Michael Horne
The Roundup

How Did Peggy Know?

By - May 3rd, 2004 12:00 pm
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According to a sworn statement by Rolf Lindgren, Peggy Lautenschlager knew as early as December 2001 that Sen. Brian Burke, her rival for the democratic nomination as Attorney General “was going to be indicted” for his role in the Senate Caucus Scandal.

Although John Doe probes are conducted in secret, Lautenschlager knew this information seven months in advance of the charges. This has led Burke’s attorney, Jeremy Levinson, to ask that the case against his client be tossed out. Levinson had previously suggested that Burke was the subject of “selective prosecution” in 18 counts of felony misconduct.

Lindgren, a Libertarian, operates the www.caucusscandal.com website, and milwaukeeworld.com spoke to him by telephone from his home in Madison on Saturday.

Lindgren said Lautenschlager gave him the news over cocktails at the Plaza Bar in Madison at a semester’s-end party for UW law students. His then-girlfriend, whom he would not identify by name, was a law student at the time, and Lautenschlager was one of her instructors.

First things first. What was Lautenschlager drinking that night? “She was drinking mixed drinks – cocktails,” said Lindgren, who was active in the Ed Thompson campaign for governor at the time.

What was his reaction? “I was shocked,” Lindgren said. “I was really into the caucus scandal. I had read every article about the caucus scandal at that time, but I had never heard Brian’s name mentioned.

“Wow! This must be bigger than I thought. I was really shocked. I’m no friend of Brian Burke’s, but it’s almost like he’s a scapegoat. Read the charges – they’re really not that bad. Remember, Shirley Krug ran a caucus – Brian didn’t. Thirty-four democrats had their campaign literature written by caucus staffers, but nobody knew anything. This just shows that we need to elect third-party candidates to the legislature.”

How did Levinson find out about Lautenschlager’s comments to Lindgren?

“I called the lawyers and offered my statement.”

Would Lindgren identify his girlfriend?

“I won’t give you the name of my ex-girlfriend, but she is beautiful. She was the cover girl and centerfold for EasyRider Magazine April 2004. Go to www.onemodelplace.com and look her up. She is model 30043.”

An investigation of the website shows that model 30043 is identified as Sandy, of Madison, Wisconsin. She  is 24, weighs 115 pounds, 5ft 7 inches and has the proportions of 34D-23-34. She has long blonde hair, blue eyes and wears size 8 shoes. [See photo] Her credits include the magazine cover, the BikeWorks 2004 calendar and she has “several other calendars in the works.” She describes herself as a “very experienced” “professional” model with “key skills and availability” as an artist’s model, lingerie model, artistic nude model, nude model and “erotic nude” model, among other talents. She is also an actress and a dancer. She did not return an e-mail request for comment by press time.

Onopa Brewery to be Sold

Onopa Brewing Company, 735 E. Center Street will very likely be sold to Julia LaLoggia, owner of Redroom and Barossa. LaLoggia said Friday it is “ninety-nine percent certain” that she will buy the Riverwest brewery. Owner Paul Onopa has told friends he wants to pursue other options. Since he has an advanced degree in poetry, it seems not only natural, but inevitable.

Brewmaster Luther Paul has told friends that he will leave the brewery when it is sold. A likely replacement would be Al Bunde, who was the brewmaster at Stout Brothers until that Water Street brewery closed last year.

By purchasing the business, which is in rented space, LaLoggia will extend her empire into yet a third up-and-coming neighborhood. Redroom opened in 2001 at the intersection of Humboldt and Water Streets. Since then, considerable construction and general improvements have continued in the neighborhood.  An earlier venture, Dish, was a wildly successful dance club in the Walkers Point neighborhood. LaLoggia surprised many, particularly in the lesbian community, when she closed Dish. She has since reopened the location as Barossa, an organic restaurant located at 235 S. Second Street in a building owned by Michael Spooner. That neighborhood has seen considerable improvement lately. Onopa is perhaps the largest tavern in Riverwest, and is located in an area where property values are also increasing.

The brewery recently subleased its restaurant facility to Mary and Andy Bechaud who operate The Bistro at Onopa there, and are expected to remain.

Belling: Developer “Linked to Organized Russian Crime Operation”

Radio talker Mark Belling also spouts off in print in regular columns in Conley Publishing Group papers and on that firm’s website. This week he mentioned our exclusive photo of Peg Lautenschlager drinking at the UW Union on April 14th, but, true to form, did not mention milwaukeeworld.com as his source of knowledge. Belling is used to saying anything he wants on the radio, but in print some of his statements are even more abhorrent.

