A pair of investigations into Green Bay city officials continue, according to Fond du Lac County District Attorney Eric Toney. Toney is serving as special prosecutor investigating the complaints; one against Mayor James Schmitt and one against five aldermen who asked for an investigation into Schmitt’s actions in the Hotel Northland redevelopment project.
Brown County District Attorney David Lasee asked Toney to investigate the complaints because of a conflict of interest resulting from dealings his office has with both Schmitt and city council members. Guy Zima, Tom DeWane, Andy Nicholson, Chris Wery and Mark Steuer requested an investigation in October of last year into their claims that Schmitt diverted $3.2 million in public funds, creating loan defaults in the hotel project. They also claimed Schmitt lied about the true purpose of a half million dollar proposed loan. Schmitt requested the money to keep the project moving forward. The five claimed the money was actually to buy developer Mike Frantz out of the project; something Frantz has confirmed publicly.
Days after the five made their claims about Schmitt, Alderwoman Barb Dorff requested an investigation into the quintet, claiming the news conference held by the five to announce the complaint amounted to a walking quorum. That would be a violation of the state’s open meetings law. Zima and DeWane were defeated in April elections and are no longer on the Green Bay City Council.
Toney told Media Trackers Wednesday that both investigations continue and said he would expect the results of both to be released simultaneously. Toney did not say when that might be. He did say that in an email to Media Trackers that: “The matter is under review and additional information was received within the past two weeks.” When asked by Media Trackers, Toney clarified that the recently received additional information pertains to the investigation into the Hotel Northland finances.