Wisconsin State Journal

Here Are Summaries Of Deals Biskupic Made

Sunday, July 13, 2003
Dee J. Hall and Andy Hall Wisconsin State Journal

Outagamie County District Attorney Vince Biskupic made deals with individuals in exchange for large donations in both charged and uncharged cases. The uncharged cases were kept secret. No documents were filed in court and no judge reviewed the deals.

In the charged cases, Biskupic sometimes kept his deals secret even from the judges hearing the cases.

Here are examples of both charged and uncharged deals, drawn from documents obtained by the Wisconsin State Journal under the open records law and a review of court and police records. In some cases, Biskupic and his successor, Carrie Schneider, withheld the names of the potential defendants and key information, such as attorneys' names, alleged crime and the amount of the donations.

All of the deals included donations to a local police agency, anti-crime group or Biskupic's DA Crime Prevention and Awards fund, over which Biskupic had sole control. None of the deals called for restitution to the alleged victims.

Uncharged

* 1996: Floyd Banks avoids a felony charge of perjury for allegedly lying in a divorce case by paying $5,000 to four police and court programs. Eight others who don't sign deals are charged and convicted -- seven for felonies and an eighth for a misdemeanor.

* 1997: An unnamed individual agrees to pay $2,000 to a fund Biskupic controlled in his office. The individual avoids unspecified drug charges. Biskupic withheld the name of the individual and the attorney.

* 1999: Two Appleton North High School students avoid charges for allegedly vandalizing the school. One pays $500 to the Harbor House domestic-abuse shelter and agrees to 200 hours of community service. The other pays $2,500 in "donations," including $800 to Beat the Heat, a police anti-crime program.

* 2000: A Green Bay sign executive avoids charges of criminal damage to property and grand theft by paying $8,000 to Harbor House. John Mortensen told the State Journal in an October 2002 interview that he felt "shaken down" by Biskupic. The case stemmed from a business dispute with a car wash that Mortensen said was resolved nearly two years earlier. Mortensen said the investigator, Steve Malchow of Biskupic's office, is a friend of the car wash owner, Dale Lamine. Said Mortensen: "He (Lamine) had friends in the DA's office and, boy, they came after us hard." Both Lamine and Malchow refused comment.

In an October interview, Biskupic denied that he coerced Mortensen. "That's an agreement, and this was negotiated between two lawyers," Biskupic said.

* 2000: A 35-year-old corporate executive from out of state pays $6,000 to Harbor House to avoid charges of disorderly conduct and obstructing an officer. The man, who asked not to be identified, recently told the newspaper he was innocent of any crime but felt he had to pay the money to protect his reputation. The case involved alleged obscene phone calls to an 18-year-old woman. The Appleton Police Department reports don't mention the nature, timing and number of the calls and the name of the alleged victim.

* 2000: James Evans, who owns a Maywood, Ill., contracting firm, avoids felony charges of making a forged document and lying to the FBI in a bank robbery case after agreeing to cooperate with the FBI and paying $3,200, including $1,000 to Biskupic's fund and $2,200 to area police agencies. Scott Lassar, then-U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, said in a March 27, 2000, letter to Biskupic that "since you expect to charge James Evans in Outagamie County with certain state offenses, this office agrees not to file any federal charges in this district against Mr. Evans relating to his alleged illegal activities." The current Outagamie County district attorney, Carrie Schneider, said Evans died in March.

* 2001: A student at a private college agrees to pay $1,800, including $1,300 to area police agencies and $500 to Biskupic's fund, to avoid charges of marijuana possession. The defendant's father told the State Journal he was pleased with the outcome.

* 2001: Two men, one a former Little Chute resident and the other an Appleton dentist, avoid charges of patronizing a prostitute by each paying $1,100 to Biskupic's UW-Madison intern account and $400 to the Appleton Police Department. The payments were to repay the costs of a John Doe investigation run by Biskupic into an alleged prostitution ring operated by Timothy and Todd Ulmen, who were convicted of pandering in Outagamie County.

* 2001: Biskupic strikes a deal but keeps all details of it secret. In records released to the State Journal, Biskupic blacked out the individual's name, the alleged crime, the amount of money and the person's attorney. No reason for the deletions is given.

* 2001: An unnamed individual involved in a drug case pays $2,800 to Biskupic's fund. The name of the person's lawyer also is deleted in records released to the newspaper.

* 2002: Another Appleton dentist avoids unspecified charges for allegedly attempting to kiss a job applicant by paying $2,000 to a Menasha sexual-assault crisis center and agreeing to counseling. Police reports say the victim reported that the dentist "stopped when she said no and she was not touched inappropriately." Both the dentist and his attorney declined comment.

Charged

* 1996: Gary Stein, 49, of Appleton, charged with importing child pornography, has his charges reduced to attempted importation of child pornography after agreeing to $10,000 in donations, including $1,000 to Biskupic's fund. The deal is OK'd by Judge James Bayorgeon.

* 1998: While serving as a special prosecutor for Winnebago County, Biskupic recommends that a charge of disorderly conduct be dismissed against prominent Oshkosh car dealer Arthur Pommerening, 66, after Pommerening agrees to pay $600 to Biskupic's fund. The criminal complaint alleges Pommerening attacked a motorist in a road-rage incident.

* 1999: Glen Gostas, 37, of Appleton, has a charge of theft from employment dismissed after agreeing to make $5,000 in donations, including $925 to Biskupic's fund. The deal, struck with Gostas and his attorney, is kept secret from the judge in the case, John Des Jardins. Court documents show Gostas, a delivery driver, acknowledged taking $14,000 from his employer and its clients.

* 2001: Biskupic strikes a secret deal with a Lawrence University student, Sean Kilgore, 20, to withdraw three felony trafficking counts for selling $60 -- half an ounce -- of marijuana and replace them with misdemeanor possession charges after Kilgore agrees to give $4,000 to Beat the Heat, a police anti-crime group. The deal with the Eagan, Minn., man is kept secret from Judge Michael Gage and is reached after a state law takes effect banning prosecutors from lowering or dismissing charges in exchange for crime-prevention donations.



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