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Wausau Mayor Slams City’s Lawsuits Against Maine

Bob Mielke Says Litigation 'Not Good' For Wausau's Image

The Village of Maine’s cooperative boundary agreement with the dying paper mill community of Brokaw (pictured) and the Town of Texas blocks Wausau from annexing land on its northern border.
Glen Moberg/WPR

The mayor of Wausau is speaking out publicly against two lawsuits filed by his city against the newly formed, neighboring Village of Maine.

Mayor Bob Mielke told Wisconsin Public Radio that he was commenting against the advice of the city’s attorneys.

“I want to do whatever I can to extend the olive branch to the Village of Maine and all involved. I’ve never liked this lawsuit. It is frankly something that I (inherited). It is not good for the image of the city. It is not good for the image of the Village of Maine either. I still think there’s a workable solution,” Mielke said.

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A majority of the Wausau City Council still supports the lawsuits.

Maine became a village to protect its territory as it absorbs the dying paper mill community of Brokaw and its millions of dollars of debt. Its boundary agreement with Brokaw and the nearby Town of Texas blocks Wausau from annexing territory to its north.

Marathon County Circuit Judge Jill Falstad struck down the city’s lawsuits earlier this year. Falstad said alleged open meetings violations could not void Maine’s incorporation, Wausau could not annex land from the new village, and Wausau’s claims of damages were “hypothetical and speculative.”

Wausau announced June 21 that it would appeal Falstad’s rulings.

On Thursday, Mielke said the litigation has gone on too long.

“I’ll do whatever it takes to try to get this resolved. I think everyone suing one another and getting in the middle of something like this is unneeded. Even I’m surprised at how long it’s been dragged out,” Mielke said. “If the lawyers don’t like it, so be it.”

Maine Village President Betty Hoenisch said Mielke was just saying publicly what he had already told her privately.

“It’s been a difficult situation because Mayor Mielke and I have been to meetings. We’ve been friends,” Hoenisch said. “It’s tough knowing that you’re being sued by your neighbor. He has told me all along that he is unfavorable regarding the lawsuit. However he felt his hands were tied.”

State Sen. Jerry Petrowski, R-Stettin, represents both communities. He said he hopes they can work together.

“Instead of focusing on blame… we need to focus on solving problems,” Petrowski said. “I’m hopeful that a year from now we’re going to all look back at this and there will be good things happening.”