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Man Who Allegedly Collected Phony Recall Signatures Charged

Racine County DA files nine felony counts against 59-year-old Racine man after he is accused of forging signatures on a petition to recall state Sen. Van Wanggaard.

A man accused of falsely writing in signatures on a petition to recall state Sen. Van Wanggaard — including one from a deceased person — faces nine felony charges.

Mark Demet, 59, of Racine, has been charged by the Racine County District Attorney's Office with two felony counts of election fraud/nomination certification and seven felony counts of misappropriating identifying information for financial gain. If convicted on all charges, Demet faces up to 42 years in prison and fines up to $90,000.

According to the criminal complaint, Demet admitted that he circulated the petition and signed the names of seven people on the petition. Investigators spoke to six of the people whose names appeared on the list to verify that they had not signed the petition.

Demet is expected to make an initial court appearance at 1:30 p.m. on March 13.

Randy Brandt, treasurer for the Committee to Recall Van Wanggaard, said Demet might have been planted to discredit the recall effort, but the criminal complaint doesn’t address that issue.

“The charges imply that money was somehow involved, but no one on the Committee knows him and I know we didn’t pay him,” Brandt said. “But I’m glad that the whole process is unfolding as it should. Someone who allegedly is trying to circumvent the petition process should be charged with the crimes. And it’s a pretty serious crime.”

Still Brandt believes Demet is either some sort of renegade or had some other motive.

Brandt emailed the Racine County Sheriff’s Department earlier this month, explaining that the committee members did not know Demet. Brandt acknowledged it is possible “that a small number of fictitious signatures could have been submitted by people with their own motives, and without our detection.”

He requested that the Sheriff’s Department find out what Demet’s motive was for writing in the signatures, but the criminal complaint doesn’t address the issue.

Tea Party member identifies problem

Ironically, a Wisconsin Tea Party member put two and two together in identifying the falsified signatures.

Citizens for Responsible Government of Racine is a blog written by Ken Brown, who is an active Racine County Tea Party member. Brown said he has a business relationship with Jeff Demet, Mark's brother. When he saw Jeff Demet's name on the petitions, he believed that Jeff didn't sign the petition (his name was listed four times) because the two had talked about politics. So he called Jeff.

"(Jeff) was pretty mad," Brown said. "I asked him if he knew this guy, Mark. He said, 'Yeah, he's my crazy brother.'"

Brown said he also spoke with Jason Adams, and Nick and Holley Gabey, who are Mark Demet's neighbors. They also said their signatures were forged, so Brown turned over the information to the Racine County District Attorney's Office.

Brown said the Citizens for Responsible Government of Racine is affiliated with Milwaukee's Citizens for Responsible Government, which spearheaded the recall of Milwaukee County Executive Tom Ament.

"They've been going after voter fraud and have been for over 12 years," Brown said. "They've worked along with Americans for Prosperity and the Wisconsin Tea Party."

Caledonia Patch called Mark Demet to get a statement, but his mother, Mary, said he was at work. 

“I don’t think he wants to talk about this with anyone,” she said.

Demet also wasn't home when TMJ4 went to his house. The TV station aired a story last week about the irregularities on Demet's petitions. 

Demet apparently tried apologizing yesterday to his neighbor Jason Adams for his actions.

But Adams wanted nothing to do with it, he said.

“It doesn’t make it right in my book,” Adams said. “… It’s pretty serious to me and it’s touched a pretty heavy chord.”

