ADAMS COUNTY, Wis. - Weeks before the election, a challenger in the Adams County sheriff’s race is on administrative leave after being put there by his opponent and current county sheriff.
Sheriff Sam Wollin put Brent York on administrative leave Wednesday, the same day the candidates had a scheduled debate.
The leave stems from a 2001 case in which York was a witness to another deputy, Kenneth Bitsky, beating a man in the custody of the Adams County Sheriff’s Office. Bitsky ended up serving prison time for that incident, according to county documents.
This week, Adams County District Attorney Tania Bonnett issued a Brady/Giglio notice, essentially a note saying York’s testimony isn’t reliable, because of sworn testimony from 2004 in which York contradicted himself. She said she first became aware of the transcript last month.
Bonnett said she asked the Wisconsin Department of Justice-Attorney General’s Office for a formal, independent review, in which the assistant attorney general wrote, “My review of the reports, documents and deposition testimony leads me to conclude you have an ethical obligation to disclose the conflicting information provided by York.”
Wollin said in a statement that York was put on administrative leave until a determination could be made about his testimony.
In a post on Facebook, York said, “It appears to my supporters and myself that this action was highly personal and politically motivated.” He hasn’t immediately responded to News 3’s requests for comment.
Wollin said he was not able to answer other questions but did write on Facebook, “I had to handle the situation as I would with any other employee at any other time, regardless of the political circumstances.” He added that he did not make the announcement to the public or media.
The Appleton Post-Crescent reports that Bonnett has endorsed Wollin in the election, and York told the reporter Bonnett was concerned about what York would say in public about Wollin’s son, who the paper reports had been in legal trouble.
Bonnett said in a statement that the allegations made in the Oct. 11 article are “untrue” and this was a responsibility she didn’t take lightly.
Wollin and York will face each other in the Nov. 6 election.
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