“It’s a search for the truth.”
– Racine County District Attorney Rich Chiapete
On March 1, 2012, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker sent out a press release to announce that he was appointing W. Richard Chiapete to the position of District Attorney for the county of Racine. Governor Walker also proclaimed: “Mr. Chiapete has a proven record of making sound judgments and working hard to serve the community of Racine,”. Only 2 years later Rich Chiapete would find himself fleeing the scene of an accident, concealing himself from the Police, changing his clothes in an attempt to disguise himself, lying repeatedly to the Police (along with his wife, Jennifer who also lied to the Police), involving his next door neighbors, refusing to submit to a breath test, but agreeing to submit to a blood test, then afterwards telling the Police who had just driven him to the hospital for the blood draw that he changed his mind and would refuse all tests. During a non-admissible preliminary breath test Rich blew a .159, almost twice over the legal limit of .08. For reasons which remain unexplained, the Police would fail to obtain a warrant for a blood draw nor would any further information be released concerning the blood they collected at the scene. When it was all over and done with, Rich Chiapete was shown to be as dumb, if not dumber than many of the criminals he prosecutes, he just managed to escape the consequences of his criminal activities because of certain political connections along with help from The Racine Police Department, City of Racine City Attorney Robert Weber, The Racine Municipal Court, The Wisconsin State Patrol, The Kenosha Municipal Court, and a lack of outside news coverage, which altogether worked to cover up Rich and Jennifer Chiapetes criminal activities from the public record. To this day Rich Chiapete continues with his acts of defiance and denial by boldly proclaiming himself to not be a criminal, despite the evidence of his activities as contained in the Police Report.
From Governor Scott Walker’s Press Release:
Madison – Today Governor Scott Walker announced the appointment of W. Richard Chiapete to the position of District Attorney for the county of Racine.
“Mr. Chiapete has a proven record of making sound judgments and working hard to serve the community of Racine,” Governor Walker said. “Mr. Chiapete’s experience gained from being Deputy District Attorney is clearly valuable and will help him to make decisions that are firm but fair.”
Mr. Chiapete graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Business Administration in 1987 before obtaining his Juris Doctor from Marquette University Law School in 1991. He went on to practice law for almost 21 years in both civil and criminal courts. He joined the Racine County District Attorney’s Office in December of 1998 and was promoted to Deputy District Attorney in 2005.
“He has been Deputy District Attorney for Racine County and has the respect of all his staff, co-workers and anyone else who has had dealings with him,” wrote retired Circuit Court Judge Emmanuel Vuvunas in a letter of recommendation for Chiapete.
In addition to being a lifelong member of the Racine community, he is an active member of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, where he serves on the Parish Council, Finance Committee, and Grievance Committee.
“I have known Rich for 20 years,” said Racine County Circuit Court Judge Jude. “I believe his insight, character and commitment to justice makes him an excellent choice to lead the prosecutorial arm of the criminal justice system.”
For those so interested, more political connections between Governor Scott Walker appointees, the GOP, and those involved in the Racine County criminal justice system (Scott Walker, Rich Chiapete, Mike Nieskes, and Christopher Schmaling) can be found by clicking on the link found below to an article from June 15, 2012:
“Voter Irregularity” Investigation in Racine being led by Walker appointees, GOP machine
Rich Chiapete’s incredulous journey through the Racine criminal justice system began on April 4, 2014, when he crashed the vehicle he was driving and then, after his wife’s VW Beetle with a deployed air-bag wouldn’t re-start, fled on foot from the scene, and hid from the Police in his house, as reported on April 5, 2014, from The Journal Times:
Racine County district attorney cited for OWI, hit-and-run; issues apology
RACINE — Racine County District Attorney Rich Chiapete was cited for drunken driving and leaving the scene of an accident Friday night after striking a traffic light near his home, police reported Saturday.
Officers were called to the intersection of Melvin Avenue and North Main Street just after 10 p.m. Friday in response to a single-vehicle accident in which a car had apparently struck both a tree and traffic signal, a Racine Police Department press release states.
Responding officers located an unoccupied 2004 Volkswagen on scene. When officers arrived at the home of vehicle’s registered owner, it was discovered that Chiapete had been the operator of the vehicle at the time of the incident, the release states.
