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Training with MPD

Febuary 21, 2023

MILWAUKEE - On February 21 the city attorney’s office participated in a in person training with MPD. Assistant City Attorney Michael Radavich presented to MPD's Field Officer Training class on the City of Milwaukee's chronic nuisance ordinance. His presentation covered topics regarding the ordinance's required procedure, defining nuisance activity, and best practices when enforcing.

Deputy City Attorney Jennifer Williams presented to MPD’s Field Officer Training class on various topics regarding Constitutional claims in the context of officer training, such as “Failure to Intervene” federal court claims, and other training topics for the training officers’ new recruits.

Assistant City Attorney Michael Radavich presented to MPD's Field Officer Training class on the City of Milwaukee's chronic nuisance ordinance. His presentation covered topics regarding the ordinance's required procedure, defining nuisance activity, and best practices when enforcing.

 

Milwaukee wins a Federal case defendng two MPD Officers

January 31, 2023

 

MILWAUKEE - On Tuesday, January 31, 2023, ACA Christopher Jackson successfully defended two Milwaukee police officers from a federal civil rights lawsuit alleging excessive force, and a claim for failure to intervene to prevent excessive use of force. A jury in the Eastern District of Wisconsin’s federal court decided in favor of the City of Milwaukee and its officers resulting in a zero verdict for the plaintiff.

On December 1, 2017, Milwaukee police engaged in a foot pursuit of Clifton Jones, who they observed flee from a vehicle stolen during an armed robbery earlier that same day. Jones was apprehended, and bodycam video showed officers make initial contact with Jones as he lay on the ground with his hands and arms underneath his body. Officers directed Jones to give up his hands, and stop resisting; however, only after one officer used focus strikes was law enforcement successful in securing Jones in handcuffs for formal arrest. Jones alleged he sustained a broken nose from the focused strikes during his arrest, which he alleged as his claim of excessive force.

Jones originally demanded a total of $7.5 million from the City for the alleged excessive force by officers. ACA Jackson obtained an impressive verdict on behalf of the officers, and in favor of the City.

Jones is currently serving a term of 4 years initial confinement for two felony convictions of robbery, and operating a motor vehicle without owner’s consent. In addition, Jones has two open and pending felony cases, one for taking a vehicle without owner’s consent, and another for prisoner throwing bodily fluids. He is presumed innocent of those charges until proven guilty in a court of law.


Welcome the New Deputy City Attorney Jennifer Williams

December 27, 2022

 

Jennifer Williams, a Racine native, graduated from Marquette University Law School in 2007. Upon graduation, she spent a year in East Africa working for the Legal Advisor to the President of Eritrea, Yale Law Professor Lea Brilmayer, on multi-billion-dollar public international arbitration related to a border war with Ethiopia. Ms. Williams returned to Milwaukee, and spent almost 10 years in public service with the Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office exclusively prosecuting criminal cases involving child abuse, sexual assault, and human trafficking. During the pandemic, she spent a year with the City of Racine as Deputy City Attorney, and most recently in private practice representing school and local government clients in litigation. Currently, Ms. Williams also enjoys teaching as an adjunct professor in Marquette University's Criminology Department offering undergraduate instruction in juvenile delinquency and human trafficking.


Milwaukee City Attorney Tearman Spencer said he believes it's time for tougher consequences and bigger penalties for the worst reckless drivers on Milwaukee Streets.

November 7, 2022

 

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Northride mall's redevelopment plan back on track after court win on October 3, 2022.

October 6, 2022

MILWAUKEE -After three years of litigation, Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge William Sonsay granted the City a raze order for Northridge mall on October 3, 2022. Following the sight's demolition, the City will be able to encourage new development in the area, spurring the economy and neighborhood.

The City has been trying to receive a raze order for the Northridge mall premises for three years, but receiving backfire from its current owner, U.S. Black Spruce, a derivative business to a Chinese investment group. Black Spruce bought Northridge mall in 2008 with the intention to tum the building into a trade mart for Chinese companies to sell to U.S. retailers.

Since then, no progress has been made on this endeavor, instead quite the opposite has occurred. Northridge mall is run down with debris and broken glass littering the building and surrounding area. The premises have several open windows or broken doors so trespassers invade often. Further, it has become a fire hazard causing the fire department to put out flames four times in July and August alone.

The City has been granted a raze order under Wisconsin Statute § 66. 0413 by the Milwaukee County Circuit Court, which means that the premises--considered dilapidated and dangerous - will be set for demolition.

