Paulus's Former Assistant D.A.s Get $340,000 Settlement

July 21, 2004
By Kathryn Bracho

Two former assistants to Joe Paulus reached a settlement for being wrongly fired. They fought for more than two years, and now former Winnebago County assistant district attorneys E.J. Jelinski and Thomas Chalchoff are each receiving $170,000 from the State of Wisconsin.

In each man's settlement, $45,000 is for back pay. The rest is for compensatory damages.

Jelinski says he's happy about the money but he's happier the truth has come out about Paulus taking bribes while Paulus served as Winnebago County district attorney. Paulus was scheduled to be sentenced in federal court Thursday but the sentencing was delayed.

The conflict between Paulus, Jelinski and Chalchoff started in April, 2002, when Jelinski decided to run against Paulus for Winnebago County D.A. and Chalchoff became Jelinski's campaign manager. A month later, Jelinski and Chalchoff were fired.

Paulus said it was because of poor performance, but Jelinski tape recorded conversations with Paulus that Jelinski said proved Paulus thought his performance was fine.

Action 2 News asked Jelinski if he has any lingering anger toward his former boss. "I don't like Joe at all," Jelinski said with strong emphasis, "but the emotional part of it is past now. Now it's the grim realization that he did do all of these things and that punishment will be given."

Paulus's former assistant D.A.s say their former boss did a lot of things wrong, including firing them.

Some said the tape recordings were underhanded, but Jelinski defends making them. He says they kept Paulus from being re-elected.

"Ultimately the release of those tapes helped make sure that he wasn't in a position of authority any more until the FBI was done with its investigation. So, no, I don't regret that at all," Jelinski said.

Jelinski and Chalchoff are now defense attorneys in Menasha.

Police/Prosecutor Misconduct
Truth in Justice