Chiapete was then arrested for operating while intoxicated-first offense — a municipal citation in Wisconsin — and taken to the Racine Police Department where he was processed for the citation. He was also cited for “duty upon striking property,” or “hit & run on/or adjacent to highway,” for leaving the scene the accident without notifying authorities, according to the release.
From The Racine Police Department: Press Release – Elected Official Cited for OWI
While FOX 6 provided additional information and a video report which may be viewed by clicking on the link below:
Racine County district attorney cited for OWI, hit-and-run; issues apology
RACINE CO. (WITI) — Racine police say Racine County District Attorney Rich Chiapete has been arrested for OWI (1st offense) and hit-and-run (property damage).
Police say on Friday, April 4th, just after 10:00 p.m., they responded to an accident at Melvin Avenue and N. Main Street involving a vehicle and a traffic signal. Officers were advised that the driver left the scene.
Police located an unoccupied vehicle at the scene.
Further investigation revealed to police the vehicle involved in the incident struck a traffic signal and a tree near the intersection.
It happened in Jocelyn Johnson’s yard.
“We heard a thud from upstairs,” Johnson said.
She says when she looked out the window, she saw a man walking around a car with airbags deployed. She says she grabbed the phone to call 911.
“I said there was an accident in front of my house and it was a light pole down, and a tree down and they should send help,” Johnson said.
Warren Draves lives across the street — and he heard it too.
“It was very loud. It was very loud. The house was locked up and we had the TV on. It was very loud,” Draves said.
Draves says he came outside to see a man heading down the street — away from the accident.
“I was hoping he was going for help — but it didn’t look like it. I went to get my keys and my cell phone to see if I can track him down,” Draves said.
Officers responded to the residence of the vehicle’s registered owner, at which time it was determined that Racine County District Attorney Rich Chiapete was the operator of the vehicle at the time of the incident.
Chiapete was arrested on a charge of first offense OWI (a municipal offense) and as a result of leaving the scene without making proper notification, Chiapete was issued a municipal citation for “duty upon striking property” — also referred to as hit-and-run on/or adjacent to a highway.
While the Journal Times did an excellent job of reporting the story and kept the public well informed, the story was downplayed in Madison and never made the National scene. The common thread in reporting the story was LEE Enterprises which owned both The Journal Times along with half of Capital Newspapers which publishes The Wisconsin State Journal and The Capital Times. At the same time Mary Junck was both CEO of LEE Enterprises and Chairman of the Associated Press. Did LEE Enterprises and The Wisconsin State Journal act to nationally suppress this story and limit it’s coverage in Madison?
Some tantalizing clues concerning connections between The Wisconsin State Journal and the GOP can be found at Uppity Wisconsin.
From Jud Lounsbury’s Blog, April 3, 2012:
Now, the intrepid Uppity Wisconsin research department has found more shocking violations of the Wisconsin State Journal’s supposed “ironclad” ethics policy, which is apparently intended just for the low-level underlings and not really for management.
Of the eleven member board of directors of Lee Enterprises– the company that owns the Wisconsin State Journal and dozens of other newspapers accross the country– most are heavy donors to republican candidates or PACs.
First up is Greg Schermer. Greg is a vice president at Lee and has sat on the board since 1999 and since that time he has given thousands and thousands of dollars to Republican candidates…including $1,000 to Newt in January!(link is external)
Next is Nancy Donovan. Donovan lives in the Chicago burbs and has been on the Lee board since 2003 and has been a huge GOP donor during her entire time. In 2010 alone,(link is external) she dug deeeeeep into her deep pockets and gave about $10,000 to wide range or republican candidates (including tea party nut Sharon Angle) and every Republican committee imaginable, including the Republican National Committee, National Republican Congresssional Committee, and the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
William E. Mayer, who has been on the Lee Board since 1998, and since that time, has given heavily mostly to Republicans, including maxing-out to John McCain when he ran for President. This cycle his guy was Huntsman… no word yet if he’s started backing Mittens yet.
Let’s see… Brent Magid joined the board in 2010 — the same year he gave $500 bucks to Republican Congressman Erik Paulsen.
Then there’s Herb Moloney, who has been on the board since 2001. Herbie doesn’t give to candidates, but he did used to be publisher of the rightwing(link is external) Washington Examiner.
Now, I’m sure some will poo-poo this and say these people are just on the board. But keep in mind, Lee’s only business is owning newspapers. The head of the board and CEO of Lee, Mary Junck, is also chair(link is external) of the board at the Associated Press.
