Paulus will face panel
is ready to go on record
BY ALEX HUMMEL
of the Northwestern
A previous obligation prevented the Winnebago County District Attorney
from appearing before the county’s Judiciary and Public Safety Committee
on Friday to answer questions about allegations of bribes influencing criminal
The committee chairman, Supervisor Harvey Rengstorf, said Joseph Paulus
told him he could not attend the committee’s 9:30 a.m. meeting.
A district attorney’s office receptionist said Paulus was in court Friday
Rengstorf said Paulus had no qualms about coming to a future meeting.
"He said he would come and see us anytime we could get together," Rengstorf
The committee oversees the district attorney’s office’s budget and operations.
Its members agreed Friday to see if Paulus can attend a meeting later this
month to address the allegations.
Paulus "is due the respect of the whole committee to listen," said Supervisor
Bill Wingren, a committee member who two weeks ago made the request for
Paulus to discuss the allegations before the committee.
"He’s come before us before to give us information," Wingren said. "I
don’t think this would change from past practice."
In mid-May, allegations surfaced of defendants paying select defense
attorneys bribes in exchange for prosecutor- approved reductions of drunken
driving charges. Assistant District Attorney Edmund Jelinski, who announced
his bid for district attorney April 9, was fired May 14.
A former district attorney’s office domestic abuse investigator who
Paulus reassigned in February, Menasha Police Department Officer Ann Gollner,
said she forwarded to the FBI cases suspected of involving bribes.
Jelinski charges Paulus with corruption and abuse of power under his
watch. He said he first contacted the FBI in January, alerting the agency
to several cases.
Paulus said Gollner and Jelinski have been complicit in an effort
to embarrass him for political purposes.
Former Oshkosh Mayor and city Councilor Melanie Bloechl, who supported
Jelinski at his candidacy announcement, visit¬ ed the judiciary committee
Friday and criticized Sheriff Michael Brooks for not delegat¬ ing a
recent internal investiga¬ tion related to the controversy to an outside
Paulus said Jelinski improperly used a county drug unit’s recording
device to secretly record their conversations. A brief investigation determined
the allegation was "unfounded." Jelinski said he used his own microcassette
recorder to document their working relationship, not to seek incriminating
statements related to the bribery allegations.
Bloechl said Brooks should have passed the investigation on because
he has been a politically "vocal and financial" supporter of Paulus.
"I do not believe this was a wise move by our sheriff’s department,"
Brooks was on vacation Friday, according to the county’s chief deputy,
and did not immediately return a phone message.
In his request for the wire investigation, Paulus cited that Gollner’s
husband, Menasha police Officer Chris Anderson, is a member of the county
While he has yet to be interviewed in the investigation, two of Anderson’s
supervisors said Anderson told them he had no knowledge of Jelinski using
a wire device, the report states.
Alex Hummel: (920) 426-6669 or firstname.lastname@example.org