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Kratz to resign

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CHILTON (WKOW) -- An attorney for embattled Calumet County District Attorney Ken Kratz announced Monday Kratz intended to resign, as Governor Doyle's attempt to remove Kratz from office was getting underway.

"Best for all;  Best for Calumet," attorney Bob Craanen told WKOW's Tony Galli and other reporters when asked what motivated Kratz to make a decision he had sworn off previously.

Craanen said Kratz was receiving in-patient medical care, but his resignation was expected to be imminent and no later than Oct. 8.

Kratz has faced mounting criticism since recent revelations he sent sexually-charged text messages to a domestic abuse victim last fall. Since that revelation, other women have come forward to accuse Kratz of inappropriate conduct, including one woman who asked for Kratz's help in gaining a pardon from Doyle.

At a first public hearing Monday in Calumet County on Doyle's attempt to remove Kratz for misconduct through an executive process, Craanen revealed near the end of the twenty minute session Kratz was intending to resign.

The matter's special prosecutor, Assistant Attorney General Tom Storm had said he intended to call "6 or 7 witnesses" to help make a case to prove Kratz's actions warranted removal.

Craanen told reporters Kratz was resigning to spare domestic abuse victim Stephanie Van Groll any further problems. 

"He didn't want to put Stephanie Van Groll through this.   He mentioned her specifically."

Van Groll reported Kratz's more than two dozen text messages to her to Kaukauna police almost immediately after receiving them.   The text messages included Kratz describing Kroll as a "hot, young nymph."   Kratz had been prosecuting Van Groll's abuser, but the case was turned over to an assistant attorney general at the insistence of Wisconsin Department of Justice officials.

Calumet County resident Heather Severson, who filed a verified complaint against Kratz over Kratz's treatment of Van Groll and allegedly other women to initiative Doyle's removal process, said she was "outraged" Kratz was only resigning after earlier refusing to do so and putting Van Groll and others through more duress.

"He should have done this (resign) to begin with."

Officials said the removal process remains ongoing because Kratz has yet to tender his resignation.   Oct. 8 is the date set by process commissioner Robert Jambois for testimony.

Craanen also lashed out at the executive process invoked by Doyle, claiming it stacked the deck against Kratz, even if testimony from witnesses did not establish Kratz should be removed.

"Governor Doyle could overcome those and he already tipped his hand last week, when he said this is ridiculous.   He has a very high level of disgust over this."

"The process is defined in the Wisconsin constitution,"   Storm said.   "This is not an unprecedented proceeding."

Storm said former Governor Tommy Thompson used the executive power to remove a district attorney in 1996.

Democrat Doyle, Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen and others have criticized Kratz's conduct.

They's also taken issue with the Office of Lawyer Regulation's rejection of any investigation into Kratz's text messages when OLR was first presented with them last year.

An OLR official Friday said an investigation into Kratz's professional behavior has now been opened based on significant new information becoming available.

Online reporting by Tony Galli.

tgalli@wkowtv.com

 

 

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