Copy of article about Brookfield Mayor Jeff Speaker’s code violations

This game is called tit for tat. In game theory, this particular strategy is supposed to be the most effective towards winning. We’ll see.

I know I have been a major proponent of respecting other’s content in our blog world. But today there’s a case where Journal Communications hasn’t been very quick to respond to my concern over a copyright issue, so I thought, what the heck. Two can play that game.

This article has gone into hiding under the company’s archive system. They think it’s so important that you should have to pay to read it now! But, because I think this is important stuff for our community to know, and because it’s no longer available on the internet, and mostly because that company thinks it’s fine and dandy to reprint what they want of mine at their convenience, I’m going for it.

Of course, I’ll be happy to erase it should they come through and erase my content. If they don’t? The details of Mr. Speaker’s trouble will be on the Web forever. Not a bad trade-off if you ask me.


Brookfield mayor’s Milwaukee apartments rack up code violations

Broken windows, fire hazards among 50 filed

Brookfield — As a retired police officer, Brookfield Mayor Jeff Speaker says he believes in the “broken windows” theory of community policing, that being vigilant on nuisance issues will help stem bigger problems. But a Milwaukee apartment building he has owned for a year has numerous broken windows, prompting some of the 50 property code violations that city inspectors filed against him this week.

Speaker said tenants have broken windows and refused to pay for the damage. Some tenants said some windows have been broken since before Speaker bought the foreclosed 20-unit building for $423,500 in May 2007.

Other code violations filed include an uncapped gas line, which a Milwaukee city official called a potential explosion hazard; fire extinguisher issues; two toilets not fully attached to the floor; a defective downspout; and water-damaged plaster.

The apartment building has a checkered past, with an above-average number of inspection visits in recent years, including under Speaker’s ownership, said Todd Weiler, spokesman for the city’s Department of Neighborhood Services, which handles inspections.

“I credit him for trying to turn it around,” Weiler said. “We recognize it’s difficult to bring it out of a crappy condition into a compliant condition.

“But you should know that when you buy it and have hammer and nail ready,” Weiler said. “It’s time. The proof will be in the pudding. We’ll see what happens to his promises.”

Debris cleanup According to city records, Speaker did not respond to orders in January to remove debris and a junk vehicle, Weiler said, prompting the city to send contractors to do the work and then bill Speaker $442, including a $100 fee for repeated litter issues.

“When a (city) contractor has to go out, it’s a sign of very poor management,” Weiler said. “Whoever he has doing it is not on top of things.”

Asked why he bought the Milwaukee apartment building instead of one in Brookfield, Speaker said he couldn’t afford one in Brookfield.

“It’s an investment, and they can be fairly lucrative if you have a good tenant mix,” Speaker said of Milwaukee rental properties.

He said he would like to get tenants who are on rent assistance “because you’re guaranteed your money.” But he said he couldn’t do that until he made more repairs.

Pearl Johnson, who said she has lived there for about two years with her aunt and three children, said she has had water damage in her ceilings, with rain falling through light fixtures. She showed how her toilet moved up and down off the ground, and the shower head didn’t work.

Her living room window was broken about three months ago when her daughter threw a rock at it, but Speaker has refused to fix it unless Johnson pays for it.


July 7 – edited to comply with Journal Communication’s interpretation of fair use.


  1. Fair Play says:

    Cindy, watch the fair use…you are borderline. Watch out or Crapper is going to post:

    Fair Use doctrine, as outlined by the U.S. Copyright Office:

    The 1961 Report of the Register of Copyrights on the General Revision of the U.S. Copyright Law cites examples of

    activities that courts have regarded as fair use: “quotation of excerpts in a review or criticism for purposes of

    illustration or comment; quotation of short passages in a scholarly or technical work, for illustration or

    clarification of the author’s observations; use in a parody of some of the content of the work parodied; summary of

    an address or article, with brief quotations, in a news report; reproduction by a library of a portion of a work to

    replace part of a damaged copy; reproduction by a teacher or student of a small part of a work to illustrate a

    lesson; reproduction of a work in legislative or judicial proceedings or reports; incidental and fortuitous

    reproduction, in a newsreel or broadcast, of a work located in the scene of an event being reported.”

  2. It’s Capper, dear. And I really understand fair use. The question remains, does Journal Communications? As soon as they acknowledge my copyright, I’ll acknowledge theirs.