January 15, 2009

Just when was Becker porn first discovered?

UPDATED: See below...

Elsewhere, we've posted the full complaint presented Thursday at Mayor Gary Becker's first court appearance. It consisted of:
  • two pages listing the six criminal counts charged by District Attorney Mike Nieskes;
  • six pages of narrative detailing how the mayor asked an IT employee on Dec. 23, 2008, to fix his personal computer ... a request that led directly to investigators finding allegedly pornographic images of underage girls on Becker's computer, as well as 1,800 archived sexual chat conversations on a hard drive;
  • and 21 pages of chats that will turn your stomach.
Take our word for it: Don't read the chats; they're disgusting.

But the most interesting point to us was two short paragraphs within the investigative narrative. Here they are:
Agent Szatkowski further reports that on or about January 14, 2009, he met with Racine city Police chief Wahlen; Wahlen states that an individual named Paul Burdick was a former information and technology employee/contractor with the City of Racine. Burdick reported that in August of 2007 he received a personal computer from Mayor Gary Becker to make repairs. Burdick reported that this computer was not City of Racine property, but was, upon information and belief, personal property of Mayor Becker. Burdick turned over a CD marked "Gary files from Becker PC family," which contained the contents of files removed from hard drive of Mayor Gary Becker's personal computer.

Agent Szatkowski states that he viewed the contents of the disk created by Burdick. Agent Szatkowski reports that he observed several images similar in nature to those observed previously from the hard drive of Mayor Becker's other personal computer. The photos include one titled "10 YO undressed from cell phone in class." The image is believed to be a minor female, displaying full frontal nudity, exposing her breasts and pubic region of her body. Based upon training and experience in investigating child pornography complaints, he believed the image to be child pornography in nature.
We're not sure -- because the writing isn't crystal clear -- but those two paragraphs say that pornography was discovered on a Becker personal computer 17 months before the one brought in for repairs on Dec. 23, 2008, that led to all that's transpired in the past couple of days. Seventeen months! But what action was taken?

What we don't know is when Burdick made Police Chief Wahlen aware of what he found on that Becker hard drive, and when he turned over that CD marked ""Gary files from Becker PC family," and to whom they were turned over. And what did that person do with them?

We asked William Cosh, spokesman for the Department of Criminal Investigation, about the discrepancy this afternoon. He wouldn't clear it up, conceding only that the questions we raised were valid, and telling us that we were the second reporter to ask him about it.

We're also unsure where the most damning evidence against Becker was found: the 1,800 online chat conversations. Another statement in the six-page narrative portion of the complaint says:
Agent Szatkowski further states that based upon observation of the contents of the aforementioned hard drives, over 1,800 online chats were discovered...
Hard drives, plural. Was it in the computer needing repair in August 2007, or the one brought in on Dec. 23, 2008? We don't know. And it's late now, and there's no way to reach the people we need to ask those questions. Something to ponder on another day...

UPDATE, Jan. 16: The Journal Times is reporting today that Michael Ferderer, the technician who repaired the Mayor's computer on Dec. 23, 2008, told authorities about the technician, Paul Burdick, who had repaired another of Becker's personal computers in August 2007. Thus, investigators -- including the Racine Police -- did not know of the 2007 discovery until recently.

One question still remains, however: why didn't Burdick report what he found in 2007... and didn't he have a legal responsibility to do so?

AND here's the official Racine Police Department response.

19 comments:

  1. Maybe the first guy that got fired was going to blackmail Becker????????

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  2. Why was the "sting" chat operation done?

    Wasn't there enough evidence to begin with?

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  3. downtown_racine1/16/2009 5:32 AM

    The bait was put out there to see if a predator would bite, and boy a predator swallowed the bait, hook, line and sinker. DCI landed a whopper, book'em Danno.

    What a moron, alcoholic delusions of grandeur I guess.

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  4. This is from our DA's office, remember? The writing is not that great and they cannot even decide how to spell 'Mayor' (Mayer?). The confusion may be the result of bad grammar.

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  5. Might explane why Becker got rid of the IT Dept. Also one of the fired employee sued and won a case on Racine might the terms of that get looked at?

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  6. Congratulations to the Racine Post because I think this will be one of the most impportant stories to come out of this mess! I have been asking this question since that little tidbit about finding material in 2007 - who knew about it and why wasn't something reported and done?

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  7. I'll be here checking for updates on this matter-- the wording was very vague regarding when the Chief was given the disk. Please continue to ask these questions because this mess could get so much messier.

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  8. Recall that there was a big change in the city IT department I think in 2007 to bring in contractors. This was sold as being cheaper but maybe there was much more to it. Find out if one or several people were shipped out the door with big cash payments and signed non-disclosure agreements so they wouldn't squawk about the porn (or other things) they knew about.

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  9. The complaint is not written clearly. Paul Burdick did not give the 2007 information to Chief Wahlen until the last week or so after the recent discovery was made. That fact is made clear on the JT's website today.

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  10. Anonymous 8:48 - I have looked through the links on the JT site but have not been able to find the information about the 2007 events. Can you please provide the link?

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  11. It is in the First Look area, where the put small blurbs about breaking news, on the right side.

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  12. Paul Burdick discovers child porn on Mayor's PC in August 2007.
    Jan 2008 IT department is outsourced and Burdick looses City job in IT department and becomes contractor with no city benefits.
    A few months later, Burdick is rehired into DPW as a building maintence supervisor... someone smell blackmail or more Mayor misconduct?

