- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 15, 2003

MILWAUKEE, Jan. 15 (UPI) — A Milwaukee alderman Wednesday faced federal charges of shaking down developers, embezzling campaign funds and falsifying campaign finance reports.

Alderman Paul Henningsen, chairman of the Common Council committee that oversees zoning and development, was indicted on extortion and mail fraud charges — the second Milwaukee alderman in four months to be accused of corruption.

Former Alderman Rosa Cameron pleaded guilty to misusing federal block grant money as part of a federal investigation at City Hall. Investigators said the cases were not related. U.S. Attorney Steven M. Biskupic said the investigation is continuing.

The federal indictment against Henningsen, 56, alleges he extorted campaign contributions and bribes in exchange for help with property sales, zoning permits and liquor licenses.

Henningsen allegedly extorted campaign contributions from three men associated with the Revitalize Milwaukee development group during a City Hall meeting. He also is accused of siphoning off $15,000 in campaign contributions for other purposes, some of which was used to pay rent on an apartment.

Henningsen's attorney, Dennis Coffey, said he expects his client to contest the charges and not to resign from the council.

If convicted, Henningsen could face 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

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