Brian Pierick and Timothy Russell must rue the day they allegedly parked their rented mini van on the corner of Fox River Parkway & Water View Lane, with a box full of pornography. According to a criminal complaint, at that corner, situated between the edge of a Waukesha subdivision and the Fox River Parkway, they waited for 15 minutes, negotiating by way of text message, with an increasingly apprehensive 17 year old boy who was staring at their van out of the window of his parent’s home. The date was Sunday, November 21, 2010 when Tim & Brian pulled up around 6:25pm. But this is not where their troubles begin, this was the conclusion of an adventure that started nearly three months before, as alleged in a 2 count indictment for Child Enticement and Exposing Genitals Or Pubic Area against Brian on January 3, 2012.
In fact, the events that led to the second count in the indictment are alleged to have occurred more than a month before that Sunday in Waukesha, on Saturday October 16, 2010. But when it really all began was at 4:14am on Monday, August 30, when a teenager, referred to in the indictment as DR, posted this on Craig’s List:
Or, perhaps, it all began 4 hours later at 8:38am, when the user of Brian Pierick’s phone responded to that ad by way of text message. What was written, we may never know. The recoverable chats begin on October 16, 2011. The initiation of the chats was revealed by the victim to investigators, their subpoena of AT&T for call details corroborated the victims statements. The content of 6 weeks of chat logs was lost.
The first recoverable chat log extracted from Brian’s phone is dated 10/16/10:
Unfortunately for Brian, the chat logs weren’t actually recovered from his iphone. Although it was the phone he used, it’s contract for service was in the name of his business and domestic partner, Timothy Russell. Brian’s indictment indicates “the execution of additional search warrants on the contents of the phones and computers already in the custody of investigators.” Would investigators have seized Brian’s iphone if he was it’s contractual owner under the initial search warrant (targeting Tim’s embezzlement charges)? It’s really not discernible from the indictment, although the application for additional warrants suggests that may be true.
Investigators recovered additional “Yahoo Chats” on a server seized from the offices of their business, Regent Realty. Logs from June & July 2010 reveal a prior relationship between Tim, Brian and a young Milwaukee area man with the screen name davelove420. The earlier text messages feature the duo revealing that they are acquainted with the father of the object of their interest. The indictment indicates that a large volume of chat sessions were contained in this server, although only a few are detailed, to show similarities of intent concerning the chats with juvenile DR. “davelove420” reveals himself to be more than a willing participant in Tim & Brian’s sexting fantasy life, presumably fulfilling his own desire to be their “piss and cum dump”. As constructed in the indictment, and revealed in the text logs, Pierick’s and Russell’s preferred erotic role playing was as dominant, incestuous, pedophiles.
Timothy Russell is a long time Wisconsin Republican apparatchik. In 1986 he Managed Gov. Tommy Thompson’s campaign in southeastern Wisconsin. Between 1987 and 1989 he ran Thompson’s Milwaukee office. Bios note extensive volunteer work for Republican candidates in the state. In 2000, he ran for Assembly in the heavily Democratic 81st district, losing by a wide margin to Dave Travis. Around this time, Russell also served on the State Board of Directors of Log Cabin Republicans and on the Board of the Aids Network; his domestic partner was Brian Pierick. During the Milwaukee County Executive special election of 2002, he was recruited to work on Scott Walker’s campaign. A report in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel noted him as an “old friend” of Walker. After winning that election, Walker appointed Russell as his Principle Executive Assistant in May of 2002, a few months later he became Director of Ops and Egov at the County Executive’s Office. In April of 2003, Scott Walker promoted him to Associate Director of Economic Development, a position eliminated that December by the Milwaukee County Board as a cost saving measure during a political fight over freezing property taxes.
In April of 2004 Russell was re-hired by Milwaukee County to the position of Information Systems Director at the Department of Social Services. 5 months later, Scott Walker promoted him as the Acting Director of Economic and Community Development Division. Not long after auditors informed the County Board of a $775,000 deficit, noting the failure of managerial oversight in the midst of a loss of experienced personnel, Russell resigned the position in August of 2005. He was replaced by fellow Walker campaign staffer, Bob Dennik (who hired Russell for the Walker campaign), who also left the position amidst criticism of his performance. In between his employment, Russell continued his work on Republican campaigns, including Scott Walker’s.
Russell was re-hired in August of 2008 to the Milwaukee County Executive’s Office as Director of Community Relations. Again, the previous pattern of promotion quickly followed: as Deputy chief of Staff in January 2009 and as Director of Housing, Department of Health and Human Services in March of 2010. On October 20, 2009, while he was employed as the Deputy Chief of Staff, and in his capacity as the President of the Heritage Guard Preservation Society, Inc., Russell signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the County Executive, transferring irrevocably “the ownership and operation of the event known as Operation Freedom, including records and assets thereof.” And here begin the travails of Brian Pierick.