It should also be pointed out that Lee Enterprises and its board recently crushed the union at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and gutted the once-decent newspaper even though it was making a profit for the company. And, according to the St. Louis Journalism Review(link is external), “Lee has a website for employees that provides negative information about unions.”
According the Wisconsin State Journal’s code of ethics, employees are prohibited from doing anything that gives the “impression” of political or issue partisanship.
As LEE Enterprises CEO, Mary Junck has managed to destroy the value of LEE Enterprises stock, systematically loot the profits, cut employees, reduce employee wages and benefits, destroy employee morale, while herself has been rewarded with large bonuses. So was the lack of newspaper coverage in Madison concerning the events surrounding Rich Chiapete’s arrest directed by the GOP connected executives at the top, or just a lack of interest and poor morale at the bottom? The nearly complete lack of national coverage, especially from The AP, would point towards the former, but then perhaps it was just dumb luck.
From the Columbia Journalism Review, May 1, 2014
While execs at parent company Lee Enterprises get bonuses, newsrooms in St. Louis and elsewhere are “simmering the furniture”
PRAIRIE VILLAGE, KS — Scott Bujnak might be the first carpenter to obtain “folk hero” status in a newsroom.
Bujnak, 56, was until recently the head carpenter at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He’s not a journalist, but on April 16 he did something plenty of put-upon newspaper hacks have dreamed of: He went into his boss’s office and said he was ready to quit.
For years, as the company had gone through financial difficulties, Bujnak had been asked to economize. “The main word I heard every day was ‘cheap, cheap, cheap,’” he said. Then, earlier this month, he discovered that Mary Junck, CEO of Post-Dispatch parent company Lee Enterprises, had just pocketed a $700,000 bonus.
When Bujnak walked into his boss’s office, he recalls, “I said, ‘If you can justify that to me, I’ll stay.” He left.
Bujnak’s dramatic exit, first reported in the Post-Dispatch itself by longtime columnist Bill McClellan, didn’t come out of the blue. His decision captures the sentiment of journalists and media observers who have watched with mounting frustration in recent years as Junck and other executives collect bonuses while Lee’s papers cope with stagnant salaries and shrinking staffs. It’s an often-angry conversation that’s taken place on media blogs local and national; inearlier columns by McClellan; on social media; and, of course, in the newsroom. “You can always find a bellyacher in every newsroom,” one Post-Dispatch staffer who asked not to be named told me recently, “but I don’t think you can find anyone who still enjoys working here.”
While management isn’t talking, the story of Lee that emerges from official filings and news accounts is pretty clear: Tight times all around, but when there are spoils to be had, they go to the top. The Post-Dispatch has sustained more than 230 buyouts or layoffs since 2008, according to Paper Cuts, a website tracking newspaper layoffs which is run by former P-D staffer Erica Smith. In those six years, staffers at the company’s flagship publication have seen no raises, they have faced three unpaid weekly furloughs, pensions have been frozen, and retiree health and life insurance have been lost. Layoffs and buyouts have also hit Lee holdings from Montana and Utah to Arizona and upstate New York. For the 2007 fiscal year, the company reported 8,300 full-time equivalent employees; by 2013, that number had plummeted to 4,600. (It has 12 fewer daily publications than it did in 2005, when Lee acquired Pulitzer Inc., parent of the Post-Dispatch.)
Well, that didn’t take long. After Friday’s purge at the Post-Dispatch, someone took to Twitter on Saturday to give voice to Mary Junck’s inner Marie Antoinette. MaryJunckFake has thus far exhibited an interest in executive bonuses, flirting with Bill McClellan and a brutal disregard for feelings of her demoralized staff.
But I digress.
Considering Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s relationship with staunch Republican Rich Chiapete, was it a mere coincidence that this story remained local only and Rich Chiapete’s trouble with the law was quickly and quietly adjudicated? It would only take five days from Rich Chiapete’s April 5th arrest for the The City of Racine to quietly agree to a “non-criminal settlement” on April 10th. There would be no criminal charges, no open Courtroom to allow public witnesses, and no public record on CCAP. That is simply extraordinary. The April 5th. Press release from the Racine Police Department presented a image of Rich Chiapete as having merely made a minor mistake, being quite contrite, and thus deserving of only receiving 2 minor municipal tickets. But there was much more to the story which The Racine Police Department was withholding from the public. Information which The Journal Times would release, and then the story would quickly vanish.
