John Schulze, the chief legal counsel for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation since last spring, is no longer with the department, an agency spokesperson has confirmed. Schulze's departure follows the release last week of an offensive email he sent in 2010 to a secret email system in Gov. Scott Walker's former Milwaukee County office.
Peg Schmitt, public information officer for the DOT, would not confirm whether Schulze was terminated. "We do not comment on personnel matters," she said in an email.
Schulze is perhaps the first casualty of the release last week of thousands of documents related to the John Doe probe of aides who worked with Walker when he was Milwaukee County executive. The emails revealed a secret email system that mixed county and political business.
Schulze has been head of the Department of Transportation legal office since May 2013. A former attorney with the American Transmission Co., he was also an administrator with the Public Service Commission. Schulze also held positions with Republican governors Tommy Thompson and Scott McCallum.
On March 23, 2010, Schulz emailed Walker aide Kelly Rindfleisch and others under the subject line, "look what I found on an old zip drive."
He included two comments: "1) I cannot believe I sent this over the state email system. 2) I am one funny dude."
The document, dated September 1998, was a made-up press release about the prospect of legalizing prostitution in Wisconsin. In it, Schulze suggests prostitution could be a tourism attraction for the Wisconsin Dells or provide employment opportunities for people on welfare.
In one instance, Schulze joked about a state Senate staffer contracting a sexually transmitted disease after leading a fact-finding mission:
'Arrgh! God, it hurts when I pee,' shouted Villa from a ground floor state Capitol restroom. 'I thought Clymedia [sic] was a flower.'
This is the second high-profile departure of a state DOT administrator in less than a year. In August 2013, Assistant Deputy Secretary Steven Krieser was fired after the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that he made insensitive remarks about immigrants in Facebook posts.