William Gardner charged with felonies

Zach pointed out that there would be a press conference today by the Milwaukee County DA and the GAB. This morning they released the reason for the press conference.

Railroad executive William E. Gardner has been charged with two felony counts of violating campaign finance laws for reimbursing his employees for making donations in political contests, including last year’s governor’s races, sources said Monday.

According to sources, Gardner is expected to plead guilty to the two felonies, and Milwaukee County prosecutors are recommending no jail time and probation. The charges were filed Monday morning in Washington County, where Gardner lives.

Gardner is being charged under a state law that prohibits anyone from giving money to someone else so they may make a political donation. The violation is a Class I felony, which has a maximum punishment of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Gardner, president and chief executive officer of Wisconsin & Southern Railroad Co., told state regulators last year that he used railroad receipts to reimburse workers who had given to Scott Walker, who later defeated Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, a Democrat, for governor.

In response, Walker returned more than $43,000 in donations to Gardner and a handful of his company workers. The Assembly Democratic Campaign Committee also has forfeited $3,500 in donations from Gardner.

It’s illegal in Wisconsin to give corporate money to political candidates.

Gardner’s attorney, Robert Friebert, declined to discuss the matter late Sunday.

“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I have no comment,” Friebert said.

Milwaukee County prosecutors have been conducting a John Doe probe into the allegations. A press conference on this matter will be held at 2 p.m. in Madison.

Sorry for the false alarm, this appears it does not have to do with the extremely questionable shenanigans in Walkersha County, but about some new Walker illegal corruption altogether.


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8 thoughts on “William Gardner charged with felonies

  1. And now the Cap Times notes that Wis. Southern Railroad got $14 million of the state’s $25 million in railroad improvement grants, which seems quite convenient given that the turning down of the high-speed rail money turns those funds out of the FRA (and fed rules) and into the decisions of the state DOT and DOA.

    Innn-teresting, eh?

  2. Good lord, reading his emails in the criminal complaint, the guy has a worse grasp of the English language than my 10 year old nephew. By a lot. It’s like reading those chain emails from crazy Aunt Bertha.

    Yet another CEO who’s obviously gotten where he is on merit.

    1. According to Kevin Binversie, the two felony charges and the $166,000 fine leveled against the company are “no big deal.”

      I wonder what Kevin’s cutoff is for the number of felony charges it takes for something to become a “big deal.”

  3. Go back to the early 2000s and check on the train wreck on the WI Southern RR line on Madison’s east side. They left it in place for two weeks before local enviros discovered it and notified DNR and others. Tens of thousands of pounds of corn were dumped into a tributary of Lake Waubesa and the company got a hefty fine for trying to hide it from the authorities.

    The RR commissioner responded that these types of derailments happen “all the time” in Wisconsin. This didn’t sit well since it was at the same time as nuclear wastes were going to be shipped on railroads.

    That train wreck may have been a foreshadow of the train wreck our state is now enduring with Wanker and the rest of them. This is also the same jerk who leaves the empty RR cars on the track in one of Madison’s lower income neighborhoods. They are out there today and can be seen just to the west of south Park Street.

    Wisconsin Southern Railroad: The Little Engine that Couldn’t!

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