In attempting to find the answer to the question of why the Racine Equality Project shattered into disarray following the Complaint which was filed against Racine County Supervisor Monte Osterman, an investigation has discovered that at the same time (former) Racine County Supervisor Ken Lumpkin, also a member of the Racine Equality Project, was the Chairman of the 501c-3 non-profit Northside Redevelopment Project INC., located at 1661 Douglas Avenue, also known as Flatiron Village Mall.
From the Equality Project archives:
On June 25, 2014, The Racine Equality filed an Ethics Complaint against District 3 Racine County Supervisor Monte Osterman. Following the filing of the Complaint, Dr. Ken Yorgan had this to say:
The Racine Equality Project, in response to citizen concerns, has pursued an investigation into the activities of certain elected officials and non-elected public employees. This investigation has been done with a thorough examination of public records, including tapes and transcripts of public meetings and statements by the parties being investigated. What we have found is very revealing, often disappointing, and sometimes quite disturbing.
As a result of this investigation, and following review by independent legal counsel, a Compliant with substantial evidence has been filed with the Racine County Board of Ethics regarding certain activities by District 3 County Supervisor Monte Osterman. This is personally disappointing to me, because I was originally a supporter of Mr. Osterman when he ran for office, just over two years ago. Mr. Osterman ran and was elected following the retirement of Supervisor Diane Lange, who had served the County Board for many years with honor, integrity and courage and it is especially sad to reflect on the loss of her presence on the County Board.
The evidence that has been submitted to the Racine County Board of Ethics is factual and compelling. It is now their responsibility to review it, conduct a proper investigation, hear Mr. Osterman’s reply, and if necessary, refer the matter to the District Attorney’s Office for prosecution.
From Journal Times:
RACINE COUNTY — A complaint has been filed against Racine County Supervisor Monte Osterman related to the Root River redevelopment project.
The complaint alleges that Osterman did not properly disclose financial interests and that the Root River Council, of which Osterman is a member, is not a nonprofit organization like it claims.
Assistant County Corporation Counsel Michael Lanzdorf confirmed Thursday that the county received the complaint. It now goes to county’s Board of Ethics, which will first determine whether there is probable cause to continue, and if so, would hold a hearing and issue their findings, Lanzdorf said.
Osterman said he had not seen the complaint and declined comment.
The complaint was filed Wednesday by Timothy Elmer, in cooperation with the Racine Equality Project. The Equality Project is a group of local residents that has filed several other ethics complaints against local officials. Elmer said Osterman has not been transparent about his economic interests related to the RootWorks: Root River Corridor Redevelopment Plan.
And of course, the Complaint was immediately dismissed and called frivolous – even though Monte Osterman never released any required IRS Form 990’s, as demanded by IRS Regulations, and shortly afterwards, Cory Mason’s wife, Rebecca Mason, stepped in as his Attorney and continued to provide cover for Monte Osterman and his failure to provide the required form 990’s, even though he had received tens of thousands of dollars in government grant money, much of it guided by John Dickert through the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program and DNR.
RACINE — A complaint filed against Racine County Supervisor Monte Osterman regarding the Root River redevelopment project was dismissed Wednesday by the county’s Board of Ethics.
The complaint alleged that Osterman did not properly disclose financial interests in the project and that the Root River Council, of which Osterman is a member, is not a nonprofit organization as it claims.
The Internal Revenue Service confirmed the organization’s nonprofit status, Assistant County Corporation Counsel Michael Lanzdorf said.
Other allegations “are either unsupported by fact sufficient to suggest an ethics violation or unrelated to the discharge of Supervisor Osterman’s official duties as a board supervisor, and thus outside the board’s scope of authority,” Lanzdorf said before the Board of Ethics’ 5-0 vote to dismiss the complaint.
The complaint was filed by Timothy Elmer in cooperation with the Racine Equality Project. The Equality Project is a group of local residents that has filed several other ethics complaints against local officials.
In addition to questioning the Root River Council’s nonprofit status, Elmer claimed Osterman stood to benefit financially from the RootWorks: Root River Corridor Redevelopment Plan.
The Racine Equality Project turned out to be nothing but a paper tiger – led by a toothless Jim Spodick, who refused to take effective, coordinated legal action, which it had clear cause for! It was the final blow, which led to the dissolution of the emerging organization.
SO what had happened, and what went so wrong?
When the Complaint was being formulated, plans had been made for a major announcement at the Courthouse – with print and TV media present, Jim Spodick and Ken Yorgan in suits and ties, speaking to the press corps and more releases of information and statements to follow which were to be filmed by Scott Nelson. Assignments had been handed out, and everyone had their own area of responsibility. Then came the day of the Press Release concerning the Complaint being filed and the Press Conference which would follow.
And it fell flat on it’s face.
It didn’t happen.
Jim Spodick, Ken Yorgan, Scott Nelson and other members simply weren’t around…..
Two members dragged the podium down to the Courthouse – but the designated Spokespeople NEVER showed up – just a lone Journal Times Reporter.
The Office was found to be deserted –
Jim Spodick and Ken Yorgan had run away, and were nowhere to be found….
When Jim Spodick was presented with a request to obtain copies of other Racine County Officials Economic Interest Statements – he flat out refused.
What had gone wrong? What happened?
The search for answers began, and why I can’t say for sure what the answer is, because those in the know won’t reveal the answer – it is not in their best interest – I have my suspicions.
Searching around property records, I discovered that Flatiron Village Mall, 1661 Douglas Avenue, was being operated as a BINGO Hall, poorly maintained, and had not paid the property taxes due since 2011!
Racine County tax records indicate that Flatiron Village Mall, 1661 Douglas Ave., hasn’t paid a singe penny of their property taxes since 2011, and is now $217,604.36 in arrears! residents in the City of Racine should be outraged!
From City of Racine tax records:
Flatiron Village Mall is controlled by the Northside Redevelopment Project INC, a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Corporation which has been granted a license to operate a BINGO Hall there, and is chaired by former Racine County Supervisor, and current Talking Racine Panel Member, Ken Lumpkin!
The 2017 form 990 is available by clicking on the link: 2017 Flatiron Mall 990
Highlights from the form 990:
First, that they are operating a BINGO Hall at the location to fund their operation:
Second, the list of the 5 officers of the Corporation, indicating that Ken Lumpkin is the Chairman.
Third, A “Fuzzy” Revenue and Expense statement, which indicates that they are licensed to operate a Gaming establishment – and are there volunteers – Yes or No – is left unanswered….. It IS a cash business – so ponder that for a moment…. hmmmmm,! I can “guess the rest” LOL!
Fourth – the Northside Redevelopment Project donates all it’s proceeds – whose major contributor appears to be the BINGO Hall – to the Flatiron Business & Professional Association! HAR! HAR! HAR!
Nothing to see here – except more SCAM-O-RAMA RACINE! Sheriff Schmaling needs to investigate this outrage! While City of Racine/State of Wisconsin needs to revoke it’s gaming license and Racine County Executive Jonathan Delagrave needs to begin the tax foreclosure process so that the property can be sold to a developer who will pay their property taxes!
Meanwhile….Root River Council was terminated at (most likely) Monte Osterman’s request – failing to file form 990’s for certain years…. with the possible assistance of Rebecca Mason….
Then, like the Phoenix rising from the ashes – reborn under Brian O’Connell! It would appear that the grant money continues to flow in….
And in the end – Monte Osterman got the last laugh – and he who laughs last – laughs best!
Monte – I salute you!