GREEN BAY, Wis. (WLUK) — A formal complaint about how Green Bay ran its November election is being filed with the Wisconsin Elections Commission.
It comes from five residents, including the head of the Republican Party of Brown County, James Fitzgerald. The other residents are Richard Carlstedt, Sandra Duckett, Thomas Sladek, and Lark Wartenberg.
“It's no wonder given the many irregularities in the last election cycle that people are finding it difficult to trust the process,” said Fitzgerald at a Thursday afternoon press conference in the Brown County Courthouse. “That is why I decided to do something about it.”
The respondents listed in the complaint are Wisconsin Elections Commission Administrator Meagan Wolfe, Green Bay Mayor Eric Genrich, his former chief of staff and newly appointed city clerk Celestine Jeffreys, and former city clerk Kris Teske.
The complaint alleges state and federal laws were violated when the city accepted a $1.6 million grant from Center for Tech and Civic Life and the conditions that came with the money. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife supplied the money for the grants.
“The principle problem is the common council voted for these conditions and these conditions violate the federal constitution and state law,” said Erick Kaardal, the attorney for the complainants.
Kaardal says only the state legislature can change legal conditions for a federal election.
He says the argument presented in the complaint is different from a pre-election lawsuit, which a federal judge dismissed.
Kaardal says open records requests returned last month, including thousands of city emails, provided new key information.
“They approved the conditions, but after the conditions were in place and after the money was received, the private corporations and their employees were introduced to engage in election administration,” said Kaardal.
Kaardal is the same attorney who filed lawsuits in battleground states, challenging the election results. A federal judge has referred the attorney for sanctions, saying the lawsuits were political grandstanding.
FOX 11 wanted to interview either Mayor Genrich or City Attorney Vanessa Chavez about the complaint.
In an email, Chavez told FOX 11: “We haven't seen the complaint yet, but it is our policy not to comment on pending investigations. The City continues to stand behind the handling of the November 2020 election, and will continue to comply with any requirements of the Wisconsin Elections Commission as we have always done.”
As for Wolfe, a Wisconsin Elections Commission official told us the commission does not comment when it receives a complaint.
Based on the type of complaint, the city has 15 days to respond. The complainants then have 10 days to respond back. After that, the Wisconsin Elections Commission will determine if further action is necessary.