Civics: Bad judgment in Racine: City attorney and judge kept routine public records secret

Bill Lueders:

This led to a determination that the vast majority of case records must be made public, as they should have been all along.

As the Journal Times reported, the released invoices show Racine taxpayers have shelled out nearly $18,000 to fund Letteney’s crusade against Weidner. This went to pay two attorneys $350 and $205 an hour, respectively, for about 68 hours of work. Weidner’s attorney, Terry Rose, deemed these fees “excessive in light of the issues involved,” noting that his defense of Weidner, at $300 an hour, came to less than $3,500.

Let us be clear about what has happened. City Attorney Letteney, with Judge Gasiorkiewicz’s help, has wasted many thousands of taxpayer dollars to embrace a shocking level of official secrecy. Weidner and media organizations have, at their own expense, pushed back against this, and thus far prevailed.

But the wrong that has been done here has not yet been righted. There ought to be consequences for the bad judgment shown by Letteney and Gasiorkiewicz, as well as by Racine Mayor Cory Mason — who, as far as I can tell, has sat on his hands as this outrage has played out in his city.

“We know best”.