Scott Walker’s former Chief of Corrections Ed Wall suggested to the Wisconsin Governor’s Chief of Staff that he could shred public documents Wall had sent as part of his battle with the state over regaining a former job.
Wall resigned and left his position as chief of corrections last month. He had previously served as head of investigations for the Department of Justice. State law required that he be given this job back. But, Wall was put on paid leave and assigned to another job by state Attorney General Brad Schimel while he and the FBI conduct a massive investigation of possible abuses in Wisconsin juvenile prisons. The records in question, as well as the letter accompanying it, were sent in an effort to regain this job.
An excerpt from the letter Wall sent:
‘I know that you didn’t want me sending this electronically or to the office because of the (open) records issue, so I elected instead to send it to your home in writing and would ask that you feel free to shred it once you’ve looked it over. Nobody will know that I sent it and this is strictly between you and me. I understand the concern the administration has over creating records, Rich, but I can’t let that harm me or my family worse that we’ve already been harmed.’
When he wrote the letter to Zipperer, Wall was hoping to be reinstated to his old job without the issue coming into the spotlight. Included with the original letter was a Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission appeal of Wall’s job transfer.
Under the open records law, the letter was released to the Milwaukee Journal on Thursday, and showed clearly that Zipperer hadn’t taken Wall up on the offer. After pointing out that the letter wouldn’t have been released to the press had Zipperer simply chucked it in the garbage, Walker spokeswoman Laurel Patrick told reporters, “Clearly we treated this as the record it was.”
When reached by phone, Wall declined to comment. But his attorney, Dan Bach, told reporters that Wall had intended to prevent the premature release of the draft appeal, and wasn’t openly flouting the state’s open records laws.
‘I can’t imagine that he was,’ Bach told press. ‘Clearly, Ed doesn’t control, I don’t control, what is an open record, and he knows that. … Perhaps there was an unfortunate use of language there, but Ed knows that.’
Anne Schwartz, a spokeswoman for Attorney General Schimel, declined to comment. Schimel transferred Wall to his new job on March 1st, and placed him on paid leave while the investigation continues on abuse allegations at a youth prison in Northwoods. Wall might need to be interviewed as part of that probe. In the appeal, Wall said that he had learned about the abuses in January of 2015 and had contacted law enforcement about them. He also said that they had occurred “nine levels of supervision below his office”.
According to the Journal Sentinel, state officials acknowledge they had known about sexual assaults and attacks at the prison, but never contacted or provided incomplete information to officials, parents, and law enforcement. These issues came to light only after a similar investigation into the Lincoln Hills facility, and Copper Lake School for Girls, it’s sister facility on campus.