Former Walker aide who spurred investigation dies
- Associated Press
- September 2, 2014 - 8:50 PM
MILWAUKEE — Thomas Nardelli, a former aide whose report of possible embezzlement led to a secret investigation of Gov. Scott Walker's staff when he was Milwaukee County executive, died Monday at his home in Menomonee Falls. He was 70.
Nardelli was Walker's chief of staff when Walker was county executive and followed him to Madison, where Nardelli led the state Division of Safety and Buildings and then served as administrator for the state's Division of Environmental and Regulatory Services. He left the latter post in 2011.
"I am so sorry to hear of the passing of Tom Nardelli, who was a wonderful public servant and a dear friend," Walker said in a statement.
Walker spokeswoman Jocelyn Webster told The Associated Press on Tuesday that Walker learned of the death Monday night from Nardelli's widow.
Nardelli ran for Milwaukee County executive in 2002 but lost to Walker in the Republican primary. After winning the job, Walker named Nardelli, a longtime Milwaukee alderman, as his chief of staff in 2007.
It was in that position that Nardelli alerted the Milwaukee County district attorney's office that money had been taken from a veterans fund, a tip that led to a secret investigation resulting in the conviction of a Veterans Service Commission official and a former deputy chief of staff for Walker.
The probe that ran between May 2010 and 2013 uncovered other problems as well and ended with six of Walker's aides and associates being convicted on various charges.
Before joining Walker's staff, Nardelli served on the Milwaukee Common Council for 18 years. He stepped down from that post in 2004 after a failed run for mayor.
"The one thing about Tom that I always respected — he was dedicated to his constituents," former Milwaukee Alderman Fred Gordon told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "Once he gave you his word, his word was his bond. We didn't always agree on legislation, but you always knew where he stood and he would never go back on his principles."
Marcia Nardelli told the newspaper that her husband had been enjoying his retirement. He died unexpectedly Monday of a ruptured aortic aneurysm, the newspaper said. Along with his wife, Thomas Nardelli is survived by three children.
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