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County board member could face ethics charges over frac-sand deal

A pile of frac sand
A pile of frac sand

UNDATED (WSAU-Wheeler News)   A special prosecutor plans to decide in a few weeks whether to file ethics charges against a county supervisor in western Wisconsin over a frac-sand mining proposal. Trempealeau County Board member David Suchla is accused of using his office to try-and-help his own business interests.

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune said Suchla allegedly told county land use director Kevin Lien to keep quiet about his business relationship with a Texas firm interested in starting a frac-sand mine in his district. The paper said Lien learned about the business connection in a document that somebody left on a table in the courthouse in Whitehall. La Crosse County District Attorney Tim Gruenke is investigating. County Board member Sally Miller said in a sworn statement that Suchla told Lien to forget he saw the document and quote, “nip it in the bud or else.” Lien says Miller is right. Suchla admits being in the silica sand business, but denies using his County Board post to further his private interests. He said has abstained from frac-sand mining votes, and he consulted with the corporation counsel before pursuing his business.

The issue arises as the Trempealeau County Board is scheduled to vote today on a 6-to-12-month frac sand mining moratorium.

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