Ex-county official charged with misconduct

  • Associated Press
  • August 19, 2014 - 4:30 PM

MILWAUKEE — A former Milwaukee County official was charged with funneling $10 million in restoration work to a company that did contracting work on his house and provided him with hunting and fishing trips, expensive dinners, tools and other favors, authorities said

Dennis Dietscher, 55, of Hales Corners faces six felony counts, including misconduct, accepting bribes and lying in connection with his handling of contractor work, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel ( ) reported.

Dietscher worked for the county from 1986 until March of this year and most recently served as its risk manager. His responsibilities included hiring a contractor to carry out work for various departments and handling paperwork and deductibles.

A criminal complaint filed Monday said Dietscher almost always hired Belfor USA Group for county projects from 2009 to 2013.

"While the defendant provided a great convenience for the departments, it also put him in a position to control millions of dollars of insurance work on an annual basis," the complaint said.

The complaint describes an incident with a Belfor employee that gave police probable cause for his February arrest. The incident is also being used to back up one of the bribery charges listed in the complaint.

The Belfor employee told investigators that Dietscher asked the company to remove trees on his father's property. According to the complaint, the employee said he quoted the job at $2,500 and Dietscher asked that it be a favor. The complaint said the employee said he told Dietscher he could not absorb the cost, and then Dietscher billed $3,500 to the county for work by Belfor, saying the money was used for roofing at a county park.

Belfor said in a statement that it is aware of the allegations about Dietscher.

"Belfor operates its business based upon the principles of fair dealing and ethical conduct," the company said in a statement. "Since learning of this investigation months ago, Belfor has cooperated fully with investigators, and it will continue to do so."

The complaint also said Dietscher failed to list gifts he received from Belfor in statements of economic interests for 2011 and 2013.

Dietscher was due in court Tuesday afternoon.

A message seeking comment was left with his attorney Tuesday.

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