An initial report, with picture, concerning the arrest of Rich Chiapete on April 5, 2014, From The Journal Times. NOTE that all articles are excerpts only, and that clicking on the links will provide more details.
The street sign that typically hangs over the intersection of Melvin Avenue and North Main Street lies along the sidewalk on Saturday, April 5, 2014. The sign was struck Friday night following a single-vehicle accident reportedly involving Racine County District Attorney Rich Chiapete. The D.A. was cited for operating while intoxicated and hit and run following the incident, which also damaged a tree. He apologized for his actions in an email to the paper on Saturday stating that he “exercised extremely poor judgment.”
On April 7, 2014, two new articles concerning the arrest of Rich Chiapete would appear in The Journal Times, the first was nothing less than Racine Police Chief Art Howell attempting damage control and to assure the public that a cover-up wasn’t in place – clearly, it was. The second article highlighted Rich Chiapete’s criminal behavior and contempt for the law. The same law he uses to prosecute other criminals with.
State patrol reviewing DA’s OWI
RACINE — The Wisconsin State Patrol is reviewing the Friday night hit and run accident involving Racine County District Attorney Rich Chiapete.
“It is not a requirement,” Racine Police Chief Art Howell said Monday in an email. “This action was taken to ensure that our officers acted in a manner that was impartial, with appropriate charges being administered.”
Over the weekend, the police contacted the Wisconsin Department of Justice’s Division of Criminal Investigation but since the matter was not a criminal offense, it was referred to the state patrol, Howell said.
Lt. Rich Reichenberger of the state patrol confirmed Racine police asked them to review the Friday night incident involving Chiapete. He anticipates completing the review this week.
City attorney: DA refused alcohol tests
RACINE — Racine County District Attorney Rich Chiapete will likely end up having an ignition interlock device installed in his vehicle after he refused to have an official breath test and blood draw following his drunken driving crash, according to the City Attorney’s Office.
Responding officers located an unoccupied 2004 Volkswagen on the scene. When officers arrived at the home of vehicle’s registered owner, it was discovered that Chiapete had been the operator of the vehicle at the time of the incident, according to police.
After police made contact with Chiapete, they administered a preliminary breath test at 12:02 a.m. which indicated he had a .159 blood alcohol content, nearly two times the legal limit, according to Deputy City Attorney Scott Letteney.
But the device used for the preliminary breath test is not a sensitive scientific instrument and is not admissible in court for determining a level of intoxication, said Letteney, the prosecuting attorney representing the city in Chiapete’s case.
When police brought Chiapete to the police station for an official breath test, he said he would rather have a blood test, Letteney said. They then brought him to Wheaton Franciscan-All Saints hospital, 3801 Spring St., but there he refused the blood test too, Letteney said.
Chiapete’s initial appearance is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. May 14 in Racine Municipal Court; however, that will likely be rescheduled because Municipal Judge Mark Nielsen recused himself from the case because he is also a criminal defense attorney and has cases pending that the district attorney is prosecuting, Letteney said.
The key operative is found in Art Howell’s statement: “Over the weekend, the police contacted the Wisconsin Department of Justice’s Division of Criminal Investigation but since the matter was not a criminal offense, it was referred to the state patrol, Howell said.” If the Racine Police Department didn’t forward the appropriate information or charge Rich Chiapete with criminal offenses – and it is clear from the Racine Police Department’s Press Release that they were withholding incriminating information and only charging Rich with traffic offenses, then it would be reviewed by the agency with the appropriate jurisdiction, which is State Patrol. It would not be until April 10 that the Obstruction charge, under very unusual circumstances, would be added, while Jennifer Chiapete would not be charged for her criminal activities in aiding and abetting Rich and lying to the police. This manipulation was a deliberate and calculated move designed to both placate the public and deny jurisdiction to the Division of Criminal Investigation.
With his limited statutory authority, Lt. Rich Reichenberger of the State Patrol could only rubber-stamp it’s seal of approval concerning the handling of the traffic portion of Rich Chiapete’s arrest. Lt. Reichenberger’s flippant comment “Everything looked to be handled on the up and up,” was a sure tip-off to those in the know that the criminal element of Rich Chiapete’s actions weren’t being addressed. April 8, 2014, from The Journal Times:
State Patrol: Racine PD handled DA OWI correctly
RACINE — A State Patrol review found the Racine Police Department handled everything correctly involving Racine County District Attorney Rich Chiapete’s drunken driving crash on Friday night.
