AG Van Hollen Issues Opinion to Waukesha Co. District Attorney Concerning Whether a City Alder Would Violate the "Private Interest in Public Contract" Statute When City Makes Zoning Decision on Property in which Alder Has Interest

Dec 16 2014
AG Van Hollen Issues Opinion to Waukesha Co. District Attorney Concerning Whether a City Alder Would Violate the "Private Interest in Public Contract" Statute When City Makes Zoning Decision on Property in which Alder Has Interest
 

MADISON — Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen issued a formal opinion today to Waukesha County District Attorney Brad Schimel concerning whether an alderman in the City of Oconomowoc who owns a partial interest in properties in the city would violate
Wis. Stat. § 946.13(1)(a) even if he abstained from voting on zoning decisions related to those properties.  Van Hollen concluded that the alderman would not violate Wis. Stat. § 946.13(1)(a). The statute applies to a public officer or public employee, who “[i]n the officer’s or employee’s private capacity, negotiates or bids for or enters into a contract in which the officer or employee has a private pecuniary interest.”  Under Wisconsin law, a municipality’s zoning decisions are not contracts and therefore Wis. Stat. § 946.13(1)(a) would not apply to a public official’s participation in a zoning decision.

 

A copy of the Attorney General’s opinion is available at the following link:  Opinion.

 

A copy of the opinion request is available at the following link:  Request.

 

Formal and informal opinions issued by Attorney General Van Hollen are available here.