Gov. Evers discontinues investigation of Eau Claire Co. DA

DA Gary King to Resign
DA Gary King to Resign
Published: Jul. 12, 2021 at 4:17 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - An investigation into Eau Claire Co. District Attorney Gary King has been discontinued due to King’s announced resignation.

According to the office of Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, the investigation will be dropped since King has submitted his resignation, which is effective August 14. The governor’s office said that Gov. Evers took the allegations ‘very seriously,’ which is why the governor appointed a commissioner regarding the charges. However, the investigation will be discontinued due to the letter of resignation that King submitted to Evers on Friday.

Gov. Evers’ office added that Evers will appoint a new DA as soon as possible ‘to ensure a safe, productive work environment.’

King, who has been the DA in Eau Claire Co. since being elected to the post in 2012, was under investigation by the governor’s office for alleged misconduct. On June 18, Evers appointed William Ramsey as commissioner to investigate the charges made against King for inappropriate conduct. Ramsey is the deputy chief legal counsel at the Wisconsin Dept. of Administration.

Two of King’s former colleagues wrote to Gov. Evers, asking for King’s removal from office. The first letter was written by former Eau Claire County Assistant District Attorney Loralee Clark, who is retired after working as a prosecutor for 33 years. She worked in the Eau Claire DA’s office from 2009 through July 2020. The second was from Ellen Anderson who worked in the DA’s office with King from 2011 through February 2020. Gov. Evers received the charges on June 3.

In March, a third party investigator concluded King did make inappropriate comments to female staff members after one employee filed a complaint with the human resources department.

In his resignation letter, King wrote that he “takes great issue” with the charges made against him, writing that the individuals making the claims never expressed them directly to him. King also touted the work performance of the Eau Claire Co. DA Office. Former Dane County District Attorney Hal Harlowe was representing King in the investigation, and echoed King’s comments about the work performance of the office, describing King’s work ethic, public service, and performance “unimpeachable” and wrote that King “served the people of the Eau Claire community well.”

Eau Claire Co. DA Office Manager Eric Huse says that unless they receive different instruction from Gov. Evers, King will remain DA until his resignation becomes official August 14. Between now and then, Huse says that the time will be spent reassigning King’s cases to others in the office, including the assistant DAs.

King was first elected to the position of District Attorney in 2012. He ran unopposed and was re-elected last year. The current term runs through 2024.

In the past 25 years, only once has a sitting Wisconsin governor attempted to remove a District Attorney from office. In 2010, former Governor Jim Doyle initiated a process to remove former Calumet County DA Ken Kratz from office in the fall of 2010. Kratz resigned before that process could take place.

King declined an interview with WEAU.

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