Monday, December 10, 2018

Trial for UW Oshkosh officials Wells, Sonnleitner pushed back into spring 2019

Photo by Miles Maguire
Former Chancellor Richard Wells, far right, and former Vice Chancellor Thomas Sonnleitner confer with lawyers.

The criminal case against former UWO Chancellor Richard Wells and Vice Chancellor Thomas Sonnleitner has been delayed till the spring.

Winnebago County Circuit Judge John Jorgensen granted an extension until April 2 for another status conference, citing the complications surrounding the case.

Wells and Sonnleitner have been accused of misconduct in office in connection with financial arrangements they made to further real estate developments pursued by the UW Oshkosh Foundation. The two men have asked for the case to be dismissed.

"It is a complicated case," Jorgensen said Dec. 10. Parts of the state's interpretation of the law have been rejected in separate but related cases that have been heard in federal bankruptcy court and in Dane County Circuit Court.

Jorgensen said that allowing more time would help defense attorneys continue to put their argument together while new developments in the other cases could aid prosecutors in deciding "how to proceed."

The charges against the two officials involve five real estate projects that were undertaken by the university's foundation. If they are found guilty they could be sentenced to up to 17 and a half years in jail and assessed fines of $50,000 apiece.

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