“Operation Freedom”, a yearly event for veterans at the Milwaukee County Zoo, was started by County Executive Scott Walker. Initially, donations for the event were administered in his office. In 2006, the administration of the event was transferred to the Treasurer of Chapter 96 of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, Kevin Kavanaugh. After questions arose concerning a shortfall of $11,000 in 2008, first noticed by Darlene Wink, the administration was transferred to the Alonzo Cudworth American Legion Post #23. Eight months later, Walker and Russell signed the MOU. That same day, the County Executive, in a Memo, terminated the previous MOU between the Cudworth Post and Milwaukee County. He wrote:
According to the indictment:
Tim Russell deposited a check from the ACAL Post #23, dated 11/17/09 in the amount of $ 19,342.79 into a Guaranty Bank account on that Tuesday. The name of the account holder was “Heritage Guard Preservation Society, Inc.” a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation and Russell is listed as it’s sole signer. HGPS was originally started by attorney Todd Hunter to restore historic VA properties in Milwaukee County, on August 18, 2009 he transferred the non-profit and it’s assets of about $100 to Timothy Russell. During the course of the investigation, the IRS was unable to confirm the legal status of the corporation. When Hunter formed HGPS in 2004, it’s status was due to expire in 2008. Currently, investigators have failed to find any evidence that Hunter or Russell ever renewed the status of the corporation, although the IRS has not yet excluded that possibility.
Investigators were also unable to find people, listed as officers or directors of the corporation, with any knowledge of their position. On two separate fillings with the State of Wisconsin, Russell listed the following:
Darlene Wink – Vice President
James Tietjen – Secretary/Treasurer
Doningo Leguizamon – Vice President
Kelly Rindfleish – Secretary/Treasurer
In testimony and interview, only Darlene Wink was aware that she was involved with HGPS, Inc. She mistakenly believed that she was a director of the corporation, and was surprised, as were the others, to find that she was listed as an officer. Like Wink, the named officers were all employees of Milwaukee County. There were no named directors, and no minutes, resolutions or corporate documents ever discovered by investigators.
Around Christmas 2007, Brian Pierick received a letter from Chris Kujawa, a former candidate for the Milwaukee County Board. Having lost his election, Kujawa was requesting the return of $3000 he had loaned to his campaign. Pierick was the Treasurer, as named in official filings. In fact, the sole authorized signer on Kujawa’s campaign account was Timothy Russell, who had allegedlly transferred $2000 dollars from the campaign committee account into his personal account several weeks before Brian received the letter. Three weeks later, according to the complaint, he transferred another $1000 into his account. Kujawa’s John Doe testimony indicates that at some point in time it was revealed to him that Russell was actually in control of the funds. His continual requests for reimbursement were rebuffed, resulting in his threatening to take the issue to Russell’s boss, Scott Walker. Two years after his initial note to Pierick, Kujawa received a check for $3,041.83 from the custodian of “Operation Freedom”, The Heritage Guard Preservation Society, Inc. signed by Timothy Russell.
According to his indictment, this was not the first time Russell had transferred funds from HGPS, Inc. for his own purposes, nor was it the first time he had stolen campaign committee funds. On July 14, 2010, he withdrew $550 dollars from the campaign account of Larry Spicer, who had failed to emerge from a primary for Milwaukee County Board. Mr. Spicer stated that he was unaware of any balance in the account. On New Years Eve 2009, Russell transferred $5000 from the HGPS, Inc. into his personal bank account, an account he shared with Brian Pierick. On January 4, 2010, according to the complaint, Brian’s BarclayCard balance was paid in full. Charges on the card included a Carnival Cruise.
On April 8, 2010, Russell transferred another $5,000 from the HGPS, Inc. into his personal account, $1,000 was applied to the BarclsyCard, covering charges incurred during a Hawaiian vacation. At this point in the indictment, investigators note that substantial donations had begun to flow into the HGPS, Inc. account. Major donors included, Ron and Jane Johnson and the Republican Party of Milwaukee County (with a check signed by their treasurer, Timothy Russell). Investigators note another transfer of $3000 on July 27, 2010, and that by this time Russell had obtained a debit card attached to the HGPS, Inc. account. According to the indictment, Russell paid the rent on the offices of his realty business, Regent Realty, with the HGPS, Inc. funds, as the non-profit corporation shared the address.
