Former Lake Geneva Street employees make initial appearances on charges of misconduct, theft
ELKHORN—Two former Lake Geneva Street Department employees charged with misconduct in public office and theft made their initial appearances in court Tuesday afternoon.
Ronald Carstensen and Donald Hoeft Jr. are suspected of giving away city salt and sand mix to private companies and stealing profits from the sale of city oil and scrap metal, according to charges filed in June by the Wisconsin Attorney General's office
Carstensen is accused of keeping a sales tax refund check meant for the city and giving $25,000 worth of city salt and sand to private companies from 2009 to 2013.
Carstensen appeared in person with a few people in tow supporting him. He is free on a signature bond set Tuesday.
Hoeft is accused of helping provide the salt-sand mixture and failing to hand over proceeds from recycled oil and scrapped metal when he worked at the street department, one criminal complaint states.
He also is charged with falsely reporting community service hours for a probationer.
Hoeft appeared in person and is free on a signature bond set Tuesday.
The Walworth County Sheriff's Office received a tip in October 2013 encouraging law enforcement to look into Carstensen and his activities relating to his job, one complaint states.
While superintendent, Carstensen had a “barter” system with C&D Landscaping and Design, N4819 Bowers Road, Elkhorn, and B&J Landscape, W2795 Krueger Road, according to a criminal complaint.
Carstensen started working for the street department in 1996 and was superintendent from 2006 to 2013, according to a criminal complaint. He stopped working for the city in late 2013, Dana Brueck, communications officer for the attorney general's office, said in June.
B&J Landscape received about $17,000 worth of sand and salt from Nov. 19, 2009, to March 13, 2013. C&D Landscaping and Design received about $14,000 worth of sand and salt from Dec. 23, 2009, to Feb. 11, 2013, according to a complaint.
The city invoiced C&D Landscaping and Design for 502 tons from 2009 to 2013. B&J Landscape was invoiced for 250 tons from 2009 to 2013, Brueck said.
A foreman at B&J Landscape and owner of C&D Landscape have known Carstensen since at least grade school, according to complaints.
Hoeft worked for the department for 18 years, seven of those under Carstensen, according to a complaint. He resigned June 20, Brueck said.
Carstensen and Hoeft will appear in court next at 3 p.m. September 5 at a shared preliminary hearing.