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HomeTown of Grand ChuteSupport Ron Wolff in Court on Friday, January 26

Support Ron Wolff in Court on Friday, January 26

Reporter Duke Behnke’s first words in a Feb. 18, 2019 Post-Crescent article were, “Grand Chute – Imagine opening the mail and seeing a bill for $286,577.”  This happened to Ron Wolff, small business owner of Lakeshore Cleaners Inc. It also happened to 160 other residential and small business owners that same year for a total amount of $3,200,000 of special assessments for road work abutting their properties.  This special assessment policy had been in effect for approximately 25 years, even though many Grand Chute residents had spoken out against special assessing this work, and even though there was growing awareness that special assessments might be violating the law.

When Ron Wolff received his special assessment of $286,577, he decided to talk with his neighbors and try to stop special assessments.  While Ron could have simply filed a lawsuit on his own behalf, he wanted to help prevent others from being harmed by special assessments.  Therefore, he decided to run for the Grand Chute Town Board.  He won his April 2021 election by a margin of (65% – 35%).

Today, five years after standing up to the former government, Ron Wolff is in court for allegedly having his company perform work for the Town of Grand Chute in 2021 in violation of a state statute that prohibits elected officials from having an interest in a public contract of more than $15,000.  This charge was levied by the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) following a two-year investigation of Ron Wolff and his family that included an armed raid on three of Ron Wolff’s properties.

The DOJ investigation mysteriously began in September of 2021 after a complaint was filed against Ron Wolff with the Outagamie County District Attorney by fellow Board member (and former Outagamie County Sheriff) Brad Gehring.  Mr. Gehring’s complaint alleged that Ron Wolff was not a Grand Chute resident, and therefore, could not serve on the Town Board.  It also included a broad and non-descript allegation of ‘misconduct in office.

Mr. Gehring filed this complaint with the District Attorney after filing a residency complaint against Ron Wolff with the Grand Chute Town Clerk in August of 2021.  The Clerk had dismissed Mr. Gehring’s complaint by ruling in favor of Ron Wolff.  This was the second time the Town Clerk determined that Ron Wolff was a Grand Chute resident, and therefore, was eligible to serve on the Board.  The first ruling was made when Ron Wolff filed his nomination papers for the April 2021 election.  Therefore, the complaint Mr. Gehring brought to the District Attorney primarily involved a residency complaint that had already been decided upon twice by a qualified Grand Chute Clerk who had received legal assistance from the Grand Chute Town Attorney.  It is important to recognize that the District Attorney Mr. Gehring took his complaint to is an individual he has had a long-standing relationship with from his time as County Sheriff.  The fact that the District Attorney would accept Mr. Gehring’s complaint would appear to involve a conflict of interest.

The ‘misconduct in office’ charge included in Mr. Gehring’s complaint appears to have “provided the means” for the DOJ to raid Ron Wolff’s properties in March of 2022.

Concerning the DOJ charge against Ron Wolff, I believe the former Grand Chute Town Administrator, who was a holdover who had served the previous Board (that had refused to put an end to special assessments), was extremely upset with Ron Wolff’s election to the Town Board, and worked with Mr. Gehring (who obviously wanted Ron Wolff off of the Board) and others to knowingly mislead Ron Wolff to believe there would not be a problem if his company, Lakeshore Cleaners, would perform the work the Town needed to have done.

If the charges against Wolff are not dismissed, then this case goes to trial.

Date:                      Friday, January 26, 2024
Time:                     10:00 AM
Location:               Outagamie County Courthouse (320 S. Walnut Street, Appleton)
Courtroom:            Branch 1
Presiding Judge:   Mark McGinnis

The reason I have shared all the above information with you is because I believe this should take Center Stage for all of us.  This is right here in our community.  Whether you live in Grand Chute or Appleton, by attending this court case we are sending a powerful message to more than just Grand Chute. It will impact both elected officials and department heads serving in local government. We need to pack this courtroom showing support for Grand Chute Supervisor Ron Wolff in order to send a powerful message to our local and state government officials.

I’m hoping and praying that many of you will attend, if at all possible, to do so.

Thank you.

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