Charges on the debit card are alleged to include payments to GoDaddy.com for webhosting. Domain names cited in the indictment include:
Other fund transfers, and spending, including a trip to Atlanta, GA for a strategy session for Herman Cain’s Presidential Campaign, are alleged. All told, the indictment asserts that Timothy Russell defrauded the Heritage Guard Preservation Society, Inc. of $21,699.85 or 50.5% of all of the donations from 2010. Investigators also note that if the rent payments for the address that Regent Realty and HGPS, Inc, shared are included in the total, “the percentage of stolen funds jumps to 62%”.
Warrants were duly served upon Russell’s home and offices on December 7, 2010; he was arrested and charged on January 5, 2012. That day Governor Scott Walker released the following statement:
“My chief of staff at Milwaukee County, Tom Nardelli, brought to my attention concerns about a local veterans organization and funds collected several years ago for an event honoring veterans. Mr. Nardelli, with my support, asked the Milwaukee County District Attorney to investigate those concerns. We appreciate learning that the District Attorney’s office investigated those concerns.”
According to the Associated Press, the investigation Nardelli instigated was for the mishandling of funds by Kevin Kavanaugh, the Treasurer of Chapter 96 of the Military Order of the Purple Heart; because of concerns initially raised by Darlene Wink in 2008. At that time the County Executive’s Office transferred the management of “Operation Freedom” to the Alonzo Cudworth American Legion Post #23. There is no indication of mismanagement of the fund for the eight months it was operated prior to the MOU that transferred it to Timothy Russell. This series of events suggests that the warrants issued by the John Doe Judge for Russell’s home and offices may be connected to other aspects of the ongoing Milwaukee County corruption investigation. It seems certain that the warrants were not issued and duly served because of anything on Brian Pierick’s iphone. Unfortunately, for Brian, his iphone contractually belonged to Tim.
Brian Pierick’s indictment notes that it was due to the graphic sexual content of chats discovered on his phone, along with the discovery of suspected child sexual abuse images on computers seized from the residence, that the scope of the John Doe investigation was expanded. Investigators also note that although most of the images found on the computers were commercial pornography of very young appearing men, some images appear to be pre-pubescent boys, “whose ages cannot (or as of yet have not) been confirmed”. User names identified on the computers to access the material included “Walker04” and “Trussell”. The indictment makes numerous references to an “unindicted co-conspirator”. Investigators also note that during the course of their interview, juvenile DR disclosed his belief that at most times, during the course of the chats, “he was engaging in communication with two parties at most times…”.
The events that led to the 2nd count in Brian’s indictment are alleged to have occurred on October 16, 2010 during the course of an IM chat exchange with DR. This chat session was initiated by DR around 10:40am. According to the logs, the chats continued for almost 4 hours, concluding around 2:15pm. It appears that during the previous six weeks of exchanges, the content of which could not be recovered, Pierick and DR had developed a familiar role-playing routine which includes a third party. Although DR’s initial post on Craig’s List expressed a desire to fulfill a “fantasie” “RolePlay” through texting, much of the October 16 chat logs discuss the logistics of a liaison between the three. The conversation includes the geographic locations and physical attributes of the parties. According to the indictment, at 12:02 pm, the user of Pierick’s phone inquires, “Are you just sexting to get off or do you really want to meet sometime?”, DR responds: “I would really like to meet sometime!”. As further alleged events occur, it is not unreasonable to assume that not only is DR being untruthful, he may actually be perpetrating a juvenile prank on Pierick and Russell.
According to the chat logs, at 10:55 am, Pierick texts to DR: “Yeah, Send me a picture of your hard cock”. DR’s response is that a prior attempt failed, but at 11:21am, a text from Pierick’s phone indicates that he has received the picture: “That is a very nice cock son”. According to investigators, DR stated that he complied with the request, resulting in the 2nd count in the indictment for causing a child to expose their genitals. DR then offers to make a video and receives the following response: “Yeah. That would be HOT. Send to email. Twowiguys@gmail.com”. The indictment notes this email address “to be associated primarily with with defendant Peirick’s partner, Timothy Russell”. Prior to DR’s transmission of an image of his genitalia, the chats reveal that the user of Pierick’s phone had sent a picture to him: “You like daddies pic?” / “Yes! You both are sexy as fuck!”. The indictment alleges that 2 photos were sent to DR, the first was positively identified as Brian Pierick and Timothy Russell, “with drinks in martini style glasses depicted in the foreground”. The second was an explicit image of two adult males. This picture, titled “cock fight”, was also extracted from a number of the computers seized by investigators, along with the initial image. DR also sent a second picture during the exchange, one of his face. This image was extracted from the Pierick iphone. The complaint states, “It is noted that DR appears his chronological age in the photo”.