“Everything looked to be handled on the up and up,” Lt. Rich Reichenberger of the State Patrol said Tuesday afternoon, after the completion of the review.
Racine Police Chief Art Howell said they asked the State Patrol to review the case to ensure officers acted in a matter that was impartial and appropriate. It was not required, he said.
Chiapete was cited for first-offense operating while intoxicated and hit-and-run after crashing into a tree and traffic signal at Melvin Avenue and North Main Street, according to police.
From what he read in reports, Reichenberger said the OWI did not rise to anything higher than a municipal offense, although he said the City Attorney’s Office would be the ones to decide what charges the driver should be issued.
Deputy City Attorney Scott Letteney, the prosecuting attorney representing the city in Chiapete’s case, also said he also did not believe any of the offenses rose to a criminal matter. He said Philip E. Marry, a Kenosha attorney, filed a notice of appearance Tuesday saying he is representing Chiapete in this case.
Having the State Patrol review the case was a brilliant strategic move by Racine Police Chief Art Howell and Racine City Attorney Robert Weber, which was designed to fool the public, as State Patrol authority is limited to traffic. The subsequent behavior of Rich Chiapete and his wife Jennifer, which delved into the criminal, is not subject to the jurisdiction of the State Patrol, whose authority and duties are found in Chapter 110 of the Wisconsin Statutes under Motor Vehicles. Racine Police Chief Howell emitted a half-truth when he said, “This action was taken to ensure that our officers acted in a manner that was impartial, with appropriate charges being administered.” As it was, Justice was perverted, and Rich Chiapete, The City of Racine, and The Racine Police Department got away with it.
110.07 Traffic officers; powers and duties.
(1)(a) The secretary shall employ not more than 399 traffic officers. The state traffic patrol consists of the traffic officers, the person designated to head them whose position shall be in the classified service and, if certified under s. 165.85 (4) (a) 1. as qualified to be a law enforcement officer, the division administrator who is counted under s. 230.08 (2) (e) 12. and whose duties include supervising the state traffic patrol. The division administrator may not be counted under this paragraph. Members of the state traffic patrol shall:
- Enforce and assist in the administration of this chapter and chs. 194, 218, 341to 349 and 351, and ss. 23.33, 125.07 (4) (b), 125.085 (3) (b), 167.31 (2) (b) to (d) and 287.81 and ch. 350 where applicable to highways, or orders or rules issued pursuant thereto.
- Have the powers of sheriff in enforcing the laws specified in subd. 1.and orders or rules issued pursuant thereto.
- Have authority to enter any place where vehicles subject to this chapter, ss. 167.31 (2) (b)to (d) and 287.81 and chs. 194, 218 and 341 to 350 are stored or parked at any time to examine such vehicles, or to stop such vehicles while en route at any time upon the public highways to examine the same and make arrests for all violations thereof.
(b) All municipal judges, judges, district attorneys and law enforcement officers shall assist in enforcing this chapter, ss. 167.31 (2) (b) to (d) and 287.81 and chs. 194, 218 and 341 to 351, and orders or rules issued pursuant thereto and shall report to the department the disposition of every uniform traffic citation issued for cases involving those chapters.
(2) The traffic officers employed pursuant to this section shall constitute a state traffic patrol to assist local enforcement officers wherever possible in the regulation of traffic and the prevention of accidents upon the public highways.
Oddly enough, 10 months later Governor Scott Walker would negotiate a 17% pay raise for the State Patrol. While it was ultimately rejected, in favor of a 6% pay raise, the initially negotiated 17% was completely out of line. Further, The State Patrol provides security services for the Governor and Scott Walker’s relationship with the State Patrol certainly should raise eyebrows. Note that the State Patrol is subordinate to the County Sheriff, in the Rich Chiapete case it was Racine County Sheriff Christopher Schmaling. Readers should now review the connections between Scott Walker, Rich Chiapete, Mike Nieskes, Christopher Schmaling and the GOP by clicking HERE.
Is the State Patrol the go-to agency when a political cover-up is needed? For those who wish to further investigate the close relationship between Scott Walker and the State Patrol, below are some suggested articles:
Speaker’s office yet to review how governor’s security detail got raise
MADISON (WKOW) — The office of Assembly Speaker Robin Vos told 27 News Monday morning the office has yet to review the process by which members of Governor Walker’s personal security detail, 10 state troopers, received a $4/hour raise last week.
