Report: Milwaukee Ald. Tony Zielinski pressured business owners for campaign contributions

On Thursday Milwaukee Alderman Tony Zielinski was removed as chairman of the Licenses Committee by Common Council President Ashanti Hamilton. Zielinski has said his removal is politically motivated, as he has announced he will challenge Mayor Tom Barrett in 2020.

However according to a new report by Daniel Bice and Mary Spicuzza of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Ald. Zielinski’s removal may have been done for other reasons.

Nearly a dozen sources, who asked not to be identified due to the sensitivity of the issue, said that multiple Milwaukee business owners have raised concerns about Zielinski and his aggressive fundraising tactics.

Zielinski reportedly carries a “Square” type device that attaches to a cellphone and allows him to swipe credit cards for campaign contributions, the sources said.

Some reported feeling pressured to contribute money to his mayoral campaign, and expressed concern their licenses or project approvals would be at risk if they didn’t contribute to the Bay View alderman.

According to the Journal Sentinel report federal authorities have contacted City Hall officials about Zielinski in the past month, so it will be interesting to see ow this all plays out.


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