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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

County Investigation: No Evidence But Still A Hanging


By Richard Costerisan

While I realize the focus of this blog is to recognize the shortcomings of the Janesville Gazette, a number of our current political problems can be directly linked to the press as a whole. As big money buys up our government, they are also taking control of the press and airways. In many ways, the only truly free place on the planet for humanity to express our views and learn the facts is on web-based blogs such as this one. Basically, what you read in the press and see on your TV today is controlled by big business. Gone are the investigative reporters and newshounds that dug for the truth and splashed it across their newspapers and piped it across the airwaves. Now the news media at every level is simply a puppet for those who control our politicians. The control is so pervasive that it is as prevalent in Rock County as it is in Chicago. Business buys politicians and the media. The media and politicians work together to advance the rich man’s agenda. So it is, right here in Rock and Dane counties. The Janesville Gazette and The Wisconsin State Journal are pumping out misinformation to distort public opinion and gain even more control. Don’t be distracted by their lies. Be vigilant and search for the truth. You will find it here at every day.

With that said, on Friday, December 10, 2010 - Rock County released a report to the Janesville Gazette and the Wisconsin State Journal they received from attorney David Moore. Moore was retained by the county to investigate and develop the report following allegations of workplace abuse made by Rock County Deputy Coroner Michelle Walworth. It is important to note that this report found no substantiation for any of the allegations made by Ms. Walworth. The county conducted the 3-month investigation at a cost of thousands of dollars in taxpayer money. Having found no substantiation for the complaint, the report then exceeds the charge requested by the county and includes conjecture, opinion and suppositions that are no more than opinion by attorney Moore. While this type of behavior is anything but normal conduct for an attorney, the county accepted the report without redaction.

The county's behavior following receipt of the report is highly irregular and totally unprofessional. One could easily draw the conclusion that the county's failure to redact the conjecture and opinion from attorney Moore's report may be motivated by their desire to discredit the coroner in support of efforts to establish justification for instituting a medical examiner's office in Rock County.

The Wisconsin State Journal used information provided in the report to publish an online article erroneously stating the Rock County Coroner, Jenifer Keach, violated a state law related to political activities while at work. Following complaints about their libelous statements, the article that appeared in their newspaper was changed to “May”. The online version was also changed. Had attorney Moore actually done his job, comments about a possible violation would have never appeared in his report. And, if attorney Moore actually knew the law, he would have never made any reference that Jenifer may have violated it. The law states the activity attorney Moore suggested may be a violation is clearly legal. Further, attorney Moore is not a qualified medical person who can presume to know the mental state of anyone, let alone a number of people involved in his investigation for the county. Never-the-less, he presents himself in his report to the county as able to do so – highly unprofessional.

In addition to their online article, the Wisconsin State Journal provided links to the 127 page report and other supporting documents on their web site. Two things become immediately apparent to the reader who chooses to investigate the associated documents. First, the claim that Jenifer Keach violated state law is not found in the report. Instead, the report says (erroneously) that she may have violated the law. Second, large portions of the document are blacked out that pertain to anyone but Jenifer and her Chief Deputy. Since this is a public document, one has to ask, why are the names of others involved in the complaint not included? Another important observation is the absence of several documents from the released report. Why were these documents withheld? What did they say that the county didn't want released? Who are they protecting? Why hasn’t Michelle Walworth been dismissed for filing false claims creating great expense for the county to investigate? Why has Michelle Walworth been given a protected status and moved to another department where more qualified candidates for the job had applied? Why hasn't the Wisconsin State Journal asked these questions or for the missing documents? Do they have an agenda? When Jenifer asked to have the conjecture, opinion and inaccurate allegations that she violated state statutes related to the report redacted, the county informed her it was not their report and, therefore, they could not redact anything. Yet, when the report was released, large portions of the text were blacked out. Why?

As expected, the Janesville Gazette followed suit on Tuesday with another misleading headline on their front page (Title - "Report: Coroner 'may' have violated statute," Sub-Title - "Questions arise from election campaigning"). The Gazette's past behavior related to Jenifer has been anything but accurate or kind. After reading their release today, I find they are just as interested in selling misinformation and sensationalism as the WSJ. Wouldn't it be nice if we still had real newspapers with real investigative reporters that want to get the truth out to the public? Obviously our political editors are on a very short leash and clearly know what their masters expect. Please take the time to read the released public documents on the WSJ web site to learn the truth about what is happening in government right here in Rock County. The Gazette has also posted their article on and has toned it down a bit. Still it is a far cry from being an accurate accounting of anything that has happened related to this investigation. Similar to their actions for the past 5 years regarding the Rock County Coroner’s office, it has an underlying agenda to satiate the political ambitions of those who own our county and its media.

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