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Darien board member expects settlement on campaign charge

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ANN MARIE AMES
May 20, 2009
— Debi Olmstead knows ignorance of the law is no excuse.

It won't happen again, she said.


Olmstead, of 185 Andrea Ave., Darien, faces a charge of failing to identify a sponsor on her campaign fliers. She distributed the fliers during the February primary race for Darien Village Board.


Olmstead was elected to the board in April.


The charge is not criminal, but, if found guilty, Olmstead could have to pay a $500 fine.


Olmstead this week told The Janesville Gazette she expects to reach a plea agreement with the Walworth County District Attorney's Office.


Assistant District Attorney Diane Donohoo offered to let Olmstead pay a $100 forfeiture in exchange for a no-contest plea, Olmstead said.


Olmstead was working on a reply to Donohoo's letter but would not share details with the Gazette. She is scheduled to appear in court Tuesday, June 16.


The charge was the result of a complaint made in March, according to court documents.


Edward Kaufenberg, 209 Washington St., Darien, complained to the Darien Police Department about Olmstead's fliers. The fliers did not identify the payment source, according to court documents.


Kaufenberg is the husband of Cheryl Kaufenberg, who was elected to the board in April.


Olmstead told Chuck Lankford of the Darien Police Department that she'd printed and disbursed 100 fliers in February.


She said she was not aware in February of the law that required the fliers to state who paid for them. She said it would never happen again, according to court documents.


Olmstead told the Gazette she learned about the rules for fliers, posters and banners in early March when she and others worked on their campaigns for the general election.


She and fellow candidates got information from the Wisconsin League of Municipalities about the rules, Olmstead said.


Olmstead said the charge would "not at all" affect her working relationship with Cheryl Kaufenberg.


The Gazette was unable to reach the Kaufenbergs for comment.



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