Special prosecutor will investigate Green Bay mayor, aldermen

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Two complaints drafted a few months ago by Green Bay City Council members are on their way to a special prosecutor's desk.

Mayor Jim Schmitt and Alderman Guy Zima

That's according to city leaders, who tell us the Brown County District Attorney's office has decided to pass the accusations along to someone else.

Action 2 News was told there's a conflict of interest between the district attorney's office and these complaints by City Council members.

To make sure they will be considered by an unbiased party, they're being passed along to an as-yet unknown prosecutor.

The first complaint was written by Alderman Guy Zima and four other council members at the end of October.

The aldermen accuse Mayor Jim Schmitt of diverting millions of dollars in public funds to inappropriate pay the former owner of Hotel Northland.

The aldermen say the mayor committed perjury, ongoing intent to deceive, fraud, and violation of public trust.

Zima says he's happy to see their accusations move to a special prosecutor.

“I think it’s a normal procedure,” said Zima. “Usually they feel they may have some perceived conflict of interest, but I think it shows there is enough merit to send it out to someone else and we are looking forward to the investigation.”

The mayor says he will cooperate fully.

"That's fine. We were very clear two months ago there was no wrongdoing, and I just thing we have some pretty evil spirited people that would like to see something bad happen to the city, and you know we are going to defend ourselves, and we feel pretty good about this," Schmitt said.

The other complaint on its way to a special prosecutor was drafted by Alderwoman Barbara Dorff.

She accused those same aldermen of violating open meetings law by holding a news conference to allege wrongdoing by the city's mayor and senior staff members.

She, too, tells us she's OK with the D.A.'s decision to pass the documents along to a third party.

"I thought his reasons for doing so were valid because two of the alders are county board supervisors and the county board is the division who decides on the DA's office funding," Dorff said, "and so really it puts him in a precarious position whether he would vote for the complaint or against it. How does he do that?"

We don't know who the special prosecutor is at this time, nor is there a timeline when we might know what will come of these accusations.

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