Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely young daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.
1) The Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel reports Ryan was “sued by the City of Milwaukee for back taxes.”
2) The newspaper also reports, “A onetime tow truck operator and self-described political underdog, Ryan is no stranger to conflict in his business and political dealings. A look through Milwaukee County Circuit Court records shows that he has sued or been sued dozens of times in disputes with numerous parties over everything from harassment to failure to pay bills.”
3) The last time we heard from Basil Ryan, he was exiting Franklin politics in shame and disgrace, having been successfully recalled. He lost to current Franklin Alderman Pete Kosovich.
In response, I received the following correspondence from former Waukesha County District Attorney Paul Bucher, who is representing Ryan:
Gatzke & Ruppelt, S. C.
A t t o r n e y s a n d C o u n s e l o r s a t L a w
January 14, 2008
I have not had a chance to speak to you for some time, and I hope that all is well. Things are tremendous with me, and I definitely have a different perspective on the justice system. Speaking of the justice system, I wanted to let you know that I have been retained to represent Basil Ryan. Obviously, you are aware that Mr. Ryan is running for Mayor of the City of Franklin. My reason for contacting you, Kevin, is that Mr. Ryan recently informed me of some remarks you apparently made, either on a web site or blog, as it relates to Mr. Ryan’s past. I am aware that Mr. Ryan has issues in his past, but as this campaign progresses, it will be my job to ensure those issues are reported factually and correctly. Since I know the media frequently misstates things and/or takes great poetic license, I will assume that is what happened in this instance. Your comments seem to be paraphrasing a Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel report that was discussing Mr. Ryan’s past. Unfortunately, the reporter was in error and did not correct the misstatements directly, but a correction was run in the Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel the next day.
Allow me to set the record straight, Kevin. Tax warrants were filed against Mr. Ryan by the Wisconsin Department of Revenue, but they were filed in error. I know that you do not find it hard to believe that the Department of Revenue sometimes make mistakes. That occurred in this case. Once the errors were brought to their attention, those tax warrants were dismissed or withdrawn the next day. I have enclosed copies of materials that verify that is the case.
Additionally, there was a civil suit filed against Mr. Ryan, but never served on him, as it related to taxes for a parcel of property he owned. Once again, an error had occurred, and once it was brought to the attention of the law firm that filed the suit, it was dismissed. I have also enclosed copies pertaining to this issue, so you are aware that again, this was an error on the part of other individuals.
Additionally, Mr. Ryan was involved in a tremendous amount of litigation in his business dealings. This was simply because he was an owner of a towing company, and ended up in various disputes with individuals who felt their vehicles were improperly towed. When he would tow a vehicle and the City of Milwaukee was sued as a result of that towing, both he and his company were also sued. I am sure you do not hold it against Mr. Ryan because he was a legitimate business man performing a perfectly legal and extremely important task, and as a result, was involved in litigation.
I know that you want to report accurately, because I have seen comments that you have made which indicated how upset you get when individuals mischaracterize what you say. In one case, I believe you were called a “liar.” I certainly would not call you that – you are an accurate reporter, and you take great pride in ensuring that what you report is factual. Whether or not you like Mr. Ryan or agree with his politics, he has the absolute right to run for public office in the City of Franklin against the Mayor of the City of Franklin. The voters and electors of the City of Franklin have to make the ultimate decision as to who they will choose for Mayor. My job is designed to ensure that any reporting is factual, and any legality surrounding a campaign of this magnitude is followed. I intend to do that, and I will be aggressive in ensuring that the rules are followed.
I hope to discuss this race with you as it progresses. I hold great respect for you, and I wanted to take the opportunity to contact you early on to engage in this discussion. Thanks, again, and I hope things are well with you and yours.
Very truly yours,
GATZKE & RUPPELT, S.C.
Paul E. Bucher
Attorney at Law
EnclosuresCc: Mr. Basil Ryan
I have publicly stated my support for Tom Taylor. However, in fairness, I plan on blogging pertinent campaign information about both candidates.
Bucher says, “Whether or not you like Mr. Ryan or agree with his politics, he has the absolute right to run for public office in the City of Franklin against the Mayor of the City of Franklin."
Yes, Basil Ryan certainly has the right to run for mayor. No dispute there.
For the record, I have no personal feeling one way or the other about Basil Ryan. I’ve never met the man.
It was good to hear from my friend, Paul, and I'm glad he's doing well.