A city employee fired late last year sued Racine Mayor John Dickert this week for slander over comments the mayor made on WRJN radio.
Bill Bielefeldt, who was fired from the city's Department of Development in November, filed suit in Racine County Circuit Court on Monday. Dickert allegedly said on the radio that Bielefeldt was "embezzling" from the city. To date, no allegations of embezzlement, which is a form of financial fraud that's essentially stealing, have been made against Bielefeldt.
An insider with knowledge of the situation said the mayor overstepped in alleging criminal action by Bielefeldt. They also said the suit was purposefully filed against Dickert, and not the city, so the mayor would have to hire his own attorney to defend himself. Dickert will not be able to use the city attorney's office in the case, they said.
It's hard to say what, if any, impact the case will have on Dickert's re-election bid. Voters could see it as a messy situation involving a disgruntled employee and give the mayor a pass. But they may also wonder why Dickert was even talking about Bielefeldt in a public forum, much less making allegations no one, at least publicly, has stated.
No court dates have been set in the case, which is being handled by Judge Charles Constantine's court. Bielefeldt is being represented by Thomas Santarelli, a Kenosha attorney who is known as a bulldog in the court room.
Beth over at Racine Uncovered was the first to jump on this story. The JT is also paying attention.
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