Linn township group, Care for Lake Geneva filed a complaint in Walworth County Circuit Court against the City of Lake Geneva over violations of Wisconsin Open Meetings Statutes. In recent years the city has conducted a larger and larger amount of their business in “Closed Session”. According to City officials what goes on in Closed Session is secret and can not EVER be reveled to the public, unless the council so desires. The complaint alleges the City “did not provide notice that the City Council intended, in open or in closed session, to discuss or consider a proposal that would bind the City to amend the Comprehensive Master Plan.”
The alleged violations relate to an agreement the City made with developers of the “Hummel Property”, proposed very large development bordering on three sides by Linn Township, which was stopped by a referendum taken in the City of Lake Geneva. The developers then filed multiple lawsuits against the City and people who organized opposition to them. The City settled the lawsuits by paying the developers $2.1M and agreed to a “Confidential Memorandum of Understanding” that Care for Lake Geneva ( CLG ) had to file rite of mandamus to force the City to make public.
CFL submitted a complaint to Walworth County District Attorney Daniel Necci with respect to the violations of Wisconsin’s Open Meetings Law. More than 20 days have passed and Mr. Necci has failed to commence and action to enforce the law, so CFL filed suit on behalf of the State of Wisconsin.
” Care for Lake Geneva, Inc. requests that judgment be entered in its favor and against the City of Lake Geneva as follows:
- Declaring that the City Council violated Wisconsin’s Open Meetings Law as alleged in this complaint;
- Declaring that the Memorandum is void pursuant to Wis. Stat. § 19.97;
- Awarding CLG its actual and necessary costs of prosecuting this action, including reasonable attorney’s fees”.
CFL is not seeking any monetary damages only legal fee associated with the claim, but in the complaint claims:
- “The public interest in voiding the Memorandum outweighs the public interest in sustaining the validity of the Memorandum, because the citizens of Lake Geneva have a substantial interest in the approved uses for land in the City. The citizens of Lake Geneva were deprived of that right because the City Council considered and voted upon the Memorandum, which bound the City to amend the Comprehensive Master Plan, without providing the notice required under Wisconsin’s Open Meetings Law.”
The attorneys for CLF are the law firm from Milwaukee Foley & Lardner LLP.
Spokesmen for CFL are Casey Schiche from Lake Geneva and Dick Melmin from Linn Township.
In an unrelated issue, Dick Melmin N19111 South Lake Shore Drive, filed a complaint against misrepresentation and fraudulent advertizing in the recent Spring Alderman election of Dennis Lyons against his “friend” Mary Jo Fesenmaier in the 4th District. According to Melmin the flyer put out by Dennis Lyons had Lake Geneva Fire Department “boldly displayed in red letters across the middle” and implied “an endorsement of the candidate,” which helped “swing an election which I believed it did in this case, the only greater benefit greater would be for a local church to endorse a candidate.” The Fire Department did not in this election endorse any candidates. The 4th Alderman Distinct is gerrymandered around the politically powerful Immanuel Lutheran Church which has many union firefighters as members.