September 15, 2023 at 5:30 a.m.

Brandt rant

To the Editor:

The Sept. 7 Presque Isle Town Board meeting was quite a stereo event with two of John MacLean’s surrogates continuing to spew their misrepresentations of facts. Nancy Brandt was on yet another rant saying that Presque Isle is a “Sh— show in Vilas County and in so many words the Judge and our own town attorney have said so.” For the record, neither the Judge nor the Presque Isle town attorney have said anything of the sort. Also for the record, you should know Nancy Brandt is the person who sent MacLean the State of Wisconsin Elections Commission manual for how to challenge an election recount. She spent many minutes on the phone with MacLean the morning of the recount. It’s a sad example when John MacLean hitches his wagon to such talk.

Town Board Supervisor Carl Wolter proclaimed that “the computers were part of the election fraud” and that “illegal ballots were cast.” Pretty sad when an elected official doesn’t care whether he speaks the truth or not. The only fraudulent thing is Carl Wolter’s statements.

To set the record straight: Judge Milanowski threw out five ballots from the April 2023 election. She stated in her court order “in an election decided by a single vote, [this] creates sufficient uncertainty in the outcome of the election to the office of Town Board Chairperson such that a special election must be held.” No where did she say or imply a “fraudulent election” or call Presque Isle a “Sh— Show”. (Final Order Resolving Section 9.01 Appeal and Directing a Special Election. Judge Martha Milanowski)

Lorine Walters, town clerk at the time of the April election and candidate for town chair, had no knowledge of how anyone votes. She had no knowledge that Jane Alt invalidated her Presque Isle registration by voting in Illinois in November. Registered voter Robert Von Holt requested an absentee ballot and Walters sent him a ballot prior to receiving his written request which she received prior to the election; and the other three absentee ballot certificate envelopes were properly witnessed but were missing the witness’ address. Indeed technical errors but hardly “fraudulent”.

And how about that forensic audit of the town’s laptop and desktop computers set up by treasurer Jill Eesley. This was hardly an independent audit to get to the bottom of her allegations of “criminal intent” and “stolen government property.” Rather, using her own words: “it’s all about the election.” Verified by Open Records requests, Jill Eesley had numerous contacts with the so called ‘independent’ auditor and fed him selected information in an attempt to steer him to her preconceived notions.

Is it just coincidence that one of John MacLean’s four attorneys lives less than one block away from the forensic auditor? How is it that a forensic auditor can charge nearly $11,000 when he couldn’t figure out how to get into the computer and suggested that he might need to hire someone else to help him with that? Oh, and where are those “stolen computers” and why aren’t they back in the Presque Isle Town office? Because Carl Wolter told the forensic auditor not to return them until he says so! That explains why the taxpayers had to spend more money to buy another desktop computer because Carl Wolter forbid the computers being returned to the town even after the forensic auditor had been paid nearly $11,000 — for what? — Go figure.

When MacLean surrogate Jill Eesley didn’t like the “Unfounded” finding of the Vilas County Sheriff’s office into the computer-gate investigation that she initiated, she accused the Vilas County District Attorney’s office of meddling in the investigation and shutting it down. And then she went knocking on several other doors to no avail to try and get the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) and Rep. Rob Swearingen’s office to take up her cause. In Jill Eesley’s own words even Presque Isle Town Attorney Steve Garbowicz told her “I really need to get the DOJ on board or drop this soon” (J. Eesley email 7/20/23).

We could have had water back in the Pipke Park Ponds long ago, been eligible for grant funding to pay for the fix to the failed dam and addressed the S. Crab Lake road hazards if it wasn’t for John MacLean’s hubris that he can fix anything and his disregard for the rules.

It’s John MacLean who during his term as town chair hid from the taxpayers that the town has been cited by the State of Wisconsin three times for failing to follow state statutes and he has subjected the town to possible $10,000/day fines. Please! Let’s not put anyone back in office who puts our town in that kind of a mess.

I used to believe that people could disagree without being disagreeable. I even thought John MacLean believed that. But given the things that John’s supporters have said at recent town board meetings that doesn’t appear to be what John MacLean or his supporters believe.

Presque Isle needs civil leadership; not the chaos, disinformation, lies, distortions and confusion we have had for the past two years.

Thank goodness there are still people like Lorine Walters, who in spite of all this ranting and raging, are willing to run for office and bring civility and leadership back to Presque Isle. Get out and vote and let’s bring Presque Isle back to a place where we can all live together — even when we disagree — instead of living in Nancy Brandt’s “Sh— show.” We can do so much better.

In the interest of full disclosure, I’m not eligible to vote in Presque Isle but I’ve owned property and paid property taxes for more than 37 years. I sure know who I want to determine how my property taxes are spent. The decision about how to vote in the special election on Nov. 14 seems very clear. Facts count. Leadership counts. Lorine Walters passes the test.

Ann Milne

Presque Isle


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