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Oconomowoc Man Ordered To Jail And His Corporation Fined For Criminal Contempt In Jefferson County


MADISON - Warren G. Rhodee and his corporation, W.G. Rhodee Excavating, Inc. of Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, have been sentenced by Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Jacqueline R. Erwin for criminal contempt of court. A jury found Mr. Rhodee and the corporation guilty of four counts of criminal contempt on December 14, 2007.


On March 19, 2008, Judge Erwin withheld sentencing and placed Warren G. Rhodee on two years of probation on each of the four counts. As conditions of this probation, the Judge ordered that Mr. Rhodee serve 30 days in the Jefferson County Jail with work release privileges. The Court also required Mr. Rhodee to remove all above ground solid waste and investigate and remediate the property where the violations occurred.


On February 8, 2008, Judge Erwin sentenced W.G. Rhodee Excavating, Inc. to pay fines totaling $15,000 for the four counts of criminal contempt. This was comprised of the maximum fine of $5,000 on two of the counts and $2,500 each on the remaining two.


In 1996 Mr. Rhodee and his corporation were found liable for a series of civil solid waste violations in an action brought by the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ). Mr. Rhodee and his corporation were ordered to pay a forfeiture, remediate the property to prevent groundwater contamination, remove all fill material from a wetland on the property, and were ordered to not dispose or store any solid waste on property in the future.


In 2005 the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) investigated a complaint that Mr. Rhodee was disposing of solid waste on his property in violation of the 1996 order. The DNR's investigation revealed a pattern of illegal disposals from 2005 through 2007. After a two day trial, a Jefferson County jury convicted Mr. Rhodee and his company of four counts of criminal contempt for violating the court's order on four separate occasions.


The violations discovered by the DNR were referred to the DOJ. Assistant Attorney General Steven Tinker is representing the State.