27 News Capitol Bureau Chief Greg Neumann broke the news about the raise last week, noting more than 300 unionized state troopers are still waiting on raises their union negotiated last year.
Analysis of Travel Records Reveals Scott Walker Spent at Least One Full Year in State Cars on Campaign Trail From January 2011 to August 2014
MADISON, Wis. — A news report, based on an analysis by One Wisconsin Now of Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign reimbursements for his use of state vehicles, reveals Wisconsin’s chief executive has spent at least one full year on the campaign trail. As Governor, Walker has the use of a state vehicle, driven by a State Patrol Trooper at all times. Based on a review of open records, Walker’s campaign reimbursed the state for at least 365 instances of travel because Walker used the car for political activity.
Madison — Republican legislative leaders said Tuesday they will reject a 17% pay raise for state troopers negotiated by Gov. Scott Walker’s administration.
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) said they want the GOP governor’s administration to enter a new round of negotiations with the troopers. The Legislature has the final say on whether to approve any labor contracts.
Patrolling the state budget – Eliminate the Wisconsin State Patrol
The State Patrol is an odd function of state government, because the State Patrol is not really a law enforcement agency in the same way that county sheriff’s departments are, or for that matter state police departments in other states. The State Patrol, which is part of the state Department of Transportation, “enforces criminal and traffic laws, conducts criminal highway interdiction programs, and helps local law enforcement agencies with traffic safety, civil disturbances and disasters (natural and man-made).” In other words, the stormtroopers of the state highways enforce the laws created by the busybodies in Madison and Washington, including mandatory seat-belt laws at a time when any idiot ought to realize they are safer wearing belts than not, to ridiculous levels, such as, in one case I was told by a trusted source, ticketing someone for driving 3 mph — yes, 3 mph — faster than the speed limit. The State Patrol also operates the state’s truck weigh stations, which rarely seem to be open whenever I drive past them.
State troopers (the State Patrol is authorized to have 399 of them) are sworn police officers, but they have no police responsibilities that aren’t related to motor vehicles, and they are legally subordinate to the county sheriff. (Like all bureaucracies, though, the State Patrol is looking to grow itself, having created a K–9 unit for which it had no legislative authorization. And like other bureaucracies, the State Patrol has a public relations arm that distributes news releases and creates pretty-looking reports in which it takes credit for things for which it doesn’t deserve credit, including a drop in traffic crashes.)
Other than inspecting tractor–trailers and operating the State Patrol Academy, there is nothing the State Patrol does that county sheriff’s departments don’t do, and could do more efficiently with dollars the state currently spends on the State Patrol. That is already occurring in one place, in fact: The State Patrol is really the State-Except-Milwaukee-County Patrol, because the State Patrol has no responsibilities to patrol Milwaukee County freeways, and if they don’t patrol the freeways of the largest metropolitan area in the state, what is their purpose?
It would be on April 9, after The Journal Times received a copy of the official Police Report that the criminal nature of Rich and Jennifer Chiapete’s actions would come to light.
April 9, 2014, From The Journal Times
Police reports for DA’s alleged OWI reveal new details, inconsistency
RACINE — When police first responded to Racine County District Attorney Rich Chiapete’s house after he was reportedly involved in a drunken driving crash Friday, he told police he had been sleeping for the last two hours, according to police reports released Wednesday.
“I reminded him that I just watched him walk in the front door about 10 minutes ago,” the officer who responded said in the reports, which totaled 25 pages.
Chiapete then said his wife woke him up so they could go to a neighbor’s house, according to the reports, and after the officer again asked him what happened he “then admitted that he was driving and that he was out earlier in the night and had a few drinks.”
And the above is just the beginning of Rich and Jennifer Chiapete’s criminal actions subsequent to Rich’s hit and run while intoxicated. On April 10, The Journal Times would release the video shown below:
Had Racine Police Chief Howell been truthful when he stated, “This action (review by the State Patrol) was taken to ensure that our officers acted in a manner that was impartial, with appropriate charges being administered;” that action would have been taken by the appropriate state agency which had jurisdiction over criminal matters, the Wisconsin Department of Justice. From the Wisconsin Statutes:
CHAPTER 165 DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
165.50 Criminal investigation.
(1) The department of justice shall perform the following criminal investigatory functions for the state:
(a) Investigate crime that is statewide in nature, importance or influence.
