Rep. Robin Vos (R-Rochester) said he wrote the bill capping fees at three times a plaintiff’s monetary damages after a car dealer in his district had to pay $150,000 in attorney fees over a $5,000 repair a customer said he never authorized. The Burlington dealer agreed to settle the case with the customer.
Then as more information becomes available, this sadly unsurprising story came out:
According to court records, Vos is the sole shareholder of Ladwig & Vos, which owns a rental house at 122 S. Franklin St. in Whitewater. Last year, the company sued five college students who had leased the house for the 2010-’11 year but had moved out after just three months.
The company sought about $17,000 in unpaid rent, said Brian Schuk, an attorney for one of the students.
Instead, Schuk countersued, claiming breach of contract, security deposit violation and rent overpayment. According to records, his client paid one-fifth of the $1,500 security deposit, one-fifth of the summer rent and in early August 2010, one-fifth of the fall rent.
But on Aug. 31, all five tenants moved out because the power had gone out in the house 25 times since June 2, according to the counter claim, which also cites a dangerous stairway that made the house unsafe for habitation.
On Oct. 3, the parties agreed to a settlement in which Ladwig & Vos would pay Schuk’s client $2,175 for deposit return and unearned rent, as well as reasonable attorney fees and costs. The settlement states that Ladwig & Vos disputes the merits of the tenants’ claims but recognized the risk of going to trial.
Last week, Schuk filed a detailed accounting of his fees and costs that totals a little more than $20,000. A judge will decide whether the amount is reasonable. No date has been set for a hearing, but Schuk said he expects it would occur by the end of the year.
Under the bill, Schuk’s fees would be presumed to be capped at $6,525.
So Robin Vos, when taking time away from tweeting, spends his time working on legislation that personally benefits himself. Well being above board he must have brought this out on his own and come clean right?
During neither a Senate committee hearing on the bill nor in interviews with reporters, did Vos ever disclose his own personal interest in the issue.
Consumer lawyers and Democrats say Vos should have brought up his own case. They said the new law could still provide a basis for Vos’ attorney to argue that the judge should now consider what fees are reasonable in the pending matter.
“It would have been more appropriate if he had disclosed,” said Rep. Gary Hebl (D-Sun Prairie). “There’s just a distaste to it,” otherwise.
“Certainly if you’re the author of a bill, you have to be extra careful,” he said.
Yes there is a distaste to Robin Vos, not only does he supply substandard and dangerous housing, he sued and took advantage of five poor college kids. Instead of negotiating with the college kids and fixing the dangers in his rental property he decided to go the other way and make sure that no landlord will ever be sued again. Vos must have a little remorse about his unethical and immoral actions right?
“They know this bill is going to pass and they know the gravy train is going to end,” he said.
Thats it renters in WI. The days of expecting your house to be safe to live in and have electrical power are coming to an end. The gravy train of lawyers asking to be paid to help people who get taken advantage of this badly by a landlord are also over.
Of course that is not the real story that has come out of Wisconsin, did you hear that Vos had a beer dumped on his head? Now that’s news!