Former Wisconsin parole board chair charged with felony

MILWAUKEE (AP) — The former chair of the Wisconsin Parole Commission, who until this week was also an alderman in Racine, has been charged with a felony, accused of using his capacity as a public official for private interests.

John Tate II was charged Tuesday with one count of “private interest in a public contract while working in a public capacity” in Racine County, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

According to the complaint, Tate unlawfully negotiated terms of his employment for Racine’s new violence interruption coordinator position, after approving the creation of the job as president of the Common Council.

Prosecutors argue that Tate’s applying for the job, and negotiating terms of his employment agreement, “acted on behalf of his own pecuniary interest.”

Tate initially announced that he would resign as an alderman to begin as a violence interruption coordinator in mid-November. However, he didn’t resign until his term finished Monday after he said he had been advised that state law prohibits sitting local elected officials from taking positions that were created during their term of office.

If convicted, Tate faces 3 1/2 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Tate’s attorney, Pat Cafferty, said in a statement that Tate did not break the law and he plans to vigorously and aggressively fight the allegations.

Last year, Gov. Tony Evers asked for Tate’s resignation as parole commission chairman, following Tate’s decision to parole Douglas Balsewicz, who was convicted of stabbing his wife to death, in the presence of the couple’s two young children.