(b) Conduct arson investigations.
(2) Special criminal investigation agents of the department shall have the same general police powers as are conferred upon peace officers.
As it was, on April 10th. the fix was in and Rich Chiapete agreed to settle with the City of Racine. Was it ever in question?
April 10, 2014, From The Journal Times:
D.A. agrees to settlement, cited for obstructing a police officer
RACINE — Racine County District Attorney Rich Chiapete, who was involved in a drunken driving crash on April 4, pleaded guilty Thursday to three municipal citations — including a new citation for obstructing an officer.
As part of a settlement with the city, Chiapete pleaded guilty to obstructing as well as first-offense operating a vehicle while under the influence and “duty upon striking property on or adjacent to a highway,” also known as hit and run.
None of the offenses rises to the level of a criminal violation, Deputy City Attorney Scott Letteney said.
As part of the agreement, Chiapete agreed to pay a total of $1,205 in forfeitures by June 16 and have his driver’s license revoked for one year. He will also be required to install an ignition interlock device on his vehicles and will be permitted to drive only a vehicle with an ignition interlock device installed for one year, according to the agreement. He also must undergo a drug and alcohol assessment as ordered by the court and comply with recommendations resulting from such an assessment.
Both the city and Chiapete agreed to the terms and it was filed Thursday with Racine Municipal Court; however, Kenosha Municipal Judge Michael Easton, who was appointed to hear the case, has the discretion to accept or reject the agreement, Letteney said. That could happen as soon as today, he said.
The final settlement was made final on April 22, 2014, only 17 days after Rich Chiapete’s arrest. Kenosha Municipal Judge Michael Easton rubber-stamped the settlement agreement after Racine Municipal Judge Mark Nielsen had recused himself. April 22, 2014, from The Journal Times:
Settlement signed by judge in DA’s drunken driving case
RACINE COUNTY — Kenosha Municipal Judge Michael M. Easton has signed off on Racine County District Attorney Rich Chiapete’s settlement agreement in his drunken driving case, lawyers said Tuesday.
“There are no modifications from Mr. Chiapete or the city,” Scott Letteney, Racine’s deputy city attorney, stated Tuesday. “Mr. Chiapete agreed to a driver license revocation and agreed that he improperly refused the chemical testing in the stipulated agreement.
Chiapete was cited on April 4 after driving home drunk from a birthday party. A single-vehicle crash occurred at Melvin Avenue and North Main Street in Racine, when Chiapete’s car hit a tree and traffic signal, knocking down the pole. Racine police reports show Chiapete then fled from the scene, running home.
He declined to submit to formal testing to gauge his alcohol level, but a preliminary test registered a breath-alcohol concentration at .159, police records show.
Chiapete pleaded guilty earlier this month to obstructing an officer, first-offense operating while intoxicated and hit and run — all municipal ordinance violations, not criminal charges.
Indeed, “None of the offenses rises to the level of a criminal violation”, as Deputy City Attorney Scott Letteney said, despite there being ample grounds for Rich and Jennifer Chiapete to be criminally charged. Nor would there be any Criminal Complaint or public record on CCAP. Below is the screenshot taken from CCAP showing the results for a records search of William Richard Chiapete. Click on image to enlarge.
WISN 12 provided a video report on the settlement between Rich Chiapete and The City of Racine. City of Racine Deputy Attorney Scott Letteney would continue to parrot the official script, because repeating the lies often enough would make it the truth and keep the public complacent. One year later Scott Letteney would be appointed as the Racine City Attorney.
Finally, the arrest of Racine County DA Rich Chiapete madeThe Journal Times Top 10 list for the stories of 2014:
December 22, 2014, From The Journal Times:
No. 10: DA arrested for drunken driving crash, pleads guilty
Chiapete was cited on April 4 after driving home drunk from a birthday party. A single-vehicle crash occurred at about 10 p.m. at Melvin Avenue and North Main Street in Racine, when the car Chiapete was driving — registered to his wife — hit a tree and traffic signal, knocking down the pole.
A witness to the crash turned their car around to check if the driver was OK. Chiapete didn’t respond to the witness, but got back in the driver’s seat, closed the door and tried to start the car, according to police reports. When the car wouldn’t start, Chiapete — who lives about a block away — ran home.
