Darien board settles in open meetings case

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010
— Some past and present members of the Darien Village Board expect today to sign settlement agreements with the Walworth County District Attorney’s Office.

The board members were charged with violating Wisconsin’s Open Meetings law.

A jury trial scheduled for Monday morning was cancelled. Assistant District Attorney Diane Donohoo on Monday morning expected five people to sign settlement agreements.

The charges followed complaints about the way the village posted agendas for three meetings, according to Walworth County Sheriff's Office investigative reports obtained by the Gazette.

According to the reports:

-- An Oct. 24 session during which board members interviewed candidates for village administrator was not posted.

-- Notices for Oct. 27 and Nov. 18 closed session meetings were incomplete.

According to the reports, Darien Police Chief Steve DeVoy filed a complaint with the sheriff's office about the Nov. 18 meeting. Reports do not indicate who filed the complaints about the other two meetings.

As of Monday evening, details of the settlement were not public and were not clear even to the board members.

But former board member Phil Putman said the settlement included a no-contest plea on the charge for the Oct. 24 meeting and a fine of $100 and court costs.

“This puts an end to the DeVoy saga,” Putman said. “And we won. He’s gone.”

DeVoy will resign in May after being suspended with pay in December 2009.

Putman along with former board members Bob Metzner and Allen Kenyon and current board members Kurt Zipp and Jim Abbott are expected to settle today with the district attorney’s office.

The five were represented by an attorney for the village’s insurance company, board member Bob Wenzel said. He anticipated the board members would pay for the legal representation as part of the settlement, but was not certain of the details.

Wenzel retained his own attorney and on Friday pleaded no contest to one of the three charges. He must pay $263.50, according to online court records.

Board member Craig McCue in August pleaded guilty to one charge. He was fined $100, his wife told the Gazette.

Abbott and Wenzel seek re-election. They are opposed by Putman and resident Helen Burton. Zipp does not seek re-election.

McCue’s seat is not up for re-election, although he has not been attending board meetings because he has been ill.

Last updated: 12:20 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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