Racine Alderman John Tate II, who was forced last year to resign as Governor Evers' Parole Commission director, has been charged with a felony for allegedly using his position to approve a new $100,000-per-year job that he himself then took. The Racine County District Attorney's Office on Tuesday filed a charge of Private interest in a Public Contract While Working in a Public Capacity, a Class I felony punishable by a maximum sentence of more than three years in prison.
According to a criminal complaint obtained exclusively by "The Dan O'Donnell Show," Tate used his position as Racine's Common Council President and member of the Finance and Personnel Committee to approve a grant creating a new city position of Violence Interruption Coordinator. The position, which was described as helping "to facilitate the process of creating a Racine version of a 'Blueprint for Peace'" and would pay between $78,520.00 and $101,004.80 annually. There were 20 applicants for the position, which was advertised only from September 8-22, and Tate was one of only three to interview for the position.
On October 11, Tate accepted a positiion as the City of Madison's Independent Police Monitor, but two days later the City of Racine offered him the position of Violence Interruption Coordinator. Tate used his new position in Madison as leverage with Racine and negotiated an annual salary of $101,698.05 (more than the advertised salary range for the position), four weeks of paid vacation, and offered an opportunity to take advantage of a $10,000 forgivable home loan program for City of Racine employees.
Tate initially said he would resign from the Common Council as soon as he took the position on November 14, but "then changed his plans and advised publicly that he would finish his term ending in April 2023 before starting the job as Violence Interruption Coordinator."
He is accused of violating Wisconsin Statute 946.13, which provides that public officers such as aldermen are prohibited from negoitating, bidding, or entering "into a contract in which the officer or employee has a private pecuniary interest, direct or indirect." Prosecutors allege that because Tate had a pecuniary interest in the Violence Interruption Coordinator, he was legally barred from acting in his official capacity as Common Council president to approve its creation.
Governor Evers forced to Tate resign as Parole Commission chairman last June amid widespread public outrage over the Commission's decision to parole a man who stabbed his wife to death in front of their young children just 25 years into his 80-year sentence. Tate initially survived the controversy when the story first broke in May, but left the job a month later when dozens of similarly egregious parole decisions came to light.
Tate faces a maximum sentence of three years, six months in prison and $10,000 if convicted. His initial court appearance is scheduled for May 11.