Mayor Gary Becker was arrested last night on child pornography charges. Unconfirmed reports say he is also charged with solicitation of a minor.
He's being held in the Kenosha County Jail at the request of the Racine County Sheriff's Department His bond is set at $165,000.
Becker was arrested by the state Department of Criminal Investigation some time late last night. He was transported to the Kenosha County Jail at 2 a.m.
City Council President David Maack told WRJN this morning that he received a call last night from Police Chief Kurt Wahlen telling him Becker had been arrested. Becker was arrested on child pornography charges as part of an ongoing investigation, Maack told WRJN.
Maack said he would meet with City Administrator Ben Hughes and City Attorney Rob Weber about ongoing operation of the city.
According to state election law, a special election is required six weeks after a mayor resigns.
A press conference is scheduled for 10 a.m. at City Hall.
It's a shocking turn for Racine's top official, who ran unopposed for re-election in 2007.
Becker was a national leader on Great Lakes issues and was actively involved in the US Conference of Mayors. Locally, he's promoted a number of business development programs and has been a booster of Downtown Racine.
Despite some early success, he's taken heat lately for trying to convert Uptown Racine into an artists district. Becker also ran into problems in 2007 with the minority community after he talked about closing or changing the community center.
This isn't Becker's first brush with high-profile controversy. In 2006, former Mayor Jim Smith called then Police Chief David Spenner's cell phone in an attempt to get Becker arrested for drunken driving. Becker was not arrested, but later found out about the call and went public with it.
Earlier this year, Becker had a kidney removed to contain a cancerous tumor. The surgery was successful and he was back at work soon after the operation.