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As Jakubowski is sentenced, worries remain about missing guns


Joseph Jakubowski is headed to prison without revealing the location of 15 guns he stole from a town of Janesville gun shop last April, including an automatic, M16-style rifle.

The Rock County judge who sentenced him to five years in prison Wednesday is worried someone will use those guns to kill someone.

“In a country where bad things have happened, things that shouldn’t be happening, ... I am concerned about where those weapons are,” Judge James Daley said.

“They may be used against innocent people. And I know some people with your personal outlook on government don’t believe anyone is innocent,” Daley said, apparently referring to Jakubowski’s anti-government views.

“And when those weapons inevitably turn up, involved in a crime, and those lives are taken, we’ll be looking at you, Mr. Jakubowski,” Daley said.

Assistant District Attorney Rich Sullivan recommended a 10-year prison sentence for the crimes of burglary while arming oneself, theft and possession of burglary tools.

Sullivan noted Jakubowski’s previous convictions, which included an attempt to disarm a Janesville police officer in 2008.

Sullivan said Jakubowski planned the April 4 burglary of the Armageddon Supplies gun shop, and he referred to the anti-establishment manifesto Jakubowski sent to President Donald Trump on the day of the burglary.

“He had prior to that espoused some anti-government views; he has an absolute First Amendment right to that,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan also mentioned the missing guns, referring to recent school shootings and the Las Vegas massacre, saying the weapons could fall into the wrong hands.

“He’s a danger to the community, not because he personally thinks he would have attacked a school. I don’t. Not because he personally would’ve attacked a church. I don’t believe he would have done that either,” Sullivan said. “But those guns that he put into the public could be used for those purposes.”

Sullivan noted Jakubowski has said he would commit the burglary again if he could, and he believes he did the right thing and has shown no remorse.

Sullivan said Jakubowski, 33, is a young man who will have the opportunity to live a positive life and has the right to spread his views, “but he doesn’t have the right to create dangers for the community, and he doesn’t have the right to take property from others. That is the part that he has not gotten through his head.”

Defense attorney Michael Murphy said Jakubowski committed the burglary and theft after hours, when no one was likely to be there, and it was not “an attack,” as Sullivan put it.

Jakubowski had a clean criminal record for nine years before this crime, and he’s not a threat to the public, Murphy said.

Murphy noted Jakubowski’s federal offense, for the same actions, is 14 years, and he argued that more prison time is not needed.

Jakubowski should be sentenced to probation on the state charges after he serves his federal time, Murphy said.

Murphy said Jakubowski has exhibited remorse, including in an apology letter he left for the gun shop owner.

As for the guns, “Mr. Jakubowski can’t remember where they were. That doesn’t mean he’s hiding them,” Murphy said.

Jakubowski showed no sign that he might reveal where the weapons are. He gave a long statement, saying he has calmed down somewhat but that he still rejects government and religion and doesn’t believe in God.

He mentioned his anger over what he sees as lies that were spread about him. In the past, he has said he is angry about statements by law enforcement when he disappeared for 10 days, to the effect they were worried he might commit an act of mass murder with the weapons.

“OK, maybe I intended to do some wild things as far as government was concerned. I was on my way to North Dakota. What was happening in North Dakota was, government was terrorizing people,” he said, an apparent reference to his writings that mention his sympathy for Native Americans and others who were trying to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline.

“I grew up in a world of hate created by the system we live in, and I’m tired of it, and I’m giving it back. I can’t take it anymore,” he said.

He complained about his domestic-violence conviction, claiming he “never hit that woman,” and he holds it against the system for being punished for something he didn’t do.

He said he would rather be in prison or dead than be part of this world.

He said he is writing a book about his ideas, and he has no intentions of getting out of prison.

“Do what you need to do to me today. I don’t care,” he said.

Daley also ordered five years of extended supervision after Jakubowski serves his federal and state prison sentences. Daley made him eligible for a prison substance-abuse program. If he completes the program, he could cut about two years off his sentence.

Murphy had wanted Jakubowski to serve his sentence in state prison, but because the state sentence runs consecutive to the federal sentence, he has to go to federal prison first, Murphy said.

Daley’s last words to Jakubowski included these: “You say you don’t care, OK. You say you want to write a book. You’ll have plenty of time to do that.”

Daley added: “I wish you the best of fortune in your future endeavors. I hope things will work out better for you than they have thus far. Good luck.”

Meanwhile, WISC TV News 3 reported Wednesday that the owner of the gun shop, Scott Kuhl, says his landlord is kicking him out because of burglaries at the store.

Kuhl told News 3 he was looking for a place to move.

Landlord Todd Thiele confirmed he asked Kuhl to move out the day after the most recent break-in, Jan. 29.

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City, association disagree on Monterey Dam permitting process


For weeks, Monterey Dam Association members have attended city council meetings to voice concerns the city isn’t being forthcoming about the Monterey Dam removal process.

Janesville City Council candidate Jeff Navarro is one of the group’s most vocal members. As he did Monday, he often claims at council meetings the city is not yet in a position to remove the Monterey Dam.