In this week’s column, done in a quiz format, he enumerates the bad deeds of eleven unnamed aldermen.

Here’s an example: “An 11th [alderman] routinely supports giveaways of city land to an accused felon linked to an organized Russian crime operation.”

What’s this all about? The alderman, of course, is Michael S. D’Amato and the developer is Boris Gokhman. I asked Gokhman about his ties to the Russian mob.

“This guy has been saying these things about me for two years now. I don’t know what his problem is, but he has never spoken to me about anything. He just says this and is expecting that I will lose my temper and speak out. Then he will say that shows I am hiding something, or whatever. So I say nothing, and ignore him.” That’s good advice.

D’Amato’s Double Duty

Six aldermen, out of fifteen, are chairs of Common Council committees. Only one, Alderman Michael S. D’Amato, is the chair of two committees, a most unusual circumstance, and one that has some of his colleagues crying, “foul.” Before the council finally gets down to business, President Willie Hines, who assigns committee placements and chairs may have to rescind one of D’Amato’s chairs.

D’Amato heads the Judiciary and Legislation Committee, the Zoning, Neighborhoods & Development Committee, and is the Vice-Chair of the Finance & Personnel Committee. Those three committees are considered the most powerful and prestigious ones of the Common Council.

Such power, particularly with the Judiciary and Legislation Committee and the Zoning, Neighborhoods & Development Committee, along with the vice-chair position on the Finance & Personnel Committee, put D’Amato in a position to control much of the important business that will likely come before the Council. In fact, his power may exceed that of President Hines.

Aldermen Ashanti Hamilton, James A. Bohl, Jr., Michael McGee, Jr., Willie C. Wade, Robert W. Puente, Joe Dudzik, Terry L. Witkowski and Tony Zielinski do not chair any committees. Bohl, Wade, Dudzik and Witkowski are council veterans, and could be expected to consider a chairmanship a right, particularly since one alderman is hogging two spots. Rookie Robert J. Bauman chairs the Public Improvements Committee. We shall see what happens next.

More Spore

Milwaukeeworld.com broke the news on Thursday that Journal Sentinel Publisher Keith Spore was to retire. [See accompanying story.] Then we went to bed awaiting the news in the next morning’s paper. Rick Rommell got the honors to interview Spore about his retirement. Among the sources for the story were fellow newspaper writers and former colleagues.

One name stood out: H. Carl Mueller. Mueller, president of the public relations company Mueller Communications, said, “I think he’s always been a writer, or a creative writer, at heart.”

Rommell did not have to travel far for the Mueller quote – H. Carl Mueller was in attendance at the company’s annual meeting where the announcement of the Spore retirement was made. The meeting was ostensibly open only to shareholders, which Mueller may be.

Or perhaps there is another reason he was there: Mueller has been a registered lobbyist for Journal Communications since March 5th 2001.

The moral: if you’re looking for somebody to give you a nice quote about your boss, try asking his PR man.

Rommell could have asked Ken Lamke, a former reporter who is a shareholder, and was also present at the meeting. In an earlier version of the story I implied that Lamke was fired after the merger of the Journal and the Sentinel. He called to point out that I was incorrect. In fact, Lamke remained at the paper for some six years until he decided to take early retirement. Lamke, a one-time political reporter who had once interviewed presidents, found himself relegated to writing about suburban governments, an assignment he considered infra dignitatum. Since management refused to offer him assignments more in line with his capabilities, he told me he decided to retire early.

Man With a Proxy: M&I Bank Holds Annual Lovefest

Armed with a stock proxy and a revocable power of attorney, Milwaukeeworld.com headed to the Pabst Theater Tuesday for the 157th  annual meeting of shareholders of the Marshall & Ilsley Corporation. M&I, with $34 billion in assets, is among the top 25 U.S. banks and is among the oldest names in an industry where venerable corporations are routinely gobbled up by companies we’ve never heard of.

Shortly before the 10 a.m. meeting, a number of M&I executives walked as a group from their headquarters at 770 N. Water Street to the Pabst. They looked for traffic in both directions before crossing the one-way Wells Street. Now that’s the kind of banker you want – cautious.

Cudahy’s Pub at the Pabst was filled with shareholders who in turn were filling themselves with muffins, bagels, doughnuts (cut in half – no extravagance here!), juices, coffee and bottled water. It was an older crowd, filled with old-line names, many of them ripped from the pages of the Milwaukee Country Club directory – maybe even the Milwaukee Club directory. Dennis J. Kuester, President and CEO mingled easily with the crowd.

