The Racine County Sheriff’s Office has recommended four felony charges to the Racine County District Attorney against former Pleasant Prairie Public Works Director John Steinbrink Jr.
The Village of Pleasant Prairie has also announced the retirement of Steinbrink Jr., effective June 28.
The recommended charges included three felony counts of misconduct in public office and one felony count of private interest in public contract prohibited, according to Racine County Sheriff’s Public Information Officer Lt. Michael Luell.
The latter refers, according to statute, to cases where courts may determine that a public contract is illegal when it is awarded where an official or employee has a private interest.
The Racine County District Attorney’s Office has yet to decide whether to charge Steinbrink Jr.
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The investigation of Steinbrink Jr. was turned over to the Racine County Sheriff’s Office by the Village of Pleasant Prairie in April to avoid a conflict of interest. Steinbrink Jr., who had been public works director since 2010 and employed with the village the last 28 years, was placed on paid administrative leave following an alleged undisclosed complaint filed earlier this spring.
Pleasant Prairie Communications Manager Steve Linn released a statement from an internal email shared with village staff stating, “The Village of Pleasant Prairie is announcing the retirement of Public Works Director John Steinbrink Jr., effective June 28, 2022.”
The Village of Pleasant Prairie declined additional comment on Friday.
Village President John Steinbrink Sr., Steinbrink Jr’s father, acknowledged the allegations that had been made against his son but declined to comment on them.
Instead, he spoke about the numerous programs his son had worked on during his 28 years with the village, ranging from snow removal to the water distribution system, and what his retirement would mean for Pleasant Prairie.
“He’s built bridges over rivers, and parking lots,” Steinbrink Sr. said. “It’ll be a loss to the village. I’m proud of the work he did here.”
Steinbrink Sr., said his son has saved the village millions of dollars over the years through his efforts.
“If you go out there and talk to people who really know the village, you’ll hear the same thing,” Steinbrink Sr. said.
Steinbrink Sr., said he had not seen the charges recommended by the Racine County Sheriff’s Office and could not comment.
Steinbrink Jr., pointed to recent changes in the work force and staffing shortages for his reasoning for retiring.
"I am proud to have been a part of the growth of Pleasant Prairie for the last 28 years. It has been satisfying watching a rural farm community develop into a desired location for people to live, tourists to visit, and businesses to locate," Steinbrink Jr., said in a statement. "Pleasant Prairie has been and will always be a great place to live work and play."