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Costly misunderstanding for Town of Woodmohr board member

Woodmohr Town Hall
Woodmohr Town Hall(WEAU)
Updated: May. 12, 2021 at 11:02 PM CDT
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CHIPPEWA COUNTY, Wis. (WEAU) - A former Town of Woodmohr board member owes $11,496.91 back to the town after he was mistakenly handed the money to use for legal fees.

In 2020, former board member of the Chippewa County town, John Seibel, was accused of cutting down trees without permission and charging the town. Court records show he cut down around 150 oak trees from multiple properties.

Two felony charges against him were eventually dismissed but he was found guilty of a misdemeanor for theft of the timber.

In the town’s annual meeting on April 20, the town board voted to reimburse Seibel $11,496.91 for his legal fees, and restitution he was ordered to pay to the court.

Once he was given the check, town board members realized he had actually been found guilty. At a meeting on May 12, Chairman Pete Hanson discussed how to get the money back.

Town of Woodmohr community members expressed anger over how this misunderstanding could have happened and argued the town should not be liable to pay for Seibel’s crimes.

“That’s not his money. That is the township’s. If he keeps the money, it is like victimizing the township along with the victims in the case,” said Randy Theisen, a community member who spoke during public comment at the meeting.

“It was mistakenly given. He did not deserve it. The money needs to get back to the township,” Hanson said.

Chairman Hanson has ordered Seibeil to pay back the money in one week.

District Attorney Wade Newell says Seibel paid restitution on April 26.

If Seibel does not pay back the money, the District Attorny says someone who attended the first meeting can file a complaint. The town board also plans to pursue legal action to get the money back.

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