Geneva Java Coffee Shop, Incorporated is about erupt like Vesuvius across and over all of Lake Geneva. The “nativity scene” of the Geneva Shore Report’s birthplace will re-open on June 15th and the day will go down as a day of grand, smiling, enthusiasm, instead of infamy. Infamy would be alright, of course, if it meant that such would bring people from near and far to experience the place’s ambiance and new found warm cheer. The Geneva Java, to re-open at 252 Center Street (the old home of Wilson’s Meats) was once located in a basement. It’s hard to have a whole lot of warm cheer in a basement. Any basement. Walk into the light of the new GJCSI vaults and be amazed.
Big trucks are attacking Lake Geneva while the city stands by and does nothing. It’s about time that citizens and visitors coming to or parking in Lake Geneva begin taking parking tickets to court. The defense? Equal treatment under the law. If the huge semi-truck trailers are going to be given a free pass to park wherever they want, including in the middle of downtown streets for protracted periods of time, than regular citizens who get fined for being in a legal slot past the meter time need to start appealing. The City of Lake Geneva is practicing selective application of the parking ordinances in downtown Lake Geneva. There is no ordinance that allows trucks, no matter whether they are loading or unloading, to park for as long as they want anywhere they want, without paying a dime.
Back in 2008 Hummel & Mirbeau filed a lawsuit for over $125 million against the City of Lake Geneva. The suit included all city officials with one notable exception, City Administrator Dennis Jordan.
One of the allegations cited by Hummel in their lawsuit was about promises made and benefits offered to Hummel by the city administration. No name was released in the suit about who in the city promised what, but there’s little doubt that the culprit referred to was Dennis Jordan. Hummel also sued private individuals like Jim Connors who headed the “Vote No” Group, but that was before he became Mayor, and Dick Malmin of the Friends of Geneva Lake.
Dennis was not sued privately either.
The federal judge in the case ruled against Hummel in the suit. In the private cases filed against Connors and Malmin, U.S. District Judge Stadtmueller went out of his way to warn Hummel that they would also lose their lawsuit against the city if the case went to court with the evidence Hummel had advanced to that point. So the Judge recommended Hummel resort to mediation to resolve their issues with the city. Astonishingly, mediation went topsy-turvy and somehow Hummel came out on top with $4 million in hush money from the city, in a case in which the judge predicted Hummel would certainly lose! The outcome of the mediation was so unexpected that it became obvious that Hummel might just have some incriminating documentation against the city for it to spend $4 million to keep it hushed up.
Hummel, however, wasn’t content with just money. It used its leverage of alleged evidence to get the City of Lake Geneva leadership to do something illegal-a quid pro quo agreement called contract zoning. In addition to the four million dollar settlement, Hummel also demanded special zoning privileges from the city in exchange for dropping its lawsuit. Upset that the city was willing to enter into an illegal settlement agreement with Hummel and would do so in secret behind closed doors, Care For Lake Geneva sued the city for contract zoning. Not for any money, but to find out who made those promises to Hummel and what those promises truly consisted of.
The Care For Lake Geneva lawsuit went on for 2 years before Dennis Jordan finally retired on May 31, 2015. Then a day or 2 after Jordan’s retirement Care For Lake Geneva got a memo from City Attorney Dan Draper saying that the City was now ready to release all of the documents that had been withheld regarding the Hummel settlement, with the exception of three letters. There will be no settlement until the contents of those three letters are revealed.
Monday night Mayor Connors and City Attorney Draper decided to reward Dennis Jordan for his record shredding prowess and, at the same time, put him in a witness protection program by appointing him to a position on the most important board in the city, the Police and Fire Commission, for the next 5 years. Jordan needs the protection of the Police and Fire Commission because, according to the Assistant Attorney General, Annie Jay. Dennis Jordan is among those continuing to be investigated in the Ron Carstensen Case. The initial investigation, conducted by the Lake Geneva Police Dept., has over 1500 pages documenting Jordan’s involvement in the misdeeds at the Street Department. Attorney Draper did his own investigation, but will not release his findings or allow any additional information concerning Jordan’s involvement to be released until the Carstensen trial is concluded.
The outrage here? And there is an outrage. Dennis Jordon is being given power over the same police department that investigated and encouraged charges be brought against him and other city officials. Is it time to recall Jim Conners? Can Gumby be counted on to be anything but Gumby or is he going to prove to be Darth Vader wearing Gumby’s metaphorical costume?
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