Sheboygan Mayor Bob Ryan haults removal proceedings

CREATED Aug. 30, 2011 - UPDATED: Aug. 31, 2011

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  • Sheboygan mayor cancels meeting Video by wtmj.com

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  • Annie Scholz reports. Video by wtmj.com

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  • Tom Murray reports. Video by wtmj.com

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SHEBOYGAN - Mayor Bob Ryan has canceled a special meeting of the Sheboygan Common Council which was designed to confirm a special prosecutor chosen to lead an effort to remove the mayor..

The meeting was to involve the decision to hire former federal attorney Steven Biskupic, who offered to work free of charge on the case involving Ryan.

He used a loophole in the city's rules to cancel the meeting.

Biskupic brought federal bribery and extortion charges against Milwaukee Alderman Michael McGee, Jr.

He also worked on the case where a judge put Alderman Paul Henningsen in prison for more than two years for corruption.

A judge sentenced Alderman Jeff Pawlinski to eight months after Biskupic charged him for taking campaign funds.

According to an e-mail Biskupic sent TODAY'S TMJ4's Tom Murray, he said he will be working on the case for free to satisfy his firm's pro bono requirements, and he has made an agreement with council members not to talk with media.

"I don't think there's a thrill in bringing down a public official," said former Supreme Court Justice Janine Geske of the Marquette Law School.

"Mr. Biskupic was not afraid to go after political leaders or political people if he thought it was appropriate.  I think he's got unquestionable integrity."

Mayor Ryan Continues Defiance

Mayor Bob Ryan made it clear in a press conference Tuesday afternoon that he has no intention of stepping down, despite calls to get him out of office amid a series of personal problems. "I am happy to say I am more resolute than ever to remain the mayor of this great city."
 
With his family behind him, Ryan, an admitted alcoholic, is battling an image as an out of control drinker after several relapses. His most recent was a three day binge in Elkhart Lake late last month. For his supporters, like Milt Storm, it's not a reflection of Ryan's performance as Mayor. "This is the best Mayor that we've ever had. He's done more for this city than all the other Mayors together."
 
His opponents, like David Koch, feel just as strongly that Ryan's private problems are hurting public perception. "We don't need a guy like that in public office. When you are in public office, you don't have a private life."
 
Also in attendance, Alderman Kevin Matichek, the man behind  the recall effort against Ryan even though he has repeatedly voted against asking Ryan to step down or removing him from office. When asked if he would make a better Mayor, "Only time could say. Could you walk a better straight line than the Mayor right now?"
 
Ryan said it's time to "put this issue to bed."