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Sheboygan mayor's attorney letter warns of possible legal claim against common council members

CREATED Sep 15, 2011 - UPDATED: Sep 16, 2011

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SHEBOYGAN - Details are surfacing about a letter Sheboygan Mayor Bob Ryan gave to common council members before a meeting where members recommended the hiring of a special prosecutor in the effort to remove him.

In the letter, Ryan's attorney, Dwight Darrow, told members that if they use an "erroneous legal standard" in removing Ryan from his job, it would bring about Darrow's "recommendation to file a claim against the City for violation of my client's rights."

The papers advised council members Darrow would want individual interviews with each alderperson, discussing their use of alcohol, conduct with members of the opposite sex, and investigations of the mayor's conduct--if the removal process goes forward.

Darrow also claims in the letter that Ryan's admitted alcoholism is a disability covered under the American's Disabilities Act, and that Common Council members should "consider the ramifications of pursuing a job action against a city employee for conduct that is not inherently related to the performance of that person's official duties."

Ryan has admitted to, and been caught on camera, taking part in several drinking binges, including one earlier this summer where he passed out and had an apparent altercation with a bar patron.

The attorney also asked the Common Council to consider delaying any proceedings against Ryan until possible recall efforts against the mayor are finished.

Aldermen maintain the letter is nothing short of intimidation and a tactic to delay the mayor’s removal process.

"Some of the things he made reference to would never be allowed...as far as attacking each individual alderman," explained Alderman Scott Versey.

Next week, the Sheboygan Common Council is set to vote on hiring a special prosecutor for the mayor's removal hearing.