By Associated Press - Wednesday, July 9, 2014
Documents released related to Walker probe

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Newly unsealed documents in the ongoing lawsuit challenging an investigation into possible illegal campaign activity by conservative groups and Gov. Scott Walker’s 2012 recall campaign shed little light on the probe.

The documents were released publicly Wednesday by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, over an objection from conservative group Wisconsin Club for Growth which wanted to keep them secret.

The group argued that since the federal court judge overseeing the lawsuit had not released them yet, the appeals court should not circumvent him. But it acknowledged the documents were likely to be unsealed by the judge.

The newly released material includes portions of arguments made by special prosecutor Francis Schmitz and investigator Dean Nickel as to why they should be immune from being sued by Wisconsin Club for Growth.


2 companies that outsourced jobs got state money

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - At least two companies that received money from Gov. Scott Walker’s chief economic development agency later outsourced jobs to foreign countries.

WKOW-TV reported Wednesday ( ) that one of the companies received a second award from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation after the fact.

Both Eaton Corporation and Plexus Corporation received millions of dollars in financial awards from WEDC, only to later lay off workers whose jobs were taken by employees at the companies’ foreign facilities.

WEDC spokesman Mark Maley says “even the loss of one job in Wisconsin is one too many” and WEDC routinely works closely with companies that are considering other options to ensure that those jobs stay in the state.


Information from: WKOW-TV, https://www.wkow.com


Suitcase bodies suspect dodged discipline as cop

WEST ALLIS, Wis. (AP) - The suspect in the deaths of two women whose bodies were found in suitcases dumped along a rural Wisconsin highway resigned his job as a police officer to avoid discipline amid allegations of stalking, lying and abuse of power, according to personnel records released Wednesday.

Multiple women told investigators with the West Allis Police Department that Steven Zelich showed up at their work while on duty, pestered them for dates and used his position to get personal information, including home phone numbers. Several women told investigators they feared for their safety or that of their children.

“Over the last few months, a very distinct pattern has developed,” then-Chief Dean Puschnig said in a draft of charges dated Aug. 8, 2001. “Every complaint is very similar in nature and involves young women. He has engaged in inappropriate actions with a known prostitute. While he has been on duty in his police uniform, Officer Zelich has asked numerous young women to go on dates with him. All of these women have felt intimidated and pressured into giving out their phone numbers and other personal information because he is a police officer in uniform.”

Zelich resigned less than two weeks later to avoid charges being filed with the city’s Police and Fire Commission. The move allowed him to later pass criminal background checks and obtain a private security license from the state.

Zelich was working a security officer when he was arrested June 25, weeks after the bodies of Jenny Gamez, a 19-year-old college student from Cottage Grove, Oregon, and Laura Simonson, 37, of Farmington, Minnesota, were found in the discarded suitcases.

A detective testified last week that Zelich said he killed the women accidentally during rough sex and stored their bodies for months in his home and car before dumping them. He has been charged with two counts of hiding a corpse in Walworth County, where the suitcases were found. Authorities have said they expect homicide charges to come in the counties where the women died.

Zelich, 52, worked for the West Allis Police Department for about 12 years. He had reprimands and short suspensions for accidents, neglect of duty and other issues. Then in May 2001, a prostitute complained that Zelich had knocked her to the ground during a struggle in his apartment when he was off duty. Zelich claimed the woman had tried to steal from him and he was trying to get his money back.


Rock County program pairs jail inmates, stray dogs

JANESVILLE, Wis. (AP) - The Humane Society of Southern Wisconsin and Rock County sheriff’s officials hope a new program pairing jailed prisoners with stray dogs will benefit the animals and inmates.

The program, called Canine Corrections Academy, requires Rock County jail inmates to train formerly unadoptable dogs, getting them ready to be adopted in six to eight weeks, according to the Janesville Gazette ( ).

“People deserve second chances. Animals deserve second chances,” said Sheriff Robert Spoden.

Many inmates have never completed anything in their lives, Spoden said, and the program will give some of them an opportunity to realize they can be productive members of their communities.

Inmates are chosen for the canine program through interviews. Their crimes must not include violence or abuse.

The program comes at no cost to taxpayers, Spoden said. Simmons Fence of Janesville donated a 50-by-30-foot enclosure. Two trainers are donating their time and the humane society supplies the dog food.

The dogs will be housebroken and taught to come when called and to sit and stay on command.

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