FRIDAY 11/22/19 2:50 p.m.
RHINELANDER, Wis. (WSAW) — Rhinelander city administrator and Weston’s former village administrator Daniel Guild was named in two search warrants for misconduct in office and tampering with records, executed yesterday at Rhinelander City Hall.
Copies of the search warrants, obtained by Local 5 affiliate, NewsChannel 7, name Guild as the primary subject of investigation, with records sought through the search between Guild and various council members as well as copies of all written disciplinary records and documentation involving investigations into former public works director Tim Kingman, who was terminated by the city earlier this year.
A press release from Oneida County chief deputy Dan Hess on Thursday indicated two search warrants were executed starting just before 9:30 in the morning, and lasting till after 3pm. The Oneida County Sheriff’s Office was assisted by detectives from Vilas County Sheriff’s Office, Marathon County Sheriff’s Office, and the digital forensics team with the Wisconsin Division of Criminal Investigation.
The search was part of an ongoing investigation, Hess said, started by the OCSO and initially assisted by Price County Sheriff’s Office. The search warrants indicate that the investigation began with a report from the Northwoods River News, a local paper in Rhinelander, of a possible open records violation and records tampering.
In March, Rhinelander’s city council narrowly voted down a motion to suspend Guild. Mayor Chris Frederickson cast the tie-breaking vote, 5-4.
Earlier in the meeting, Public Works director Tim Kingman also submitted a declaration of no confidence in Daniel Guild to the council, signed by himself and four other city employees–including city clerk Val Foley and administrative assistant, Stephanie Rajnicek.
“There are likely other criminal type actions forthcoming,” Kingman had said in public comment when he presented the letter. A letter of confidence in Guild was later submitted to the city, signed by fifteen city employees.
Kingman was later terminated in June of this year, following the same split 5-4 vote that saved Guild’s suspension in March. Other city employees leaving this year include the termination of city attorney Carrie Miljevich and the resignation of city administrative assistant Stephanie Rajnicek, who cited an “extreme amount of tension” in her resignation letter.
Last year, Guild served a 30-day unpaid suspension from his position as village administrator in Weston, a suspension that was retroactively voided. In July, he voluntarily resigned with a severance agreement of almost $94,000; a joint statement from Guild and the village stated the resignation was not a result of misconduct.
A 2017 performance review released to NewsChannel 7 cited concerns with his presence in office and other areas of his management.
NewsChannel 7 has reached out to Guild for comment, who was not in office. We did not immediately hear back. This story will be updated with more information from the search warrants.
Search warrants executed at Rhinelander City Hall for misconduct, records tampering
THURSDAY 11/21/19 3:14 p.m.
RHINELANDER, Wis. (WSAW) — Rhinelander City Hall was secured for the execution of two state search warrants from Thursday morning through late afternoon, regarding misconduct in office and tampering with public records.
A press release from chief deputy Dan Hess indicates two search warrants were executed starting just before 9:30 this morning. The OCSO is being assisted by detectives from Vilas County Sheriff’s Office, Marathon County Sheriff’s Office, and the Wisconsin DOJ.
“Any time that say you would tamper with any type of documents or not-released documents that you’re supposed to release, that would constitute misconduct in public office,” Oneida County chief deputy Dan Hess told NewsChannel 7.
Participating in the search were Oneida County Sheriff’s Office, Vilas County Sheriff’s Office, Marathon County Sheriff’s Office, and the digital forensics team with the Wisconsin Division of Criminal Investigation.
“DCI is involved because they have a digital forensics unit that would take digital evidence for us,” Hess said.
The search warrants are part of an ongoing investigation, Hess confirmed. Price County Sheriff’s Office participated with the initial part of the investigation, Hess noted.
Hess said any employees there left for the rest of the day when the search was initiated.
“When we execute a state search warrant, we secure the scene and then we execute the search warrant so no one’s allowed back in the scene.”
Hess said he was not concerned at this time about employees accessing documents offsite. The department is not confirming at this time what the document search is in relation to, but said that more information is forthcoming. Hess could not confirm how long it would take to review the digital evidence that was obtained in the search today.
Local 5 will continue to work with NewsChannel 7 to provide the latest on this story.
Editor’s Note: This story, including the headline, has been updated to reflect more recent information.