The weird Wausau ethics investigation that's getting even weirder
Resignations and recusals abound in an investigation that hasn't even gotten started yet
UPDATE: The board was supposed to meet Jan. 24 — but one member was sick, so the meeting was canceled. Exactly as explained in this story, this further drags out an already slow process.
The email itself came as a surprise, and it’s one of those emails that contains news you need to respond to immediately. A letter from the attorney representing County Board Member William Harris, who now is running for judge (but hadn’t yet been announced at that point) accused Deb Ryan, a city council member, of trying to get him fired.
Essentially the letter was the first step in a defamation suit (in this case, slander, since it was verbal). The letter accused Ryan of saying that Harris had provided “illegal” legal advice to Mayor Katie Rosenberg about the A Community for All resolution (presumably the city’s version, which came about after a New York Times story blasting the area.
In the letter, Harris’ attorney explained that not only had he not provided any legal advice to Rosenberg or interfere with the city attorney’s advice in any way, but that it would not be illegal if he had. (And it’s kind of hard to imagine the scenario by which such advice would be illegal.)
The letter went on to explain Ryan’s behavior. According to the letter, Ryan called Harris’ boss at Judicare to complain about this “illegal” legal advice. The boss listened, and later told her she didn’t hear anything that warranted any action against Harris. Incensed (according to the letter), Ryan told the boss, the director of Judicare, that she wouldn’t likely be director very long, the letter says. She then called City Council Member Tom Kilian and repeated those allegations, according to the attorney’s letter.
The letter asked for a public apology for this behavior from Ryan. When one was not forthcoming, Harris filed an ethics complaint against the city. The Ethics Board first met in December to start the process of looking into the complaint.
It might be hard to believe, but things get weirder from there.