Investigators outline a number of “red flags” which would have deterred those of better judgment from proceeding with the events alleged in Brian Pierick’s indictment. Although the user of Pierick’s phone, on more than one occasion, asks DR to confirm that he is 18, his replies are not consistent. Initially he is 19 years old, later, almost 19. DR confirms that he is in High School and lives with his family. He references his mother and brother during the course of some chats. DR reveals his level of sexual experience as “…have never do anything b4”. The user of Pierick’s phone seems well aware of DR’s circumstances, at one point advising, “…Don’t leave your porn in the VCR or DVD player for mom to find it.” DR replied, “Okay daddy : ) : )”. The porn referred to, according to the chat logs, was not yet in DR’s possession.
“Would you be interested in any gay porn? We have books, magazines, DVDs and videos we are going to be getting rid of soon.” Pursuant to the indictment, this text was sent from Pierick’s phone on Sunday, October 17, 2010 at 8:48am. DR responds: “Yeaah!”. The responding text to DR’s affirmation contains the suggestion that he would “have to get naked” to receive the gift. DR responds with a wink, “ ”. The following text rescinds any condition for receiving the gift of pornography, inquiring, “When do you want them?”. There is no response from DR or instance in which he initiates a chat in the remainder of the log contained in the indictment. On October, 21 2010, DR receives another text inquiring as to his interest in the proposed gift. Again, there is no reply.
One month later, on November 20, 2010, the user of Brian Pierick’s iphone sends the following text message to DR: “Hey boy. Still have some mags and videos if you are interested. We will be moving to Madison towards end of December, so want to unload”. Indeed, the indictment notes that Russell and Pierick were relocating to a condominium they had purchased in Sun Prairie, WI, just outside of Madison. About ten minutes later, the indictment alleges the following series of text messages between Brian Pierick and Tim Russell:
The final series of texts contained in the indictment begin at 3:42pm on Sunday, November 21, 2010, when DR responds to the text he received the previous day, “Hey dad, can you put them in a box and bring it some where in waukesha!?”. Within the body of the criminal complaint, investigators maintain that they have corroborated the locations of Pierick and Russell as described in the text messages with point of service debits to their shared bank account. According to those transactions, investigators allege that at this time Pierick and Russell were traveling from Sun Prairie to Milwaukee. The user of Pierick’s phone states near the beginning of the chat log that, “We are in Johnson Creek right now.” At 5:15pm the user texts, “We are at menards in Waukesha.” The complaint notes “a purchase of $37.97 at 5:15pm at Menards Waukesha”. Although the initial IM’s suggest a reluctance to exchange the pornography that day, the text from Menard’s continues, “We could get porn and meet you in waukesha in about an hour….”
The remaining texts in the complaint become increasingly ambiguous and contentious. DR’s commitment to accepting the box of pornography vacillates, while the user of the Pierick phone becomes more determined and assertive about the exchange. Investigators allege that Pierick and Russell drove from the Menards in Waukesha, to their home in Milwaukee, presumably to collect the materials, and then returned to Waukesha. A little more than an hour elapsed between the text from Menards and the text suggesting the arrival of the pair at the intersection near DR’s home: “Ok.here. Cum get your porn”. Juvenile DR responds, “?”. At no point in the text log does DR ever commit to entering or even approaching the vehicle. He has variously suggested leaving the box on the corner, the crub (sic) or on his back porch. The negotiations continue for more than 15 minutes until DR confirms that he will not approach the mini-van. The last text received by DR from the user of the Pierick phone is the final communication between the parties, “Do not text me ever again”.
Investigators allege that “the only reasonable inference that can be drawn from the totality of the communication….is that defendant Pierick intended to cause DR to come inside the van for the purpose of exposing DR’s genitals and subsequent sexual contact…”, resulting in the first count of the criminal complaint. As quoted in the complaint, the user of the Pierick phone texts, “If you decide you want a blow job, just let us know. Can do in the van. ”. The text, sent at 6:17pm, was received by DR minutes before he “personally observes a Chrysler mini van, subsequently identified as the same make and model of mini van being rented, at that time, by Timothy Russell…park at the corner of Fox River Parkway and Water View Lane,…”.
At a preliminary hearing on January 26, 2012, Brian Pierick’s attorney requested a dismissal of charges against his client, citing a lack of probable cause, a ruling is expected by February 24. Timothy Russell was bound over for trial at his preliminary hearing on January 23, 2012. An arraignment was scheduled for February 16, but has been postponed after Russell requested that the judge step aside, a second judge recused himself. His arraignment is now scheduled for February 24.