Jeramey Jannene
Eyes on Milwaukee

The Man Behind Bob Donovan

Steve Schumacher handles all social media for mayoral hopeful. He also has a criminal record.

By - Jul 22nd, 2015 01:03 pm
Bob Donovan on Social Media

Bob Donovan on Social Media

Alderman and mayoral candidate Robert Donovan has always been a master of issuing press releases and getting TV cameras to show up, but ever since launching his campaign for mayor he’s taken things to a new level. Donovan has become a prolific user of social media. That’s remarkable, for as one alderman told me in 2012, perhaps with a bit of hyperbole, Donovan “does not use computers” and doesn’t even handle email. So how did this sudden embrace of the last 30 years of technology happen?

Enter the man behind the voice, Steve Schumacher. Starting in April, Donovan’s July campaign finance report lists $5,000 in payments going towards Schumacher for the stated purpose of “Social Media Director” and later “Campaign Manager and Social Media Services.” The @DonovanforMayor Twitter account and the Bob Donovan for Mayor Facebook page have been mighty active in that time.

Who is Steve Schumacher? Besides being an expert at capturing the unique personality of Bob Donovan in Twitter’s 140 characters or less, Schumacher previously served as the social media manager for Sobelman’s Pub. Sobelman’s owner Dave Sobelman is a prominent opponent of the Milwaukee Streetcar, a project Donovan has long opposed. Sobelman has also donated $500 to Donovan’s mayoral campaign.

Schumacher had a strange run-in with the law in 2012 when he and his brother-in-law David Downer were found guilty in Waukesha County Circuit Court of three counts of attempted theft by misrepresentation — passing themselves off as newspaper deliverers for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Schumacher and Downer had solicited tips from the newspaper’s subscribers by placing a card in their mailboxes during the Christmas season that said it was a pleasure delivering papers and included an address that was actually a mailbox at a UPS Store in Pewaukee. Police recovered 22 cards at the UPS Store containing $678 within a week of the cards being delivered. Schumacher, who worked at the distribution center for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel at the time, pleaded no contest to the charges and was fined $1,199.48.

Schumacher also appears on a list of Wisconsin deliquent taxpayers with $28,209.17 owed in back income taxes.

All of this raises the question: is Schumacher also the man behind the Stop the Milwaukee Streetcar Facebook page? The page is run by an anonymous figure who seems to have good access to Donovan (photo from his office) and Sobelman (photo). The page was prolific in opposing the project and supporting a petition drive prior to the project’s approval in February, but has been a bit more subdued since then. Schumacher also appears to be Facebook friends with many of the anti-streetcar candidates the page has promoted, including Chris Wiken and Michael Olen. Wiken, owner of The Packing House, has pledged to move from Brookfield to Milwaukee to challenge alderman Terry Witkowski. Olen intends to challenge council president Michael Murphy, but has yet to file a campaign finance report. We’ve tried to contact Schumacher and will update this story if we hear from him.

Odds and Ends

  • Joe Davis Sr., a fellow alderman and mayoral candidate, can’t be left out of any discussion of campaign social media. Davis was possibly the first council member to start using Twitter back in August 2009, and has 603 followers today. Apparently someone told him when he ran for mayor he needed to up his game, so he created a new account and somehow ended up with 295,000 followers. He’s either become quite the celebrity almost overnight, or uses a third-party service to purchase a lot of followers with inactive accounts.
  • Donovan for Mayor is certainly doing well raising funds from strip clubs. Silk Exotic co-owner Jon Ferraro gave Donovan $500 on May 20th and Sandra Hay, co-owner of On the Border, gave Donovan $1,000 on April 2nd.
  • Donovan has always been the leading council proponent of the police, but he’s also a tenant, it turns out. The campaign wrote a check to the Milwaukee Police Supervisor’s Organization at 2900 W. Forest Home Ave. for the purpose of “First month’s rent for office space” on June 30th.

11 thoughts on “Eyes on Milwaukee: The Man Behind Bob Donovan”

  1. Ryan says:

    All we really know is Donovan is sleazy and for the good of the city he needs to be defeated alongside Borkowski, Olen (if he runs) and the carpetbagger Wikin.

    God help us all of Donovan becomes mayor and any of the other candidates winning would be awful too. This coming from a conservative, all these gets are crazy and shouldn’t be allowed near public office.

  2. PMD says:

    Mr. Law & Order would never associate with a criminal would he?

  3. Dave says:

    I am SHOCKED that people of such character as Bob Donovan and Dave Sobelman would associate with such a dirtbag! Oh wait, no I’m not. More proof that people who want Bob Donovan to be their Mayor or hand over their cash to Dave Sobelman for an over priced, over hyped bloody are not only dumb, but probably scum bags.

  4. Beer Baron says:

    Is it me or do the police officers need to explain themselves on their backing a candidate with quite a bizarre criminal past who seems to be hiring others with bizarre criminal pasts to run parts of his campaign.

    Why is no one asking the PD who is supposed to stand AGAINST criminals in the community why they’re embracing people with criminal acts in their past in order to try and beat a mayor who literally stood up against a criminal?

    Tells you a lot about the current state of our rank and file in MPD and why there should be a purge of the ranks.

  5. Dave says:

    “Tells you a lot about the current state of our rank and file in MPD and why there should be a purge of the ranks.”

    Yes it does. And don’t forget MFD either. These two groups of city employees eat up over half our city budget yet constantly seek to undermine our elected officials and openly trash the city that more than handsomely rewards them with salary, benefits and absurd retirement allowances.

  6. Will says:

    I agree with PMD and Beer Baron. People guilty of misdemeanors shouldn’t be allowed to work, they should just live off the govt and sleep under bridges. I say this as someone who has never made a mistake. #Progress

  7. PMD says:

    The troll returns! That’s not even close to what I said. But A+ for distortion and hyperbole. You are skilled in those departments. #NotaTrueLiberal #Troll

  8. Beer Baron says:

    I don’t think you’re getting the point here, Will. The guy sure can work, BUT if you’re police, you clearly know this guy is so honorable he ran an all out scam to try and steal from people through flagrant fraud. He’s also apparently a tax deadbeat. Now Dave Sobleman is a private business owner (with a subpar burger with terrible service IMHO) but he can hire a tax deadbeat and guy who ran a scam no problems.

    However, if you’re an alderman (who got ticketed for straight up trying to diddle a complete stranger in a bathroom) who hires a tax deadbeat and guy who scams from the poor, you shouldn’t be honored by the police, a group who are supposed to stop scammers AND stop sexual assaults from happening. It’s disgusting and it’s one of the reasons why so many in the community have so little respect anymore for the rank and file. It’s hard to take the police at their word when most of them just rip the city and sue to leave instead of trying to make it a better place both in their professional and personal lives, and then support candidates with very criminal pasts.

  9. PMD says:

    He doesn’t care about the point Beer Baron. He’s a troll.

  10. Bill Kurtz says:

    If the city is fighting for its life, the police union is the fifth column. As for Bob Donovan, he and his supporters seem to wish they’ll go to sleep some night and wake up in 1955.

  11. Matt says:

    “He has a criminal record” is merely a way of saying you don’t like him. Its “journalism” designed to elevate the idea that not getting caught committing a crime is evidence of virtue. It is a key tool for white people, who never get caught because no one ever looks. Congrats on perpetuating bullshit.

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