LAKE GENEVA - Two former Lake Geneva city employees are charged with theft and misconduct in office. The defendants include Lake Geneva Street Department's former superintendent and former foreman. Both have since left the job. The case has stunned their former employer.
"Yeah I feel betrayed. I mean, he was a trusted employee," said City Administrator Dennis Jordan.
Traffic along Main Street couldn't get by in the winter months without its sand/salt mix. But, it appears some of Lake Geneva's salt was being shared, and taxpayers didn't know it. A confidential informant blew the whistle, telling Walworth County that Ronald Carstensen and Donald Hoeft were violating a contract, which forbids Lake Geneva from reselling or trading salt with private businesses. Landscaping companies B & J and C & J face no charges.
Carstensen said he never fully read the contract and Hoeft said he too didn't know that bartering is a problem. A supervisor says they should have known.
"Hearing the investigation was quite a shock to us. We were unaware of what was going on," said Dan Winkler, public works director of Lake Geneva.
Carstensen and Hoeft are also accused of making scrap and oil recycling runs with city property, then pocketing at least some of the profit. A representative of Heritage Crystal Clean of Spring Grove, Illinois, told investigators it was "a little weird" that they were told to write checks to Donald Hoeft instead of Lake Geneva.
"To have that happen here in our hometown, it's a real disappointment to me personally," said Winkler.
Charges against both include theft and misconduct in public office. Initial court appearances are scheduled for July 22nd.