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Eight area candidates have criminal convictions

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Gazette Staff
February 3, 2009

Eight area candidates who will be on ballots in Rock and Walworth counties April 7 have criminal convictions, according to a check of online court records by The Janesville Gazette.


Gazette reporters checked all area candidates for criminal convictions—felonies, misdemeanors and criminal traffic—listed in Wisconsin Circuit Court Access online court records.


Checks revealed the following:


Janesville School Board

Tom Lemmer, 45, of 324 Linn St., Janesville, convicted Sept. 24, 2001, of misdemeanor domestic battery. He was sentenced to 18 months probation.


Lemmer said he regrets the incident and got counseling at the time, which improved his relationship with his wife.


Janesville City Council

Daniel Steinhoff, 28, of 2601 Mount Zion Ave, Janesville, convicted Feb. 13, 2003, of second-offense drunken driving.


"I made a couple of mistakes in my past," Steinhoff acknowledged. "I'm not going to deny that. I'm sure everybody has a few things they'd want to take back."


Steinhoff will make reliable transportation home from the bars one of his campaign issues, he said. That could include longer bus hours, safe-ride programs or a readily available taxi system.


"Something needs to be in place," he said.


Town of Darien supervisor

Jerry D. Farnsworth, 48, of W8059 Creek Road, Darien, convicted Aug. 21, 1992, of disorderly conduct. He was sentenced to one day in jail.


The Gazette was not able to reach Farnsworth for a comment.


Evansville City Council

Todd A. Culbertson, 42, of 438 Almeron St., Evansville, convicted July 23, 1990, of misdemeanor hit and run. He was ordered to pay a fine.


"It was a poor judgment on my part," he said. "I take full responsibility."


Town of Magnolia supervisor

David A. Olsen, 48, of 4124 N. Coon Island Road, Evansville, convicted July 12, 1993, of misdemeanor possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was ordered to pay a fine.


Olsen said the case happened a long time ago, and he hasn't used any marijuana or alcohol since that date.


"I believe that everyone has something that they regret in their life that they've done in the past," he said. "I think we should really concentrate ...on the issues at hand."


Town of Plymouth chairman

Lawrence R. Harding Jr., 58, of 8217 Front St., Hanover:


-- Convicted April 4, 2006, of fourth-offense drunken driving. He was sentenced to 120 days in jail and had his license revoked for 14 months.


-- Convicted April 18, 2006, of disorderly conduct. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail and 296 hours of community service.


-- Convicted Aug. 26, 2004, of third-offense drunken driving. He was sentenced to 90 days in jail and had his license revoked for 32 months.


-- Convicted June 8, 2004, of disorderly conduct. He was ordered to pay a fine.


-- Convicted on Feb. 20, 2004, of second-offense drunken driving. He was ordered to pay a fine, spend 60 days in jail and had his license revoked for 14 months.


Harding acknowledged his drunken-driving record, saying, "I've never denied the fact that I am an alcoholic. I had a three-year period of time where I went through some personal issues. I went to Rogers Memorial (Hospital) and had treatment, and I haven't had a drop of alcohol since."


"I was in a bad relationship or whatever you want to call it, and it was my fault as much as anybody else. I own what I did. You choose your behavior, you choose the consequence."


He said his history doesn't make him a bad community leader, and he said he volunteers regularly with a local homeless shelter.


Town of Rock constable

James T. Pakes, 22, of 5546 W. Tripp Road, Janesville, convicted Dec. 4, 2007, of causing injury by intoxicated driving after a July 4 accident in Janesville. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail with work-release privileges and had his drivers license revoked for one year.


Pakes declined to comment when reached by The Janesville Gazette.


Sharon Village Board

Robert W. Carlson, 48, of 128 Martin St., Sharon, convicted Sept. 16, 1997, of disorderly conduct. He was ordered to pay a fine.


In March, Carlson said he and his wife were having marital problems and were trying to work things out.


"There's nothing else that's out there," Carlson said of his record. "It is what it is."



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