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  13. Here's a link to the JT's clarification:

    http://www.journaltimes.com/newsrightnow/?idvar=1034

    One problem: There's no attribution. Who said this is what happened? We're trying to find out.

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  14. Thank you anonymous 9:20, 9:26 and Dustin. Racine Post may be the only news source that is asking these questions and actually looking for answers.

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  15. Seems to me the clarification comes from the chief himself, they must have interviewed him when you decided to throw him under the bus, in order to create more drama.

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  16. This entire situation regarding when Paul Burdick turned information over to the PD is interesting. How convenient for him that he has this type of leverage and managed to maintain employment with the City. Too bad the rest of us that lost our jobs didn't have such damning information to use to keep our positions. Paul's situation is not the only situation where Becker selectively used is power as Mayor to offer a better outcome to one employee over another.

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  17. Besides being shocked to learn of this disgusting scandal, I was also shocked to learn that Becker (a.k.a. Mr. Reed) is only 51, He looks at least 65 yrs-old. I guess being rotten to the core (arrogant, cocky, an egomaniac, disrespectful, rude, drunken, perverted) robs one of their outward looks. He is as ugly on the outside as he is on the inside. I cannot believe how DUMB this man is. I guess arrogance and stupidity go hand in hand. How could he think he would not get caught with his sloppy trail of cyber evidence? And then to ask "Hope" on the phone if she was a cop? So did he expect the cop to say, "Oh yeah I am a cop. You got me on that one Gary, you stud!" This guy has got to go and his cronies and worthless entourage need to go as well. He's done enough damage to the city of Racine and wasted enough of our money. There needs to be a thorough house cleaning and audit of city hall. My vote for the next mayor is Alderman Robert Mozol because is the ONLY one who has EVER responded to my letters out of all the worthless people I have sent letters to regarding different issues. These worthless people include: Jeff Coe, Dave Maack, Becker, and DeHahn - I didn't even get a canned response letter or anything back and no responses to my emails. Mozol is the only one who had the common courtesy to respond and respond quickly - ACTUALLY DO HIS JOB - what a novel idea! Maybe I should have directed those others letters to The Ivanhoe, Henry & Wanda's, Shillings, or Ricky's since that is where Mr. Reed and his wannabee "Rat Pack" spent the majority of their time. Wonder how many other child predators are wasting taxpayer money by posing as city officials? I think the second IT guy who exposed Mr. Reed, for the parasite that he is, should get some kind of award. Shame on IT guy #1 for not turning Mr. Reed's kiddie porn into authorities back in 2007 (EVIL prevails when good people do nothing). We could have gotten him out of office 2-yrs ago instead of letting him continue to waste taxpayers money on his lavish travel expenses, drunken driving all over Racine, preying on little girls, and god knows what else. Who knows how many little girls he's hooked up with in the last 2-yrs while we were paying his salary. And another thing - I think Mr. Reed's worthless idea of turning Uptown into an artist/gallery district should be abandoned. That is just a misdirected waste of time and money. We have the 3rd most significant contemporary craft museum in the nation right here in downtown Racine - Main St and 6th St are the gallery/art districts in this town - let's focus on these areas and not water them down by adding a third. We need to clean up the crime, clean up the gangs and dogfighting, clean up the neighborhoods, clean up the drugs, improve our schools and the education system, bring back jobs, etc. I don't see how making Uptown into an arts district and putting sparkly mosaic murals in it is going to help the city of Racine. Deep down Racine is a blue-collar town and more artsy stuff is not what it needs right now. I guess this fluffy little project was just more fun for Mr. Reed rather than dealing with the real problems at hand. One last thing - RESIGN and RESIGN NOW. You are nothing but a mockery and we have lost all respect for you - heck, I never had any respect for you in the first place. I'll never forget how you treated me like the dirt you walk on the first time you came into my place of employment w/ your hot shot entourage (Maack included) - I despised you from that day on six years ago. I guess if I would have been a 13-yr old girl you would have been nicer. I feel so sorry for your poor wife and daughters and pray that your selfish, arrogant, and disgusting actions don't ruin their lives'. I hope karma gets you and it hits you like an atomic bomb. What comes around, goes around Mr. Reed. Remember that next time. You reap what you sow. KARMA - The total effect of a person's actions and conduct during the successive phases of the person's existence, regarded as determining the person's destiny, especially, in his next incarnation. What goes around comes around. I think you might be coming back as an oozing Syphilis sore on some other pedophile's average genitalia.

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  18. I just want to remark to the last comment on one thing. Jeff Coe broke ties with Becker after the Tingle complaint was filed. And, they had been drifting apart for a quite a while before that.
    Also, DeHahn never had any love for Becker and that was hardly a secret. And, Becker couldn't stand DeHahn and he didn't keep that much of a secret.
    No, most of the republicans on the city council were the biggest Becker supporters.
    I give credit to Helding for not hesitating to call for Becker's resignation immediately. Although, they were pretty friendly he seems to instinctively do the right thing.
    I understand Coe wanted him out before this even happened so he should be given credit for his instincts also.

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  19. Helding is just as crooked as Becker and Wahlen. Their little "good old boys" network landed his brother a job on RPD. Helding would just be more of the same if elected Mayor.

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