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Discrimination cases slated for arbitration hearings Tuesday

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ANN MARIE AMES
April 4, 2011
— Arbitration is scheduled Tuesday for a group of federal lawsuits claiming racial discrimination against the town of Beloit and its former police chief.

Attorneys for both sides will meet in Milwaukee, town board Chairman Dave Townsend said. The arbitration is part of the federal court process, Townsend said.


He did not know Sunday how long the arbitration would take.


The five lawsuits, most filed by current or former employees, claim that Wilson behaved in a racist manner in the office and retaliated against employees who spoke out against such behavior.


The suits were filed throughout 2010. The first, filed by Anthony Smith, owner of Flying AJ's Towing of Beloit, is scheduled for an April 25 court trial in Madison, Townsend said. Smith's suit claims that Wilson refused to use Smith's services because Smith is black.


Other lawsuits were filed by officer David Burkee; Clerk of Court Mary Abegglen and her husband, former Sgt. Willie Abegglen; former officer Chris Luzinski, and Sgt. David Dransfield.


Wilson more than once made racial remarks about Burkee, who is "a person of color of multiple ethnic backgrounds," according to court documents. When the police union filed complaints, Wilson retaliated against Burkee, the documents state.


The other employees state that Wilson created a hostile work environment and retaliated against them for defending Burkee, among other things.


Wilson retired suddenly in late January. Earlier in the month, a video of his deposition in which he admitted to using the N-word in the office was posted to YouTube.



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