At the request of council President Doug Marklein, City Manager Mark Freitag tried to set the record straight Monday.

Navarro began his public comments Monday by saying he heard Freitag on the radio tell listeners the city has the permits necessary to remove the Monterey Dam.

“I’m concerned because that is flat-out not true,” Navarro told the council.

In October, the state Department of Natural Resources issued the city a permit and approved a plan to remove the Monterey Dam. The permit relates to chapter 31 of Wisconsin statutes, which regulates dams affecting navigable waters.

Navarro said the city has yet to obtain permits under chapter 30, which pertains to shorelines, and that Freitag failed to mention this on the radio.

“If you’re going to have someone go out and speak for the city and get on the radio, let’s make sure that the information going out is true because that’s not,” he said.

Navarro mentioned a petition the association has filed in Rock County Court has paused the dam-removal process. The association claims the DNR didn’t properly approve the city’s plan to remove the dam. A meeting will be held May 22 to decide when a contested case hearing on the issue could happen, Navarro said.

Navarro also brought up contaminated sediment resting on the riverbed near the former General Motors plant. Contaminated soil could endanger contractors working near it, he said.

Navarro said the city should have told companies bidding on the project that the decision to remove the dam is being challenged in court and that contaminated sediment is in the work area.

“They need to know all of these things. It’s only fair,” he said.

Navarro sat down to a smattering of applause from other association members in the audience.

After an hour of public comments, Freitag addressed the council and public at Marklein’s request to respond to Navarro.

“There’s a lot of misinformation being thrown around,” Freitag said.

Freitag acknowledged the city has yet to obtain three permits.

The first permit would allow the city to create fishing habitats, restore shorelines, create canoe launches and do other work in the area affected by the dam’s removal.

The second would allow the city to work in the wetlands in the western part of the project site.

The third would allow the city to work in the Monterey lagoon.

The first two permits go through the DNR and then on to the Army Corps of Engineers. The third ends at the DNR, Freitag said.

Freitag said all three permits will be easy for the city to obtain. It’s a matter of submitting plans, getting feedback and adjusting as necessary, he said.

“This is not something that is unattainable, and frankly, I don’t think that as we work through this process, as we work through so many other permitting processes before, that we’re going to hit a major roadblock that we can’t adjust to,” Freitag said. “The city understands we have something we want to achieve, so we’ll work through the process to get there. That’s what we do.

“The major hurdle was getting the DNR to issue this first document that we received back in October for the approval to abandon and removal plan approval. We’re well on our way,” he said.

The original permit the city received is no different than other permits the city obtains for other projects, including the downtown parking plaza demolition and other ARISE work, Freitag said.

In addition to the waiting period that comes with chapter 30 permits, Navarro said the city needs to get additional permits from the Army Corps of Engineers and that the typical waiting period for those is three to six months.

Freitag isn’t aware of permits the city has to get directly from the Army Corps of Engineers, and any permit-related waiting periods won’t slow the process, nor will pending litigation, he said.

“It’s not unprecedented to continue to work your project even though there may be litigation working in parallel to the project’s process,” he said.

Concerning the contaminated sediment, Freitag said GM site buyer Commercial Development Company is looking to take care of it in July, which is before dam removal would begin.

“They want to speed the process up and get it over with,” Freitag said.

The council later in the meeting approved applying for three grants related to the dam’s removal. Only Councilman Jens Jorgensen voted against the motion, saying he’d prefer to clear up confusion before applying for grants.

Freitag said the three grants are worth up to a total of about $840,000.

“If the city is fortunate enough to receive those grants, the $1.2 million bid project comes in at about $393,000, significantly lower than what anyone has projected to date,” he said.

After Freitag’s explanation, Jorgensen said the discussion would be better suited as an agenda item.

“We get criticized many times that we’re not listening and we don’t respond,” Marklein said. “This was a chance to show that we have been listening, we have been asking questions and an opportunity for the city manager. That’s why—”

Navarro interrupted from the back of the room.

“I believe I deserve the right to—”

“No, you do not,” Marklein said, banging his gavel. “Out of order. I will ask you to be removed if you continue.”

“Don’t bother,” Navarro said before gathering his belongings and leaving with other association members.

Janesville City Council candidate files open-meetings complaint


A Janesville City Council candidate has filed a complaint with the district attorney’s office claiming the council violated the state’s open-meetings law Monday night.

Jeff Navarro, who’s seeking a council seat in the spring election April 3, attended Monday’s meeting and spoke during a public comment period. As a Monterey Dam Association member, he said the city doesn’t have the permits necessary to remove the dam.

At the end of the public comment period, City Manager Mark Freitag spoke about the dam removal process at the request of council President Doug Marklein. He disputed Navarro’s comments.

Navarro said Freitag’s dam discussion violated the state’s open-meetings law, and he filed a complaint Tuesday.

