WISCONSIN NEWS ROUND-UP: Associated Bank fined half-million by Feds
GREEN BAY - A federal agency has fined Associated Bank a half-million dollars for not doing enough in the past to watch for suspicious activities and detect money laundering.
The currency comptroller's office levied the fine, after Associated was put under added government scrutiny in 2012 for falling short of complying with the Bank Secrecy Act. Associated said the comptroller lifted its special order in March, but the bank still expected a fine -- and it does not expect any additional penalties. The bank said there was not a particular incident which resulted in the added scrutiny -- and it has since made improvements to detect money laundering. Those include more staff training, better risk-management practices, and a new detection system. Associated is based in Green Bay. It's the largest bank that's based in Wisconsin.
A former ELCA Lutheran bishop in Madison has struck a plea deal that convicted him of killing a jogger in a drunk driving crash. 60-year-old Bruce Burnside pleaded guilty today to second-degree reckless homicide and first-time OWI. Five other counts were dropped in the plea deal, including the most serious ones of causing death by both drunk driving and hit-and-run. Dane County prosecutors say they'll ask for nothing more than eight years in prison when Burnside is sentenced. A date for that has not been set. Authorities said Burnside was rushing to a church in Sun Prairie when he struck and killed 52-year-old Maureen Mengelt near the end of a freeway ramp in April of last year. He kept going for a short distance before stopping at a corner business. Mengelt was training at the time for a 20-mile running race in Stoughton. Burnside was nearing the end of his term as bishop of the South Central Wisconsin synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. He left that post soon after his arrest. Burnside was free on bond for over a year, but he did not object when he was sent back to jail today to await his sentencing.
Funeral services will be held next Monday in Milwaukee for former Wisconsin Governor Patrick Lucey. The 96-year-old Lucey died last Saturday. Visitations will take place from 2-to-6 on Sunday afternoon at the Feerick Funeral Home in Shorewood. A funeral Mass is set for 11 a.m. Monday at Milwaukee's Church of the Gesu. Lucey is credited for revitalizing Wisconsin's Democratic Party. He chaired the state party in the 1950's, before serving as governor from 1971-until-'77, when he left to serve as the U.S. ambassador to Mexico for two years. Lucey also ran for vice president in 1980 with independent John Anderson. Governor Scott Walker has ordered flags at state government facilities to remain at half-staff from today through the time of Lucey's burial.
A special sales tax for the home of the Green Bay Packers will expire by the end of next year. That's what stadium district director Patrick Webb told the Brown County Board's executive committee. County voters approved a half-percent sales tax in 2000 to help pay for the first two major renovations to Lambeau Field. The tax generates about $20-million a year. The county could extend the tax for its own use, but Webb says the stadium won't need it after next year. The end could come as early as next September 15th. First, Webb says the stadium district needs to pay off its bonding, and to set up a maintenance fund for Lambeau that runs through the Packers' current lease in 2031.
Ashley Baumann was found guilty today of causing a high-speed drunk driving crash that killed two of her friends in Merrill. A Lincoln County jury deliberated about five hours late yesterday and 45 minutes this morning before handing down its verdicts. The 26-year-old Baumann was convicted on all seven charges the state brought to trial. They dropped two others just before the trial began just over a week ago. The jury agreed with prosecutors that Baumann was the one who drove close to 100-miles-an-hour before flipping her van into a field in June of 2012 -- killing Misty Glisch and Jessica Hartwig. Jurors did not buy the defense claim that the only other survivor of the crash, Jerrica Woller, was actually the driver. A sentencing date for Baumann was not immediately set. That could happen at a scheduling conference that's set for Thursday morning.
The national women's campaign group Emily's List promises to spend big money to try and get Democrat Mary Burke to defeat Governor Scott Walker this fall. Spokeswoman Mary Stech would not say how much the group plans to spend on Burke's race. But she said it would be one of the group's top priorities to help the former Trek Bicycle executive ride into the governor's office. Emily's List and its affiliates spent almost five-million dollars to help Wisconsin's Tammy Baldwin get elected to the U.S. Senate in 2012. Emily's List is a Washington-based group that supports female abortion rights' candidates. Stech tells the AP that women will be motivated to vote against the Republican Walker because of his repeal of a law making it easier to win state lawsuits over wage discrimination. Stech also said women won't forget that Walker signed a bill last year to force women to get ultrasounds so they can see what their unborn babies look like before aborting them.
A former Milwaukee police officer was honored this morning, almost five years after he and his partner were shot in the face by a suspect they were questioning. Graham Kunisch retired in late March after only six years on the Milwaukee police force. The Common Council honored him. Police Chief Ed Flynn told the aldermen and visitors that both Kunisch and his partner Bryan Norberg showed courage to confront what happened, to endure and recover, and mostly importantly, to return to the police department. Norberg is still on the force, after he had severe wounds to his mouth and jaw. Kunisch suffered a number of wounds including a brain injury, and he went blind in his left eye. They were shot at close range at mid-afternoon by a suspect on a bicycle. Chief Flynn said his department would miss Kunisch, but they'll always learn from the example he set. Council Public Safety Committee chairman Terry Witkowski said Kunisch honored himself with his conduct and his service to the community.
A southern Wisconsin man was injured in a freak accident during yesterday's wind and hail storms. Green County authorities said the wind blew a bed cover from a pick-up truck. The bed cover was then blown onto the front of a car, and a support bar brought through the car's windshield and injured the driver. 26-year-old Jamie Muniz of Monroe was taken to a hospital with a head injury. The pick-up driver, a 45-year-old South Beloit woman, was not hurt.
Wisconsin officials are the latest to warn about the dangers of a charity stunt, in which young people are dared to either jump into freezing waters or pay up. The "cold water challenge" trend started about a month ago, after it became a hot item on Facebook. Young people, generally teens, are challenged to jump into a cold body of water within 24 hours -- and to nominate three others to do the same. Those who don't do it must donate $100 to charity. The Wisconsin DNR urges folks to be careful -- to not jump alone, to wear a life jacket, know the scope of the water, and get out of it quickly. Officials in neighboring Minnesota first sounded the alarm after a man jumped off a highway bridge, ran off, and left unsuspecting rescuers to risk drowning by searching for him. This past weekend, a 16-year-old Minnesotan died after texting a friend about doing a cold-water challenge. Wisconsin has a horror story as well. A 16-year-old Fond du Lac County girl will need several months of therapy after making a charity jump.