New charges against chief
Attorney says allegations are false
By John Faucher
New charges were filed against Hortonville Police Chief Michael Sullivan on Thursday, March 16.
The charges filed with the Village of Hortonville Police Commission stem from Sullivan’s affidavit of fact submitted with the closing arguments in a previous case.
The police commission granted a motion to strike the affidavit and did not consider it in its adjudication of the previous charges.
In the previous case, the commission found Sullivan culpable on some charges, but not all of them. In its decision, the commission said it felt confident that Sullivan was able to lead the department, and the charges against him did not warrant termination. He was placed on two weeks unpaid leave with an additional six weeks held in abeyance for two years, provided he does not commit any similar offenses.
The new charges, filed by James Palmer of the Wisconsin Professional Police Association on behalf of Village Administrator Diane Wessel and five Hortonville police officers, contends that Sullivan’s affidavit implicates him as “making false or malicious statements with the intent to harm or destroy the reputation, authority, or official standing of individuals.”
The five officers signing the complaint are Brian Bahr, Sean Stephens, Ashley Dasko, Andrew Kizewski and Justin Ross.
The complaint also states, “Nonetheless, the allegations and statements of fact made by Chief Sullivan in the stricken affidavit were reported in the media and the affidavit itself is readily available to the public on the internet.”
The complaint states Wessel and the officers who signed it are requesting a hearing before the Village of Hortonville Police Commission.
Sullivan’s attorney Greg Gill Sr., who was on vacation in Florida when the latest charges were filed, said the allegations are false.
“This is the continuation of a witch hunt,” said Gill.
He also said he was confident that the Police Commission “would do the right thing.”
On Monday, March 13, the Village of Hortonville Executive Committee met in closed session. It passed a motion directing staff to notify other board members and staff affected by Sullivan’s affidavit that the board is looking into how the village will address the affidavit.
On Tuesday, March 21, following deliberations, the Hortonville Police and Fire Commission released a post-decision ruling regarding the village’s attorney James Macy’s Feb. 21 request that the commission reconsider its original decision.
The ruling filed Tuesday by the commission states, “Upon the entire record in these proceedings, including post-decision correspondence, the requests of the complainant set forth in counsel’s letter of February 21, 2017 are denied and the decision and order issued February 15, 2017 is confirmed as issued.”
The Police and Fire Commission meeting scheduled for March 22 on the matter was cancelled.