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Ethics board dismisses complaint against Alderman Vander Leest

Green Bay Alderman John Vander Leest listens to testimony in the hearing on an ethics complaint filed against him. (WLUK)

GREEN BAY (WLUK) -- In a unanimous decision, Green Bay’s ethics board dismissed an ethics complaint against Alderman John Vander Leest.

Zoe Van Oss, the woman who filed the complaint, says she felt bullied after Vander Leest forwarded an email exchange between the two of them to her employer.

Van Oss wanted a public apology from Vander Leest and the assurance the public can speak freely to elected officials without fear of retaliation.

Vander Leest contends he did nothing wrong.

“All of you know that you need to have both law and facts and you need to go through the elements to find a violation and it's just not there,” said Tricia Nell, Vander Leest’s attorney.

The ethics board agreed with Vander Leest based off of the rules of the code of conduct.

Van Oss emailed Vander Leest in February to voice her support for Mayor Jim Schmitt before a city council hearing on whether he should be removed from office.

Van Oss is a realtor for Mark Olejniczak Realty and the emails were from her Olejniczak account.

Vander Leest says he forwarded the emails to Olejniczak to notify him how one of his employees was portraying his business's name.

Van Oss believes the emails were forwarded to cause her financial harm.

“I tried to be professional and I believe he took it to the next level by attacking my character and my reputation because I did not agree with him,” said Van Oss.

Van Oss declined FOX 11’s request for comment after the board's decision.

Vander Leest says he is happy justice was served and is ready to move on.

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