members were?
If we did know what might that mean? Please note that we are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. How effective would John Dickert be as Mayor?
Then we have his pals, who might flip? After all a 6*10 Cell is small.
Does anyone know any more what might be going on?
Then we have Gary Becker, IMHO I think he has stories to tell and maybe just maybe a deal could be worked out, you never know, do you?