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Real estate broker arrested in Walker donor inquiry

By Scott Bauer
Associated Press

Andrew P. Jensen Jr.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A commercial real estate broker in Milwaukee has been arrested for failing to cooperate with an ongoing investigation involving some of Gov. Scott Walker’s current and past aides, a person close to the investigation said Wednesday.

Andrew P. Jensen Jr. was arrested Tuesday night and released Wednesday without being charged. Milwaukee County sheriff’s department Capt. Scott Stiff said Jensen was ordered to come back on Jan. 25 and could be charged with something between now and then.

The arrest was first reported Wednesday by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, which also broke the news of the probe’s existence in 2010.

Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm declined to comment. Jensen’s attorney, Patrick Schott, did not immediately respond to a phone message left by The Associated Press seeking comment.

Schott told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Wednesday that Jensen was arrested because he would not accept prosecutors’ “versions of events.” Schott also told the newspaper that Jensen was the person who had requested that consideration of his getting immunity in the case be kept secret. A state appeals court earlier this month denied that request but did not name the person.

The source who spoke to the AP on Wednesday requested anonymity because those involved in such secret proceedings are prohibited by state law from talking publicly about them. The person said Jensen was arrested for failing to cooperate with the ongoing John Doe investigation. In those secret investigations witnesses can be compelled to testify under oath about potential criminal matters.

The arrest raises more questions about the extent and direction of the ongoing secret probe, which began in May 2010 and has served as a distraction for Walker as he faces a possible recall election next year motivated by anger over his proposal effectively ending collective bargaining rights for public workers.

Online campaign finance records show that Jensen, a commercial real estate broker with The Boerke Co. Inc. and a past president of the Commercial Association of Realtors-Wisconsin, donated $850 to Walker’s campaign between 2008 and 2010. But he also gave $100 to Walker’s Democratic opponent, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. He also has given $400 to committees to elect Democrats in the state Legislature.

A total of $12,150 was given to Walker’s gubernatorial campaign by employees of Boerke Co., according to the Democracy Campaign website.

Jensen’s biography on the Boerke website lists law firm Michael Best & Friedrich as his biggest client in the past two years. That law firm was hired this year by Republican state lawmakers to help them with the process of redrawing legislative and congressional district boundaries. It’s also the same law firm that Walker’s campaign attorney, former U.S. Attorney Steven Biskupic, works for. Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, is also on leave from the firm.

The Commercial Association of Realtors Wisconsin, which Jensen used to run, is now headed by Jim Villa, who was Walker’s chief of staff for five years when he was county executive. Villa did not immediately return phone and email messages seeking comment.

The investigation began in May 2010, around the time that Darlene Wink quit her job as the Milwaukee County constituent services coordinator under Walker when he was county executive.

Wink admitted to posting anonymous political comments on websites and blogs while at work.

Authorities searched her home in August and took the work computer of Tim Russell, a former Walker campaign staffer who was then working as Milwaukee County housing director.

In September, law enforcement officers raided the Madison home of Cindy Archer, who had worked for Walker at the county and followed him to Madison, where she was one of his top aides at the Department of Administration. Archer maintains that she’s innocent and continues to work for the Walker administration, but in a lower profile job at the Department of Children and Family Services.

Two prominent Republicans, Walker’s spokesman Cullen Werwie and Milwaukee County Republican Party official Roseann Dieck, have already been granted immunity in the investigation.

Walker has said he has not been contacted by prosecutors and he’s defended his integrity, saying he lives by the standards he got from his mother and father, a Baptist minister.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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