Thursday, April 18, 2024
HomeTown of Grand ChutePress Release from Chairman Van Eperen to the Residents of Grand Chute

Press Release from Chairman Van Eperen to the Residents of Grand Chute

[Note: The original press release and its attachments are available here.]

It is important for me to address the public to ensure complete transparency in what is going on in Grand Chute.

Following a lengthy and thorough investigation by the Department of Justice that I understand commenced more than two years ago, only one charge was issued to Town Board Supervisor Ronald Wolff and Mr. Wolff was recently determined by a jury of his peers to be not guilty of that charge.

Meanwhile, a faceless political hate group that call themselves the “Concerned Citizens of Grand Chute” has accused me and other Board members of engaging in practices that violate open meeting laws. I am not aware of any of any such violations. All closed session agenda items for Town Board meetings are prepared by the Town’s legal counsel. However, as I learned, a complaint was filed with the Outagamie County District Attorney’s office on October 26, 2023, the day after this group assembled a meeting at the American Legion in Grand Chute.

This is the second time this group assembled; the first time was at the Grand Chute Town Center Park in August of 2023. What I find to be appalling is that this complaint is essentially a waste of State resources to protest the Town Board for terminating James March’s employment contract with the Town.

David Schowalter, Eric Davidson, and Bruce Sherman are all former Town Board members who served during a period of time when many residents questioned the integrity of the Board. Also, on this list of signatures is Tim Bantes, a candidate for Town Board Supervisor. It is very disappointing that Mr. Bantes would choose to engage in such behavior with the intent to use taxpayer money and the DA’s office as a political weapon to advance his campaign.

What is also interesting with the complaint signature page is that a few members of the League of Women Voters (LVW)of Appleton-Fox Cities, including the LVW of Appleton-Fox Cities President is showing support to this nonsense. LWV representatives question why candidates for some political races don’t want to participate in debates they sponsor. This behavior explains why. (See signature list below DOJ 002288 and DOJ 002289)

I learned that a senior living facility was planning on hosting a “meet and greet” for Tim Bantes. I found out it was later cancelled when a resident inquired about the enclosed meeting announcement sign that was going to be placed in the newsletter of the senior living center. In addition, were the free coffee and donuts being provided as an incentive for residents to vote for Mr. Bantes? Why did Tim Bantes represent himself as a Town Board Supervisor? Was this an attempt to confuse our senior citizen residents?

The accompanying picture of Mr. Bantes and then candidate Beth English shows that a similar activity occurred in 2023. Why would Mr. Bantes choose to engage in this type of behavior?

Tim Bantes has chosen to make statements about there being “many lawsuits and ethics investigations against some Town Board members.” What Mr. Bantes fails to reveal, however, is that all the lawsuits and complaints that he references have been started by individuals who are interested in seeing me, Supervisor Ron Wolff, and Supervisor Jeff Ings removed from the Town Board so things can go back to how they had been under former Town Chairman Dave Schowalter.

Here are the facts to support the reality of Mr. Bantes actions:

  • The Department of Justice investigation of Supervisor Ron Wolff was started by Brad Gehring, a friend of former Chairman Schowalter.
  • Brad Gehring supported and (perhaps encouraged) former Town Administrator James March to file a lawsuit against the Town and three of its Board members.
  • The complaint with the Brown County District Attorney’s office against the current Board was signed by Mr. Bantes and his associates, including former Town Chairman Schowalter. This is simply a political stunt to gain media attention.
  • The ethics complaint made by Connie Raether and Patti Clark-Stojke will be dismissed. Supervisor Ings not only acted in the best interest of the Town, but he judiciously obtained legal advice from multiple municipal attorneys before taking action in order to ensure that his actions were beyond reproach. Ms. Raether and Ms. Clark-Stojke are known supporters of Mr. Bantes, Mr. Showalter, and Mr. Gehring.

All of the above referenced lawsuits and complaints were filed by Mr. Bantes’ associates, yet he chooses to place blame improperly and deceitfully on current Board members.

I am extremely disappointed that individuals who took an oath to act in the best interest of the Town have engaged in this type of reprehensible behavior which has greatly hindered and interfered with the efforts of our Town government. This includes former Fire Chief Tim Bantes, former Chairman Dave Showalter, Supervisor Brad Gehring, former Town Administrator James March, and others who associated with them. I also need to question their motives and why are they engaging in this type of behavior? What is the endgame?

This evidence strongly suggests that this group of people are engaging in questionable or improperly acting, then blaming these actions on certain members serving on the Town Board.

In addition to the “Concerned Citizens of Grand Chute” complaint that was filed by Mr. Bantes and others with Outagamie County DA’s office (which I understand was forwarded to the Brown County DA’s due to a conflict) and the James March lawsuit, there was also an ethics complaint filed by Connie Raether and Patti Clark-Stojke against Supervisor Jeff Ings.

All of these matters are calculated attempts to create the illusion of distrust in the current Town Board. That illusion is not reality, and I hope the citizens of Grand Chute can see past the smoke and mirrors being displayed by this group of individuals.

Sincerely,

Jason Van Eperen
Chairman, Town of Grand Chute

 

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2 COMMENTS

  1. I have been a resident of Grand Chute for about 11 years. I attended my first Town Board meeting last week. The reason I did was because I am appalled at the distrust that has been exhibited by the former and current town board in each other. How can this group effectively represent citizens of Grand Chute? It is one thing to disagree with each other on a variety of issues but it has gone way beyond that with certain members of the board. I will express my displeasure at the upcoming elections.

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