FOND DU LAC, Wis. (WFRV) — Special Prosecutor and Fond du Lac District Attorney Eric Toney has decided not to issue charges against former Green Bay mayor Jim Schmitt and the five Green Bay aldermen who accused Schmitt of misusing city funds.
In October of 2017, Green Bay Aldermen Guy Zima, Chris Wery, Andy Nicholson, Tom De Wane, and Mark Steuer accused then-mayor Jim Schmitt of using money granted from the Redevelopment Authority to help Hotel Northland owner Keith Harenda buy out his former partner in the project Mike Frantz. Schmitt says he asked the Redevelopment Authority for $500,000 to keep the Hotel Northland project up and running, as construction was halted while Frantz and Harenda argued in court.
In turn, the five aldermen were then accused of holding a walking quorum. Alderperson Barbara Dorff claimed the men met outside of a public meeting to come to an agreement.
Fond du Lac District Attorney Eric Toney was hired as the special prosecutor for both cases, and he announced his final decision Friday.
In regards to the open meeting allegations, Toney made note some of the participants are no longer members of the City Council. Guy Zima and Tom De Wane both lost their re-election bids in 2018. Toney instead recommends the “Green Bay City Attorney ensure proper training and periodic retraining on this issue…”
In regards to the allegations against Jim Schmitt, which Toney quotes as being “perjury, ongoing intent to deceive, committed fraud, and violated public trust,” Toney says interviews with Schmitt and Zima showed no evidence to support charges of perjury or misconduct in public office.
Toney also explains the lack of charges against Schmitt in regards to the misusing of the $500,000 requested from the Redevelopment Authority. He says the request for those funds was ultimately abandoned, making the intent for that money irrelevant.
Toney ends his statement by saying, “I have found no basis to issue any criminal charges that could be proven beyond a reasonable doubt and therefore decline to issue any charges.”