Denise Lockwood February 28, 2012 at 05:19 PM
To clarify Randy didn't come running to the press. I called him.
Downtown Brown February 28, 2012 at 05:31 PM
Thanks for the clarification Denise. He did go running to the J TImes after he chatted with you. He also tried to turn it onto ME as if I somehow set this guy up as a Patsy! My new Blog on the subject: WHO PAID MARK DEMET?? And can we really believe Randolph Brandt? Who misled the people of Racine for years from the Editorial pages of the JTimes? Did AFSCME, SEIU, WEAC or someone else pay Demet? and how many other paid "volunteers" are out there? http://crgofracine.blogspot.com/2012/02/did-randolph-brandt-pay-his-volunteers.html
Denise Lockwood February 28, 2012 at 05:36 PM
;) I can only clarify my own actions and can tell you that I was focused presenting a fair and balanced story.
Tim Krueger February 28, 2012 at 05:52 PM
Funny thing is . . . we don't believe you.
Tim Krueger February 28, 2012 at 05:53 PM
my comment was directed at Randolph Brant . . .
Tim Krueger February 28, 2012 at 05:57 PM
I love the Koch brothers, they provide a lot of jobs . . . betting thats more than ron can say . . . it's going to be great when Walker beats the union stooge in the recall . . . in spite of the recall signature and democrat election fraud.
Tim Krueger February 28, 2012 at 06:02 PM
democrat DA's stepping up and doing the right thing??? Thats like asking a govt union worker to step up an do some work . . . don't hold your breath my friend.
Tim Krueger February 28, 2012 at 06:04 PM
Didn't you hear? Brant said his goons were not involved . . . thats enough for WI's main stream press . . . I mean really, can't we republicans just let the lefty tyrants rule in peace?
Tim Krueger February 28, 2012 at 06:06 PM
Let's just go for the truth . . . never a need to "balance" the truth.
country boy February 28, 2012 at 06:24 PM
Downtown Ronald Behr, The day old bakery line represents the out of state union influence dude. Do you know what a teabagger is? Keep your filthy perverted sexual tendencies out of the public please! Resorting to name calling to make your point... typical liberal tactics. Liberals: Shouting, ranting, whining because it ain't goin' your way. Falk will stall out on the elections because the silent majority knows where her allegiance is. Go Walker!!
Lisa February 28, 2012 at 06:34 PM
So you've never heard of 2 people who have disagreeing views discuss politics without getting angry and violent? Your life is so sheltered that that sentence ("I had a nice conversation with (Mark DeMet) this summer about Walker," Adams said. "I told him what I thought, which was the opposite of what he thought. There was no anger there." ") in and of itself leads you to conclude Mark DeMet is actually a pro-Walker plant? If you really do believe that, I've got a bridge to sell you!
Downtown Brown February 28, 2012 at 07:35 PM
Mr. Brandt: I think it's time to come forward with who was paying your circulators. If not your Committee, then which unions were co-operating with in the effort, and where did the funds come from. Does it go all the way up to team Obama?
James R Hoffa February 28, 2012 at 08:20 PM
I'm pretty sure I saw Obama eating lunch with Mark Demet down at the local Denny's several months ago. Now it's all starting to make sense! Thanks AWD for connecting the dots :-)
James R Hoffa February 28, 2012 at 08:25 PM
Once again, I see that Brandt is doubling down on his outrageous conspiracy theories. Why is it that the Wisconsin left seems to thrive on conspiracy theories lately? Must have something to do with having a pretty poor legislative and executive record over the prior eight years, and having nothing else to campaign on. Desperate and quite sad if you ask me!
James R Hoffa February 28, 2012 at 08:28 PM
Undoubtedly, the most interesting part of this story is the 'financial gain' aspect. This will be a fun one to watch flesh out in court. Someone on the left is going to come up with dirty hands before all is said and done - that much is certain. Has a John Doe investigation against Brandt or his organization started yet?
Denise Lockwood February 28, 2012 at 09:59 PM
Spoke to Rich Chiapete, the acting DA for Racine County, there was no payment... thus the reason why none is mentioned in the criminal complaint. The law includes anything of value or personal gain.
James R Hoffa February 28, 2012 at 10:12 PM
I know Rich and have worked with him in the past. Pretty good guy!
James R Hoffa February 28, 2012 at 10:49 PM
Brand new installment of Hoffa's Retro Cinema Club up today - be sure to check it out! http://mountpleasant.patch.com/blog_posts/hoffas-retro-cinema-club-dreamchild-1985#video-9206916
Downtown Brown February 28, 2012 at 10:59 PM
I second that Denise. I also contacted the DA's office with that question. I have updated the CRG story to reflect the new info.
linda w February 29, 2012 at 01:13 PM
because in order to be a plant he had to let others sign and get it turned in so that they could say there is fraud. not hard to figure out
linda w February 29, 2012 at 01:17 PM
you don't need a i.d to sign a petion.
morninmist February 29, 2012 at 01:46 PM
What that man did was wrong and should be punished to the full extent of the law. He casts a dark shadow on the recall process and that is wrong. This data analysis of 'True the Vote"--the folks who want to bring a lawsuit claim a 50 % failure rate--- but the analysis says there is a 6% invalid rate--by their own numbers!!! http://d21971ua898zk6.cloudfront.net/39/e0/e/1160/PF_Data_Analysis_-_VTR_and_TTV.PDF
Steve February 29, 2012 at 02:34 PM
Build more prisons. After looking through those recall petitions we will need one dedicated to collectors. And still they argue against voter ID..... you wonder why ....
mau February 29, 2012 at 07:06 PM
I should have put a question mark after the 2nd paragraph, 2nd sentence. DeMet is NO pro-Walker plant!!!
Downtown Brown February 29, 2012 at 07:11 PM
Hey JT hows that truth looking today? The guy confessed to several counts of fraud..and is charged with 9 felony counts. I guess there was no spin after all was there?
Tim Krueger March 01, 2012 at 02:06 AM
I know your comment is facetious ( the one about arguing against voter id ) but democrats and union thugs cannot win without voter fraud and attempted intimidation.
Downtown Brown March 01, 2012 at 04:51 AM
Linda is correct you don't need an ID to sign a recall petition..but you need it to vote isn't that stupid? From now on Voter ID should be required to circulate, petitions or recalls.
bridget March 01, 2012 at 09:31 PM
I hope he punished to the full extent of the law.
Bucky March 03, 2012 at 01:48 AM
R is for Rat.
doug toader March 05, 2013 at 06:37 PM
Voter fraud and the Democrats, just like always!

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