At 10 a.m. the meeting was called to order by Chairman James B. Wigdale. He announced the presence of a quorum, with 81 percent of the shareholders present by proxy or in person. The first order of business, he announced, was the reading of the minutes of last year’s annual meeting.

He was interrupted by the voice of a shareholder in the audience. “Mr. Chairman!,” the man exclaimed.

“Ah yes,” Wigdale said. “I was expecting to hear from you.”

The shareholder continued, “for the 37th year, I move we skip the reading of the minutes.” Motion carried, unanimously.

The Chairman continued with the business of the meeting, introducing the board of directors, all of whom were in attendance, including new member Debra S. Waller, the Chairman of Jockey International. She joins Katherine C. Lyall, the University of Wisconsin Chancellor as the only women represented on the board. As befits an underwear magnate, she took a “brief” bow.

Wigdale then went into a discussion of the bank’s condition, which is very fine indeed. The firm has 12,300 employees, he said, and will add another 350 jobs in Milwaukee with a recent purchase. It has 199 branches in Wisconsin, and others in Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada and Florida, including one in Naples which will be so convenient for many of the shareholders during the winter.

He explained that M&I, as a financial services company through its Metavante subsidiary sells its goods and services to 60 per cent of the 7,900 banks in the country, a number quite out of proportion to its size.

In fact, Wigdale joked, “You can name somebody president, elect a board of directors and we can supply nearly everything else you need to run a bank.” This national focus is quite different from his early days in the bank when “we used to joke that an international loan at M&I was a loan in Illinois.”

The bank will repurchase 6 million shares of its stock this year, adding to the 17,112,296 shares of itself that it already owns.

“And now, for the news you’ve all been waiting for,” he said, “we will raise our dividend from 70 cents a share to 81 cents a share annually, for a 16.7 per cent increase. This is the 32nd consecutive year that we have raised our dividend.”

That’s the kind of new money news Old Money shareholders like to hear. The shareholders also learned that Dennis Kuester will be meeting with Alan Greenspan this week in his capacity as a member of the Federal Reserve Advisory Board, which is quite an honor.

Then it was the shareholders’ turn to ask questions of management, and these ran the usual gamut including an inquiry as to whether the Metavante division would be spun off. (No.)

Then, in a poignant moment, an 87-year old gentleman whose father was both a Civil War veteran and a former Wisconsin Governor suggested the board could use more women members. He figured the ideal candidate would be a member of the bank’s founding family, and nominated Mary Ilsley, the wife of Robert A. Uihlein Sr.

The old money crowd gasped and elbowed each other. Why, everybody knows that Mary Ilsley Uihlein has been dead for decades.

The meeting was adjourned.

Marquette Criminologists Celebrate

The Wisconsin Club was the site of the 13th annual Criminology and Law Studies Awards Dinner Wednesday. The event, organized by Dr. Mary Ann Farkas, featured Nannette H. Hegerty, the Chief of Police of the Milwaukee Police Department who received the Lex et Justicia Award. Mayor Tom Barrett popped in to make a few remarks. As he left the building, headed out the north door where the Courthouse loomed in the background, somebody mentioned that Barrett’s brother John Barrett is the Clerk of Courts there. That’s certainly a job involved with criminology. “Well, I have more grey hairs than he does,” said Barrett, who is only likely to become even more grizzled as his term wears on.

The event was studded with some major law enforcement types, including representatives of the FBI, Homeland Security, the United States Attorney’s office and other dignitaries, including Ald. Robert Bauman. Jodine Depisch, the Warden of Taycheeda was in attendance, as was Peg Kendrigan, the top administrator of the Department of Corrections in Milwaukee and D. Michael Guerin, who we told you last week is the President-Elect of the State Bar Association. David G. Hatch was there, as was Dr. George Palermo, the distinguished forensic psychiatrist. The Criminology and Law Studies faculty operates in the Department of Social & Cultural Sciences at the university.

The Cheney Motorcade

Vice President Dick Cheney was in town Friday, April 30th for a $1,000 a plate luncheon at the Pfister Hotel, and Milwaukeewold.com had ringside seats – to watch his motorcade depart at about 1:15 p.m. The vantage point was the DeLind Gallery of Fine Art at 400 E. Mason Street, where the windows afforded an excellent view of the motorcade and all its attendant commotion. All major vehicle groups were present, including a battery of Harley-Davidson motorcycles, a fire truck, an ambulance, police cars by the score, armored limousines and horses. A bright orange Coast Guard helicopter flown in from Chicago circled above. In fact, add a bulldozer and it would have been a seven-year old’s delight.

horne@milwaukeeworld.com

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