Documents give more perspective on Mayor Schmitt investigation

Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt (Photo courtesy City of Green Bay)

GREEN BAY (WLUK) -- Three weeks before Jim Schmitt's first court appearance, two court documents explain what the special prosecutor did to get more information about the Green Bay mayor's campaign finances.

Schmitt is set to be in court on Oct. 5 at 1:30 p.m. Patrick Knight, Schmitt's attorney, says at that time, the four-term mayor hopes to enter a guilty plea and be sentenced on three misdemeanor charges related to campaign finance reporting violations.

The special prosecutor in the case said last week that both sides had reached a plea deal, and the state won't recommend any jail or probation.

Outagamie County Judge Mitchell Metropulos was assigned to the case Monday morning. The case was originally and randomly assigned to Brown County Judge Tim Hinkfuss, but he and all of the other Brown County judges signed an order recusing themselves from the case.

Schmitt has been staying out of the public eye, but Saturday at a UW-Extension event, Schmitt made his first public appearance after criminal charges were filed against him.

Schmitt declined an on-camera interview, saying he wouldn't comment "until after this works through the process." Facing calls for his resignation, Schmitt said he "is going to continue to be mayor."

FOX 11 Investigates is also learning more about what went into the 20-month investigation.

The special prosecutor in the case, Milwaukee County Assistant District Attorney Bruce Landgraf, subpoenaed two Green Bay banks to get Schmitt's campaign account records.

Monday morning, FOX 11 Investigates received the returns and requests for each subpoena, which were filed and sealed in September of last year.

The misdemeanor charges filed against Schmitt are for false statements to an election official, accepting campaign contributions not belonging to the reported contributor and accepting campaign contributions in excess of state limits. Schmitt has said any errors in his finances were not intentional.

The two subpoena requests are each 25-pages long.

Part of them highlight two December 2013 donations, listed on receipts from the initials C S. Landgraf, the prosecutor, says the dates are consistent with a corporate contribution from Cantilever Studios, LLC, of Suamico. But an amended report filed in January of last year lists donations on those dates from Carl Schmitt - the mayor's brother and a priest in Sturgeon Bay.

Landgraf says "The 'C S' amendment is remarkable for several reasons." He notes a corporate donation would be prohibited by law, and that the amendment was done at at time when Schmitt's committee was already being publicly criticized.

According to the criminal complaint, Carl Schmitt told investigators he doesn't remember donating any money to his brother. Rev. Schmitt did not respond to FOX 11's interview request Monday.

The subpoena request also says the prosecutor found four checks that weren't included on any campaign finance reports.

And the documents show Schmitt filed paperwork showing no campaign account activity in the first half of 2014, although bank statements showed five withdrawals or deposits during that time.

Landgraf declined FOX 11's interview request. In an email to FOX 11, he said the violations in the subpoena request "will be considered by the judge in fashioning a sentence in this case."

The prosecutor says Schmitt's campaign voluntarily turned over some of its records. The criminal complaint says Schmitt never refused to turn over records himself, although the prosecutor used subpoenas to obtain the complete bank records.

Schmitt won re-election in April 2015, three months after the finance concerns were first raised, leaving two and a half years remaining on his term.

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