- The Washington Times - Monday, June 23, 2003

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Mayor John Norquist will leave office three months early to take a job in Chicago leading an urban development organization, ending a term clouded by an extramarital affair and a harassment settlement with one of his staffers.

Mr. Norquist will become president and chief executive officer of the Congress for the New Urbanism on Jan. 1, the mayor’s communications director, Steve Filmanowicz, said yesterday. The mayor was to leave office next April.

Mr. Norquist is the nation’s longest-serving mayor for a city of more than 500,000. He announced last year that he would not seek re-election for a fifth term, after he settled the sexual harassment case brought by the former aide.

He has admitted having an affair with the woman but has denied sexually harassing her. He agreed to use campaign funds and his own money to pay the $375,000 settlement, rather than have taxpayers pay the bill.

The scandal was the first of several to shake Wisconsin politics. There have been accusations of corruption in City Hall and the state Capitol.

Last week, a Milwaukee alderman accused of embezzling from his campaign fund and falsifying spending reports was convicted of mail fraud. Two others charged in a federal corruption investigation into City Hall have pleaded guilty and resigned.

Five state legislators have been charged with felonies in an investigation of illegal campaigning at the Capitol. Seven Milwaukee County supervisors were recalled from office and the executive resigned after a feud over pensions.

The nonprofit organization that Mr. Norquist will lead aims to stop sprawl, create environmentally sustainable neighborhoods and break down social segregation, said Steven Bodzin, the organization’s communications director.

“While serving as mayor for more than 15 years, I’ve seen the power that urban design has to reform neighborhoods,” Mr. Norquist said in a statement.

Mr. Norquist has served on the group’s board since 1994 and is among the organization’s founders. It was founded 10 years ago.

Common Council President Marvin Pratt will become acting mayor from January until the regular elections in April.

In his remaining months as mayor, Mr. Norquist said, he would work with the Common Council on a budget for the city, which is facing a $20 million deficit.

Mr. Norquist spared the city the cost of a special election by delaying his resignation until December. No special election is called when a mayor leaves office within 120 days of the end of a term, according to the city charter.

Mr. Pratt and former U.S. Rep. Tom Barrett are among the candidates in the nonpartisan mayoral race next year.

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