MERCER, WI — Five current or former Mercer school board members are in hot water after the Iron County District Attorney handed down six felony charges last week.
The charges are for falsely exercising the function of public office and misconduct in public office.
Essentially that means the people charged either acted as school board members when they weren’t or knew people were acting as a school board member and didn’t do anything about it.
This all goes back to May 1st of 2018.
That’s when a letter was sent to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction in regards to an audit that showed the district misappropriated nearly $200,000.
Criminal complaints say that letter was signed by Colleen Kohegyi and Denise Thompson both of whom were former school board members at the time.
Court documents say current board members Deanna Pierpont, Michele Holmstrom, and Noel Brandt signed the letter knowing the other two were not current board members.
There are also allegations that Pierpont deleted audio and video recordings of a school board meeting in which there was a type of altercation.
The felony charges are not related to the misappropriation the DPI found and the superintendent told us over the summer there was no misappropriation calling it an “accounting error” instead.
We did reach out to the superintendent for comment on the charges, we have not heard back by news time.
Each count carries a maximum penalty of $10,000 in fines and/or three and a half years in prison.