Michael Horne
Plenty of Horne

Ambulance Chasing Lawyer Chases Abele

Plus: Bud Selig’s birthday bash and where will new Journal CEO live?

By - Aug 1st, 2014 01:56 pm
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Chris Abele

Chris Abele

Peter Francis Geraci, well-known from his ubiquitous television advertisements, is one of those ambulance-chasing debt-relieving attorneys who scouts for clients even before their financial crash has happened.

At the end of June a court commissioner threw out a suit filed by longtime activist Bob Braun against County Executive Chris Abele over the county’s granting of marriage licenses to same-sex couples. But the mere filing of Braun’s lawsuit simultaneously triggered a mechanism in the Chicago offices of Geraci and an advertising notice was sent to Abele at his courthouse address via mail.

“Chris, court records indicate that ROBERT BRAUN filed a lawsuit against you on June 11, 2014. Let’s find out if you qualify to Consolidate or Eliminate debt with Chapter 13 or Chapter 7,” the postcard read.

Not so fast, Attorney Geraci!

Following a federal judge’s ruling that gays could marry in the state, Abele kept the courthouse open after-hours to process the license applications, paying some $10,000 of overtime costs out of his own, ample pocket. So he hardly needs to file for bankruptcy. Abele is one of three children of John Abele, the founder of Boston Scientific. Although the senior Abele’s net worth has slipped a bit over the past year, at $2.7 billion it is still sufficient to earn him the 258th spot on the Forbes list of the world’s richest people.

So, attorney Geraci, you could have saved your postage stamp on this one.

Let’s Find a Home for Journal Media’s New CEO

One of the more unusual quotes from the announcement of the merger of Journal Communications and E. W. Scripps Co. comes from Scripps chief Richard A. Boehne’s assessment of Timothy E. Stautberg, who is headed to town to become CEO of the new Journal Media: “He is an incredible amount of fun and people will like him,” Bourne said. [This alone will set Stautberg apart from his predecessors.]

Bourne went on: “When it comes (time) for the United Way karaoke contest in the office, he’ll be an enthusiastic participant.”

This is yet another remarkable comment, since sing-a-longs at 4th and State traditionally have been more like funeral dirges. The place is just not constitutionally designed for fun.

But before Stautberg begins to jolly up the newsroom, he’ll have to expend some of his energy on finding a home in his new city.

Currently, Stautberg lives in a 10 room, 3,579 square foot home with a market value of $526,210. The residence is in the exclusive community of Terrace Park, Ohio, the wealthiest suburb in the greater Cincinnati metro area, with average household income of $140,752. Terrace Park is 98.1 percent white, and is about 15 miles from Strautberg’s current office in downtown Cincinnati.

If Stautberg wants to replicate his domestic situation in his new town, he will have ample opportunities in Milwaukee, one of the nation’s most segregated metropolitan areas. Based on his current living situation and commuting distance, I would suggest that Mr. Strautberg begin (and likely end) his home search in the North Shore.

River Hills, with his $188,000 annual income would feel like home to him — except the typical lot there is about 10 times the size of those in Terrace Park, and River Hills is only 85 percent white.

Perhaps Mequon, with its 91 percent white population and 97 percent homeownership rate would also be a good fit for the Stautbergs and their four sons.

One big, big difference though: Terrace Park has bus service to downtown. Mequon and River Hills don’t. Perhaps Whitefish Bay might be a good choice, since it does have transit and smaller lot sizes, along with a splendid history of occupancy by previous Journal Sentinel plutocrats.

Bud’s Big Bayside Birthday

Crews have been working nearly around the clock for days preparing the residence of Bud Selig and his wife Sue Selig for a big party tonight to celebrate the Commissioner of Major League Baseball’s 80th birthday. Selig, a House Confidential Honoree, will host a magnificent celebration, a recent sneak peak of the preparations suggests.

Tents have been erected throughout the grounds, which include those of a neighboring home demolished for the expansion of the southeast Bayside residence. The property is lighted, and the landscaping is lush for the event as an air of expectation grows throughout the tiny village. Who knows, this might top Ted Kellner’s Milwaukee Theater gig featuring Rod Stewart!

Bud paid a visit to the 80th birthday celebration of Hank Aaron. Will #44 return the favor?

Party Preparation

Donna’s Way

Wood Lily

Wood Lily

The County Board voted yesterday to name the walkway from N. Prospect Ave. and E. Brady St. to the lakefront after Donna Schlieman, a preservation activist who died last year. The resolution was sponsored by Supervisor Gerry Broderick. Gail Fitch, a friend of Schlieman, led the charge for the tribute after asking for suggestions for an appropriate memorial. Other sites considered included the walkway to the lake further south on Prospect, and a street in the former Pabst Brewery area. Instead the nameless Brady Street walkway will now bear her name. …

At the other end of Brady Street, the Swing Park at the Holton Marsupial Bridge has been livelier than ever before with the installation of new swings and improved surfaces. DJs routinely set up their equipment for free performances. Take a close look behind the fence to the north of the swing park for a rare treat — a Wood Lily in full bloom. This is a native plant, usually found in well-drained soils. The plant may have come from seeds long buried at the site of the former Gallun Tannery. In any event, it is a surprise sighting. Now, if only some work could be done to control the nearby Prairie Garden running from Brady Street to the Swing Park. It has been overrun with invasive grasses and weeds, and could certainly use a good cleaning on a regular basis.

Swing Park

Journal Sentinel Ignores RW24; Kovac’s New Home

With the exception of a passing mention in a story about the Swing Park by Mary Louise Schumacher, the Journal Sentinel offered no coverage of the very important Riverwest 24 last week. This community event brought out people of all sorts to watch the bicyclists and each other.

It is a truly community event: organizers have turned away advertisers and promoters eager to reach the Riverwest audience. Instead, with minimal signage and just a few barricades, the event was almost zenlike — clean and spare, with the focus on the setting and the participants and the distractions few.

Ald. Nik Kovac was in the thick of the event, running with his team, the City Haulers. The Haulers, including DPW head Ghassan Korban, City Engineer Jeff Polenske, Chief Planning and Developments Engineer Michael Loughran, Sustainability Director Matt Howard, and Finance and Planning Manager Patrick Hartmann made their base at Kovac’s new home. The 3rd district alderman, who formerly rented a crib on E. Center St. and was accorded a House Confidential honor, purchased a single-family dwelling in the 2900 block of N. Bremen St. earlier this year.

Photos From the 2014 Riverwest 24

Categories: Politics

3 thoughts on “Plenty of Horne: Ambulance Chasing Lawyer Chases Abele”

  1. Janice Lichter says:

    Michael….loved your column today. Actually, love all your columns…always interesting and fun to read.

  2. Frank Harvey says:

    Terrace Park, Ohio the wealthiest suburb in Cincy? I think the people of Indian Hill might have something to say about that. Indian Hill Median income 211K, the average family income in Indian Hill is $350,000, median home price is $935,000 there is over 1,000 homes valued at over 1M in Indian Hill. I know this is like River Hills -vs Chenequa.

  3. Marjorie says:

    You spelled Boehne as Bourne twice. Spellchecker got a mind of its own?

    My take: Scripps will buy the whole thing back a few years from now once the papers start making money and acquire more papers, and Scripps buys all the broadcast stations they want, There’s more than one way to raise your ranking among national media. One is to fly under the radar until you are ready and then do a merge and wham! Notice how Scripps finagled to have their man in charge to make sure that the Scripps papers continue on with their mission instead of being yanked in some other direction.

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