When police arrived at his home, Chiapete said he had been sleeping for the past 2 hours, according to police reports released after the crash. But the officer reminded him “that I just watched him walk in the front door about 10 minutes ago,” the reports state.
He declined to submit to formal testing, but a preliminary test registered a breath-alcohol concentration at .159, police records show. That’s nearly twice the legal limit of 0.08.
The two municipal citations which were issued to Rich Chiapete on April 5, 2014 are:
S721753 – Hit and Run to Adjacent Highway Property
S173643 – OWI First Offense
The third municipal citation was issued on April 10, 2014 under unusual circumstances AFTER The Journal Times had released additional information from the Police Report which the Racine Police Department had withheld. From the Police Report of Officer John C. Pomeroy:
On 04/10/14 at about 1046 Hours I was at home fertilizing my lawn when I received a phone call from Sgt. Herold. Sgt. Herold told me that I was ordered to come to the Police Department about as soon as possible. Sgt. Herold further explained that I was ordered by DC Lopez to write a UMCC for obstructing to Rich Chiapete. I told Sgt. Herold that I would be in with in the hour.
I arrived at the Police Department at 1125 Hours. I walked to DC Lopez’ office and verbally confirmed that the order was correct. DC Lopez stated that the City Attorney wanted the UMCC for obstructing issued and I was to write it at their direction. DC Lopez also told me to adjust the normal bond amount to $177.00 (a note from Sgt. Herold also confirmed the change in bond). After I wrote the citation I was to copy it and bring the copy and the Defendant Copy back to DC Lopez. I asked if I was to serve the citation. DC Lopez told me that the City Attorney would be doing that.
I finished the citation and followed directions as ordered.
One year later, both Racine City Attorney Robert Weber and Deputy Chief Lopez would retire from The City of Racine, along with a police officer, a police sergeant, a municipal court clerk . HERE.
Jennifer Chiapete aided and abetted her husband by lying to the Racine Police and parroting his cover story. Crimes for which she wouldn’t be charged. From the heavily redacted Police Report:
While waiting at the S/W corner of Chatham St and Lombard Ave for a Supervisor to assist I observed (REDACTED) and (REDACTED) walk S/B in the (REDACTED). The two appeared from houses approximately 2 properties North of their residence. (REDACTED) entered the residence, however (REDACTED) remained outside – I asked (REDACTED) if (REDACTED) just went inside, she replied ‘yes’. I told her that I would be back with a Supervisor in a few minutes to speak with (REDACTED) she replied ‘OK’. With Sgt. Pomeroy now on scene we attempted contact at the residence.
(REDACTED) answered the door and stated that (REDACTED) had been sleeping awhile. (REDACTED) was also unaware that her vehicle was just in an accident at N. Main St. and Melvin Ave. I reminded (REDACTED) that she just spoke to me outside the home about 5 minutes ago and that I personally observed (REDACTED) enter the home. (REDACTED) then invited Sgt. Pomeroy and I into her home to speak with (REDACTED).
While Sgt. Pomeroy and I waited in the kitchen (REDACTED) went to a second floor bedroom to get (REDACTED). After a few minutes, (REDACTED) came to the kitchen wearing a grey sweatsuit, top and bottoms, and no socks. (This wardrobe was different from the bluejeans and tan Carhartt coat I observed him wearing a few minutes prior). I observed (REDACTED) knuckles to be bleeding with a greyish residue on his hands which based on training on training and experience, are consistent with airbag deployment of a crashed vehicle. I asked (REDACTED) if he was injured or needed medical treatment – he replied no, that he was fine. I then asked (REDACTED) what happened? (REDACTED) asked what about and then stated that he had been sleeping the last two hours up stairs. I reminded him that I just watched him walk in the front door about 10 minutes ago. I added, telling (REDACTED) that I know him both professionally and personally and that I know for fact he just got home. (REDACTED) the stated that (REDACTED) just woke him up so they could run over to a neighbors house for a second. I again asked what happened and why he left the accident scene. (REDACTED) shook his head and replied that he didn’t know. (REDACTED) then admitted that he was driving and that he was out earlier in the night and had a few drinks.
Two houses North of the Chiapetes home is the house of Robert A. Gleason.
All of the sordid details of Rich Chiapete’s actions up to and leading to his arrest can be found in the heavily redacted Racine Police Report. That report can be accessed by clicking on the link below, which will open the reader.