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Sources: Supervisor facing misconduct probe

By M.D. Kittle

Wisconsin Spotlight  | Oct. 11, 2022

MADISON — A Milwaukee County Board supervisor and former legislative aide is facing a criminal investigation for misconduct in office, multiple sources tell Empower Wisconsin.

Charges are expected to be filed soon against Supervisor Dyango Zerpa, elected in April to represent Milwaukee County’s 14th District, according to sources. One source with knowledge of the situation said Zerpa’s office account was being suspended.

Zerpa did not return requests for comment. Neither did the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s office.

Zerpa, who served as a legislative aide for state Rep. Sylvia Ortiz-Velez (D-Milwaukee) as well, was fired on July14 after he was found to have misrepresented his state government hours and failed to complete the duties of the office, a source with knowledge of the situation said. State IT records showed Zerpa failed to come into the Madison office for long stretches of time while Ortiz-Velez was taking care of her dying younger sister.

“He said he had to postpone his regular trips to the office because of high gas prices,” a source close to the situation told Empower Wisconsin. Between his supervisor position and legislative aide post, Zerpa was earning more than Ortiz-Velez, whose Assembly salary is approximately $53,000 a year.

He assured the freshman state representative that he was not neglecting his duties, but a tracking of his hours, piles of unanswered constituent mail and Facebook photos told a different story, sources said. Zerpa appeared to be busy on boat rides, fundraisers and soirees with political figures.

Records showed he was doing his county work while he ostensibly was on the state government clock, a source with knowledge of the situation said. And Zerpa in May reserved a conference room at the Capitol in Ortiz-Velez’s name, without her knowledge or permission.

Ortiz-Velez declined to comment for this story.

Sources say Milwaukee County officials have opened an investigation into Zerpa’s activities, including concerns about his campaign finance reports. One source told Empower Wisconsin Zerpa had previously been fired as an aide to Milwaukee County Board supervisors before he was elected to the board. He was found to have destroyed a government document and falsified information, sources told Empower Wisconsin.

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