Kenosha County exec indicted for getting improper donations

Milwaukee, Wisconsin (AP) 2-08

Kenosha County’s top administrator is the latest individual indicted in a federal investigation into illegal donations related to a proposed tribal casino project.

A federal grand jury indicted Kenosha County Executive Allan K. Kehl, accusing him of improperly receiving $15,000 to $20,000 in cash payments from a Kenosha businessman, U.S. Attorney Steven Biskupic said.

Prosecutors alleged that Kehl received individual cash payments of $5,000 each as “purported campaign contributions,” but they exceeded legal limits and weren’t reported on campaign finance forms. The businessman involved was not named in the indictment.

Three others charged in the investigation include businessmen Dennis Troha, John Erickson and Achille “Kelly” Infusino. All three have either pleaded guilty or agreed to plead guilty to charges in the case.

Kehl is charged with one count of conspiracy carrying up to five years in prison and $250,000 in fines.

No telephone listing for Kehl could be found when The Associated Press tried to reach him.

Prosecutors said earlier that Troha and Erickson laundered hundreds of thousands of dollars in illegal donations to politicians who favored loosening trucking regulations and the plan for a casino at the site of Dairyland greyhound park in Kenosha.

The leader of the conspiracy was identified as Troha, whose trucking firm would benefit from lax regulations and who long sought to build the casino.

Troha has already pleaded guilty to making illegal campaign donations to President Bush and the Democratic Party. He was also one of the biggest donors to Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle, who would need to approve the casino.

Troha and Erickson, his associate, made more than $250,000 in illegal contributions to Doyle, candidates for Congress, President Bush and political action committees aligned with both parties, according to documents filed in federal court in early Febuary.

The information came as another Troha associate, Achille Infusino, was charged and agreed to plead guilty to participating in the conspiracy to commit campaign finance violations.

Infusino helped conceal that corporate funds were illegally being used to make donations to U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., Biskupic said.

He also accepted $7,500 in automobile lease payments from a Troha company in exchange for personally making small contributions to Ryan, U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., U.S. Rep. James Oberstar, D-Minn., and the Assembly Democratic Campaign Committee.

None of the politicians who received donations had been accused of any wrongdoing. Ryan returned $3,750 he received from Erickson.

Some of the candidates supported legislation to relax restrictions on trucking by allowing 97-foot-long multi-truck combinations. Before it went into effect in 2005, states could impose 75-foot maximum lengths.

Troha is to be sentenced in March.

Erickson, who also pleaded guilty, is expected to be sentenced in July.