Fmr. state Parole Commission Chairman accused of public corruption

The Police Civilian Oversight Board is working to determine the next steps.
The Police Civilian Oversight Board is working to determine the next steps.
Published: Apr. 19, 2023 at 7:11 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Former Wisconsin Parole Commission Chairman John Tate II is accused of applying and negotiating for a job that he helped approve the creation of while he was a member of the Racine Common Council.

One count of private interest in a public contract while working in a public capacity was filed in Racine County Circuit Court against Tate, according to court records. He is scheduled to appear in court on May 11 for an initial appearance.

According to the complaint, Tate was working on the City of Racine Finance Committee in July of 2022 when it approved moving forward a resolution for $784,000 in ARPA funds. The Racine Common Council, which Tate was president of, then voted on July 19 to approved the resolution, which also authorized creating the Violence Interruption Coordinator Position. The position was advertised from Sept. 8-22, of 2022, and received 20 applicants, including Tate.

The complaint states that it was made public on Oct. 11 through news reports that Tate accepted a position in the City of Madison. Tate revealed about a week later that he was rescinding his acceptance of the Madison Independent Monitor position to take an opportunity in Racine.

Tate was offered the Racine VICP position on Oct. 13, according to the complaint, and he responded by requesting a higher salary and more vacation time. The position was advertised at a range of $78,520.00 - $101,004.80, according to the complaint.

The complaint continues, stating that Public Health Administrator Dottie-Kay Bowersox and City Administrator Paul Vornholt agreed and amended the offer, raising his annual pay to $101,698.25 if he lived in the City of Racine and giving four weeks of vacation time. He was also offered to participate in a $10,000 forgivable home loan program for city employees if he bought a home in Racine.

Tate also claimed he would resign as a Racine alder and Common Council president on Nov. 14, 2022, to start the VICP job, according to the complaint. The complaint says Tate went back on this and said publicly that he would end his term in April of 2023 before starting as VICP.

The complaint argues that by applying for and negotiating the terms of the Racine position, he acted on behalf of his own financial interest while working in a public capacity at the same time.

Tate resigned as chairman of the Wisconsin Parole Commission in June, a month after Democratic Gov. Tony Evers asked Tate to step down in the midst of Republican criticism over parole plans for a convicted murderer.

If convicted, Tate would face a maximum sentence of 3-and-a-half years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine.

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