Cost per student Mercer $20,146,
Wis. $12,942, Nation $10,667
ACT comp. score Mercer 17.0,
Wis. 19.6, Lakeland UHS 20.0,
Hurley 18.7; perfect score 36.0
Mercer DPI Report Card score
lowest of all 421 Wis. schools

Saturday, April 20, 2019

The “Mercer 5” Criminal Felony Charges
The first step in what could be a very long drawn out legal process will

be taken at 10:30 a.m. Monday when the two present and three former Mercer School Board members charged with criminal felony counts appear before Circuit Court Judge Patrick Madden in the Iron County Courthouse.
The five – Micki Pierce-Holmstrom, owner of Century 21 Pierce Reality in Mercer, Noel Brandt, Deanna Pierpont, Kelly Kohegyi and Denise Thompson, owner Tom’s CafĂ© in Mercer – will be in court for an “initial appearance”.  All that can happen at an initial appearance is that the charges will be read to each defendant and bonds will be set.
All five have retained legal counsel. As lawyers do, they have filed a series of motions just this last Wednesday and Thursday.  Those motions will be heard at future court sessions, as will the defendants’ pleas of guilty or not guilty be taken.
Micki Pierce’s attorney, who is from Eagle River, filed a three- page, 21-point “Demand for Discovery and Inspection” motion.  He has asked for the names and information about the potential witnesses District Attorney Matthew Tingstad intends to use and for numerous case documents.
Noel Brandt’s attorney from Madison submitted a nine-page “Motion to Dismiss” the charges, as did an attorney from Bessemer representing Deanna Pierpont, Kelly Kohegyi and Denise Thompson.  In those cases, the issue involves a May 1, 2018, letter to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction signed by the five School Board members. 
The problem is, and the state charges, that two of the five, Kohegyi and Thompson, were not members of the Board at that time of the signing, and the other three signed the letter knowing that. The basis of the motions to dismiss is that they were really signing and attesting to something that had occurred at a 2015 Board meeting when all five were Board members.  (See MSF 4/8/19 Details of the Charges)
Pierpont is additionally charged with a criminal felony count for destroying a video recording of the October 2017 School District annual meeting.  Her attorney’s motion to dismiss says: “the video alleged to have been destroyed by the defendant was a private video, property of the defendant.” 
However, a list on the school’s website of “Board Meeting Videos” going back several years reads: “We are now taping the School Board meetings.”  Note that it reads “We” not “I’.  Also, the recordings were done on school equipment.  
If Pierpont had not destroyed the video it would show Pierce shouting an obscenity and Brandt charging at a citizen who was speaking about the school’s “pathetic” ACT scores.  Pierpont told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that she erased video recording because: “I didn’t like what I saw…I just felt that I didn’t want that out on the website”.  Audio recordings of the meeting exists.
Stay tuned for many interesting days ahead.