After demolition of the current site, Milwaukee will look forward to the potential businesses, developments, and/or industries that will come from the former Northridge Mall premises. It was a hard fought three years to get the raze order which is indicative of the Milwaukee city attorneys' commitment to the area and its future prosperity.


Wisconsin Supreme Court Unanimously Affirms Court of Appeals Decision in Favor of The City of Milwaukee

September 22, 2022

 

MILWAUKEE -In Saint John’s Communities, Inc. owns a retirement complex overlooking Lake Michigan. In 2020, Saint John’s brought a lawsuit against the City of Milwaukee, seeking a determination that its new residential tower was exempt from taxation and seeking a refund of approximately

$480,000 in taxes. The City moved to dismiss Saint John’s lawsuit on the basis that the claim underlying the lawsuit was at all times procedurally deficient because Saint John’s did not first pay the tax as the statute requires before filing its claim against the City. The circuit court denied the City’s motion to dismiss. The City appealed. In a published decision, the court of appeals reversed and remanded the case to the circuit court with directions that the complaint be dismissed. Saint John’s petitioned the Supreme Court for review and the Supreme Court granted review. Following briefing and oral argument, the Supreme Court unanimously affirmed the Court of Appeals’ decision in favor of the City of Milwaukee.

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Milwaukee's Chronic Reckless Drivers Could Face Severe Penalties in Civil Actions

September 13, 2022

MILWAUKEE -In July, the Milwaukee City Attorney's Office introduced a novel approach to address reckless driving by filing the first public nuisance lawsuit against a "Milwaukee resident for their chronic reckless driving record.

Milwaukee drivers are all too familiar with reckless drivers plaguing our roadways. These conditions have led to irksome roadways at best and crash fatalities at worst. In 2019, there were fifty-one car accidents resulting in death. These crash fatalities have only increased over time with 107 deaths in 2020 and twenty-seven deaths in 2022 through June 22 alone.

To promote safer roads and deter dangerous motorists, the City of Milwaukee has begun filing civil suits against Milwaukee's most reckless drivers in addition to routine citations and criminal prosecutions.

In July, the City Attorney's Office filed a complaint against Anthony Szablewski, 53, who has one of the most egregious driving records in the city, possessing fourteen traffic citations this year alone and forty-four citations since 2017. These citations include, but are not limited to, speeding, running red lights, driving without insurance, and eight counts of driving with a suspended license, the complaint alleges that these repeated violations of city ordinances and state law constitute a public nuisance under Wisconsin Statute § 823.02.

Szablewski and other chronic reckless drivers could face penalties such as losing their license or seizing their car. Currently, twenty other offenders were notified of the possibility for a civil lawsuit with the city if they continue their dangerous driving.


Long-Awaited decision in Maria Melendez v. City Clerk rules in favor of the City of Milwaukee

September 13, 2022

MILWAUKEE -The Wisconsin Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the City of Milwaukee on August 30, 2022 in a case involving a former property owner's appeal of a circuit court's decision that held the City rightfully foreclosed six of appellant's properties.

At issue in Maria Melendez v. City Clerk is a property owner that had been delinquent in paying taxes on six properties since 2014. As a result, the City began tax lien foreclosure proceedings in March 2020, which culminated in a default judgment against the property owner in July of 2020 because she failed to answer or redeem the properties in the foreclosure case. Further, the property owner did not seek to vacate or appeal the foreclosure judgment.

A year later, the property owner filed a complaint against the Milwaukee City Clerk alleging that the City wrongfully foreclosed her properties. The City filed a motion to dismiss that was ultimately granted by the circuit court because the property owner's claim was barred by claim preclusion as well as the notice of claim statute, Wis. Stat. § 893.80(1d).

The property owner appealed the circuit court's decision to grant the motion to dismiss; however, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals upheld the circuit court's decision and summarily affirmed the order in favor of the City of Milwaukee.


Recognition of the Retirement of Gregg C. Hagopian, Assistant City Attorney

May 2, 2022

 

 

Mayor Cavalier Johnson has proclaimed May 2, 2022 as Gregg Hagopian Day. He has signed a proclamation that recognizes the many contributions Gregg has made to the City of Milwaukee and the City Attorney’s Office. Gregg has been in the City Attorney’s Office since 1994. He has developed a tremendous amount of expertise in the areas of real estate and development. Gregg has provided sound legal advice to the Department of City Development, the Redevelopment Authority, and many other City departments over the years. His contributions are quite substantial. Some of those contributions include his legal expertise in real estate development, eminent domain, property tax assessment, historic preservation, blight reduction, and many more. It is hard to enumerate the many areas of the office he has touched over his 28 years of service to the City of Milwaukee.

