A Day After Council Votes To Pause Lakeside Park Project, Ethics Questions Raised Against Mullen

Just one day after the Fond du Lac City Council voted to put a two-week pause on the Lakeside Park Alternative Master Plan project, comes word that an Ethics Complaint has been filed against newly-elected Councilman Patrick Mullen.

The complaint was filed by Josh Wilsmann. The basis of the complaint centers around Mullen and says “Mr. Mullen has been the direct beneficiary of funds raised by the Friends of Lakeside Park to help legal fees in a lawsuit in which Mr. Mullen and the Friends were co-petitioners.”

The complaint goes on to say that Mullen has been acting in clear defiance of section 52-7(A) of the City’s Code of Ethics for the past four months. Wilsmann also states in the complaint that “this is also a breach of Wisconsin state statue 19-59(1)(b) regarding the code of ethics for local government officials and candidates.”

Wilsmann continues the complaint letter by referencing the city of Fond du Lac Ethics Board and their recently ruling that current council member Ben Giles should abstain from voting on issues relating to the Lakeside Park Alternative Master Plan (AMP) because “contributors to the Historical Society(of which he is now the Executive Director) are also prominent supporters of the AMP.”

Wilsmann closes the complaint letter stating Mr. Mullen “received a direct, pecuniary benefit from having his legal expenses paid for by the Friends of Lakeside Park in a lawsuit regarding Lakeside Park development. Due to the serious breach of the City’s Ethics Code, Mr. Mullen should abstain from all votes and discussion pertaining to Lakeside Park until the Ethics Board completes a thorough investigation.”

Contact was made with the officers of the Political Action Committee, Citizens for Preserving Lakeside Park, who verified they covered the attorney’s fees, and not the Friends of Lakeside Park. All of that documentation can be found on the Citizens for Preserving Lakeside Park website.

KFIZ News reached out to Mr. Mullen, and he told us via email that “I’ll have to refer you to Deb Hoffmann, City Attorney for an official opinion. I have consulted with her since my election and have been assured there is no conflict of interest.”

KFIZ News also reached out to Attorney Hoffmann but had not yet received a response.