2 Notable Court Rulings: Circuit Court Sides With City; Wis. Supreme Court Rules Against Harenda Enterprises, Inc
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (March 18 CommunityWatch & March 19 Business section of newspaper) brings us the exciting news that the courts have given the Deer Creek Inn and Conference Center the go-ahead.
Last year, owners of an apartment complex near the proposed 405-room hotel/ water park at S. Moorland Rd. and W. Greenfield Ave. sued the City of New Berlin and its Board of Appeals claiming the hotel’s height had been improperly allowed to increase to 94 feet. This lawsuit stalled the project. Fortunately, the City and Board of Appeals won the court case. Circuit Court Judge Kathryn Foster ruled that the Deer Creek Inn and Conference Center development was within city height restrictions and that proper procedures were followed in approving the project.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel also informs us the State Supreme Court ruled Thursday that Harenda Enterprises, Inc. is liable for violating state administrative code. The Court reinstated an order requiring the company pay penalties and surcharges for failing to remove asbestos during renovations of the Milwaukee Theatre. The state had initially filed a complaint against the company about it in 2003. The JS news story, which appears in the Regional News Watch section of the March 14 newspaper, did not mention the Harenda Enterprises, Inc. owner's name--- Ken Harenda. Yup. THAT Ken Harenda-- the New Berlin Alderman (District #4) who is running for re-election and endorsed by NBCRG.
Review the Supreme Court decision and you’ll find these remarks from a judge: "….Exposure to asbestos can lead to mesothelioma, which is a rare form of cancer that affects the protective sac of most internal organs such as the lungs. "Most people who develop mesothelioma have worked on jobs where they inhaled asbestos particles. Symptoms, however, may not appear until 30 to 50 years after exposure. The incidence of this rare cancer has increased over the past 20 years but may be stabilizing now. Once symptoms appear and the cancer is diagnosed, the disease is often very advanced. Mesothelioma is often associated with a horrible death."
Obviously, asbestos is a dangerous substance and poses a serious health hazard. Aldermen vote on issues that affect community development, the environment, people’s health and safety. We expect them to abide by state codes, regulations and laws. It's troubling that a New Berlin alderman owns a company cited for violating state code regarding asbestos, potentially put people’s health in jeopardy--and then sought to evade responsibilty.
A 2002 Journal Sentinel news article disclosed that Ken Harenda was the owner of the consulting firm Harenda Enterprises, Inc. It also reported: A state inspector alleged Ken Harenda’s brother (County Board Supervisor Keith Harenda) pressured him to drop the asbestos charges and offered the inspector tickets to a Bush appearance event. The official said he declined the offer, citing state law, which prohibits offering a state official "anything of value" if the gift could reasonably be expected to influence that official's actions or be considered a reward. The article also states, “Mark Davis, head of the state's asbestos-control program, said overtures by Waukesha County Supervisor Keith Harenda, the contractor's brother, included a plea to "make this case go away" because it could hurt his brother's political ambitions.”