Gregg served as an interim deputy for the City Attorney, Tearman Spencer. He was instrumental in helping to acclimate Mr. Spencer to the office. He has trained many new attorneys over the course of time and has been an anchor for so many of us. What the proclamation is unable to capture is that Gregg is an all-around amazing person. Gregg’s ability to frame a tough situation into a positive framework is unmatched. Such a skill set proves to be invaluable, especially during challenging times. He is good for an engaging story and a cup of tea. He has an interesting taste in music and literature and can often offer a perspective. Gregg will truly be missed as a valuable city employee.

"Build a better mouse trap," was Gregg's motto, as we all know. As he goes off on adventures in the North Woods or wherever his compass directs him, we wish him the best in his retirement. Gregg is a friend to many and he is appreciated more than can be stated here. We wish Gregg C. Hagopian the best of luck and enjoyment in his retirement!!!


Thirteen31 Place Apartments

October 26, 2021

There was a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Thirteen31 Place Apartments at 13th and National Avenue on October 26th. The City Attorney’s Office assisted DCD in conveying this property to the developer. A tax-delinquent, environmental brownfield, with boarded and abandoned buildings was transformed into a neighborhood asset. The abandoned buildings were torn down and replaced with a new apartment building with market rate and low-income rental units.


The New State Theater

September 13, 2021

City Attorney Spencer appeared at a groundbreaking and mural unveiling at The New State (a nonprofit that will operate an all-ages music venue with vocational training), 26th and State. The building is being rehabbed for this purpose now. Meanwhile, an outdoor stage and Music Park will operate to the east of the building and a mural was painted on the east wall of the building. The City Attorney’s Office assisted with the City’s sale of the land and building to The New State for this project.


Tia Richardson Mural

September 10, 2021

City Attorney Spencer appeared at a mural being painted by artist Tia Richardson on the retaining wall at 2876 N. 32nd Street. The City provided some funding for this art project and the City Attorney’s Office prepared the Mural Agreement.


City Attorney presents on panel at NO Studios regarding community health, at event co-sponsored by the New State Theater

August 21, 2021

City Attorney Spencer was on a panel at NO Studios along with: David Crowley, Milwaukee County Executive; Demonte Dismuke, Host; Kenneth Ginlack, Director of Outpatient Programs, Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Dept.; Shannon Ross, The Community (a TID 105-financed project that the City Attorney’s Office assisted with); Dominee Meek, Juvenile Justice Reform; Ray Nitti, Urban Underground Alumni and Co-developer of "The Corridor;" and Youth Artists Ja Lotto and Baby Shade.


City Attorney’s Office helps close land transaction that will allow homes and supportive services for homeless veterans

July 9, 2021

City Attorney Spencer spoke at the Closing ceremony of the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee’s 7-acre land sale to the Veterans Outreach of Wisconsin (VOW) for the development of the Gary G. Wetzel Veteran Village. That development just west of N. 60th Street and Green Tree Road, in Alderwoman Lewis’s 9th District, will provide up to 48 tiny homes, and a community center, and support services for veterans. Along with City Attorney Spencer and VOW representatives, Ald. Lewis, Mayor Barrett, and DCD Commissioner Crump spoke at the Closing ceremony about this important project in our City. Gary G. Wetzel is a Milwaukee native, a U.S. Army Veteran, and a Congressional Medal of Honor Award Winner. The City Attorney’s Office provides important legal representation to the City of Milwaukee and its Redevelopment Authority, including handling the legal aspects of real estate and development deals like this. We look forward to the groundbreaking for this project.

 City Hall, 200 E. Wells Street, Room 800, Milwaukee, WI 53202 


 Monday - Friday, 8:00 AM - 4:30 PM


 414-286-2601


  414-286-8550


Please note: due to construction at our City Hall office, the Office of the City Attorney’s main office is currently located at:

 Frank P. Zeidler Municipal Building, 841 N Broadway, 7th Floor, Milwaukee, WI 53202 


 Ordinance Enforcement Division, 749 W State St, 7th Floor, Milwaukee, WI 53201 


 414-286-2676


  414-286-2128

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