During every council meeting, Freitag gives a “city manager update” after the public comment period in which he talks about what’s happening in the city. The agenda item doesn’t explain what Freitag will discuss, but slide presentations attached to council agendas give an idea of what will be covered.

Freitag’s comments Monday about the dam weren’t part of his update. They occurred at the end of the public comment period but before his update began.

Under state statutes, government officials cannot use public comment time to speak as private citizens, and items not on the agenda cannot be discussed, Navarro said.

At the meeting, Councilman Jens Jorgensen said the discussion should be put on a later agenda so the public would have proper notice. He asked for that to occur in the future. Marklein noted his concerns.

Councilman Rich Gruber said he considered Freitag’s comments to be part of his regular update. Gruber said he appreciated the information Freitag shared.

Navarro said he is awaiting the district attorney’s response to his complaint.


Report suggests Wisconsin one of seven states to have systems or websites hacked by Russians


Federal officials developed strong evidence last year that Russian-backed hackers compromised websites or voter registration systems in Wisconsin and six other states, according to an NBC News report.

Wisconsin and federal officials denied central aspects of Tuesday’s report, saying there were no signs that hackers were successful in their attempts to penetrate Wisconsin systems.

The NBC report, based on anonymous sources, suggested hacking efforts in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election went further than previously disclosed, raising questions about what might be tried in this year’s elections.

NBC’s report stated that Russian-tied hackers compromised systems in Alaska, Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Texas and Wisconsin.

It did not specify what systems were affected in Wisconsin or provide details about what might have been compromised.

Wisconsin officials last year said Russian agents targeted—but did not access—systems here in July and August 2016. Their efforts were aimed at a Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development system as they looked for vulnerabilities in the state government’s IT infrastructure, according to these officials.

Wisconsin officials were aware of the hacking attempts at the time but not that Russian government actors were involved. They didn’t learn of the Russian involvement until a year later, when informed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, according to the Wisconsin Elections Commission.

Last fall, the Homeland Security Department provided the state with conflicting information about Russian attempts to target Wisconsin systems.

State officials have expressed frustration about the flow of information from the federal government about hacking attempts but have said in recent months they believed it had gotten better.

Elections Commission spokesman Reid Magney said the U.S. Department of Homeland Security gave state officials assurances Wednesday and on other recent days that there had been no intrusion of Wisconsin’s systems.

“We are not aware of any new Russian targeting of Wisconsin systems beyond the scanning attempts from 2016 we reported in September 2017 as soon as we were notified by (the Department of Homeland Security),” Magney said in a statement that was earlier provided to NBC.

He said the state’s elections systems were well protected and noted that more than 9 million times a year hackers from around the world scan Wisconsin state government systems as they look for weaknesses they can exploit.

NBC’s report was based on comments from unnamed officials who said as of January 2017 the intelligence community believed systems in the seven states had been compromised. The targeted systems included voter registration databases but not vote-tallying machines.

In a statement, Homeland Security acting press secretary Tyler Houlton said the NBC report was based in part on “working documents” and not confirmed intelligence.

“We have no intelligence—new or old—that corroborates NBC’s reporting that state systems in seven states were compromised by Russian government actors,” his statement said.

He stood by past claims that Wisconsin’s systems were scanned by Russian actors but not penetrated.

“That remains true to the intelligence—new or old—available to the department,” his statement said.

The debate over hacking comes at a time of turmoil for Wisconsin’s elections commission. On Tuesday, the Elections Commission’s director, Michael Haas, announced he would be leaving his post. There is no connection between his departure and the NBC report, Magney said.

Republicans in the state Senate last month voted to reject Haas’ confirmation to the post because of his involvement in an investigation of Republicans that the state Supreme Court shut down in 2015 after it found no one did anything illegal.

Haas had said his role in the matter was limited and not grounds for him to leave his job. But Tuesday he said he would leave because the issue was creating a distraction.

Gazette at a Glance for March 1, 2018

Local • 3A

Fifth robber gets 10 years

Nathan Natal, 21, of Beloit was sentenced Wednesday in Rock County Court to 10 years in prison and another 12 years of extended supervision on a charge of being a party to armed robbery. He was charged with breaking into a home on Janesville’s east side and holding the family inside at gunpoint while demanding money. He was the fifth person to be sentenced in the case. A sixth defendant’s case is still pending.

State • 2A

Road funds go toward Foxconn

Wisconsin is shifting up to $90 million away from other state highway projects to do road work related to the massive Foxconn factory being built in Racine County. Gov. Scott Walker’s administration has said that no other road work has been delayed because the state has tapped savings from other projects that have come in under budget. Even after accounting for the savings, the Legislature’s nonpartisan budget office found the state still has $70 million to $90 million less for other road projects.

Nation/World • 6B-7B

Aide close to Trump to resign

White House communications director Hope Hicks, one of President Donald Trump’s most trusted and longest-serving aides, abruptly announced her resignation Wednesday, leaving a void around a president who values loyalty and affirmation. Hicks’ departure came as a surprise to most in the White House and cast a pall over the West Wing at a trying time for the president.

Nathan A. Natal