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Investigator hired to check computer

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ANN MARIE AMES
October 17, 2007

Town Clerk Dixie Bernsteen’s computer has been turned over to a private investigator as part of continuing investigation, town Chairman Wayne Polzin said.


Polzin would not say what private investigator has the computer and declined to say what is being investigated.


The computer was confiscated by police Aug. 27 after Bernsteen filed a complaint with the police department. In the complaint, Bernsteen said her computer had not been working right and cables were installed improperly, leading her to believe someone else had used it.


Former Police Chief Andrew Mayer, who was chief at the time, would not share information with The Janesville Gazette about Bernsteen’s complaint. The town has not responded to the Gazette’s written request filed under the Wisconsin Open Records Law for information about the complaint.


Town Supervisor Jim Wolfgram said town attorney Steve Wassel asked him and Supervisor Kay Franzen to meet Wassel at the town hall Aug. 24 to act as witnesses while Wassel seized Bernsteen’s computer. But Wassel did not take the computer because it was at a repair shop.


Town police confiscated the computer three days later.


Mayer was fired by the town police commission Oct. 3. At the time, Mayer declined to speculate if his firing was connected to the computer investigation.


Deputy Chief Phillip Smith is acting as interim chief.


Last week, police released the computer to Polzin. Polzin said he gave the computer to a private investigator because neither the state Attorney General’s Office nor the Walworth County District Attorney’s Office wanted it as evidence.


Hiring a private investigator did not require board action, Polzin said, because a police investigation already was under way.


Town attorney Steve Wassel said the town has not yet paid for any private investigation services.


The town board did not discuss the issue at its meeting Tuesday night.


The board authorized new town Administrator John Olson to hire a firm to audit the police department’s books.


During the meeting, Mayer told the board he strongly supported an audit of the books since he is being replaced.


Other business

The Delavan Town Board on Tuesday night:


-- Tabled an agenda item authorizing the town to pay town Chairman Wayne Polzin mileage for responding to “complaints.”


Supervisor Herb Sessner tabled the item, saying all elected officials should be paid equally. The board could take action on a different motion next month.


-- Authorized acquisition of “Out Lot 1” on Bay Road, a private road on the Delavan Lake island owned by realtor Joe Schultz.


The town will sell the property for $1 to Northwestern University, which owns the House in the Wood Camp & Retreat Center. The property will come off the tax roll. But Polzin said the camp will pay $1,100 in back taxes and maintain the road, which has been a “headache” for the town since the 1950s.



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