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What Did Thad Birmingham Know and When Did He Know It

Sturgeon Bay, WI, United States /
What Did Thad Birmingham Know and When Did He Know It

By Roger Utnehmer

What did Thad Birmingham know and when did he know it?  That’s what a party to a lawsuit challenging the development of a Sturgeon Bay waterfront hotel wants to know.  Shawn Fairchild is one of six people suing the City of Sturgeon Bay and the Waterfront Redevelopment Authority.

In a brief asking for summary judgment The Friends of the Sturgeon Bay Public Waterfront maintain that city officials knew before entering into a development agreement that the site of the proposed hotel could not be developed.

The brief states that both city attorney Randall Nesbitt and development director Marty Olejniczak were informed by the Deputy Secretary of the Commissioners of Public Lands  “there is a very strong likelihood” the area of the vacant grain elevator was below the Ordinary  High Water Mark.

The Wisconsin constitution prohibits private development of lakebeds.  Summary judgment is a request to a judge to rule on a case without going to trial.

Fairchild told he would like to know who else in city government knew of the concerns raised by the Deputy Secretary of the Commissioner of Public Lands and why the city would go ahead and sign a development agreement with Robert Papke knowing the questions about the property had been raised.

A press release including pictures of the west wide waterfront and a link to the entire brief are posted with this story at has attempted to reach Sturgeon Bay Mayor Thad Birmingham for comment and will provide city officials with an opportunity to explain why the development agreement was approved after questions by a state official had been brought to their attention.

Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, United States of America
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