Attorney in Superior files suit against Douglas County district attorney
An out-of-county judge will oversee the civil case filed against Douglas County District Attorney Dan Blank by Superior attorney Rick Gondik. Judge George Glonek made the request for the case to be assigned to a different judge Wednesday. The com...
An out-of-county judge will oversee the civil case filed against Douglas County District Attorney Dan Blank by Superior attorney Rick Gondik.
Judge George Glonek made the request for the case to be assigned to a different judge Wednesday. The complaint, filed Oct. 1, seeks to prohibit Blank from participating in the prosecution of a felony case against Gondik, which was subsequently dismissed for the third time on Thursday. It also requests that Blank be prohibited from participating in any subsequent filings involving Gondik and from communicating in any fashion with the special prosecutor or anyone at all in regard to the prosecution.
The felony case in question, accusing Gondik of abusing his 14-year-old son, was dismissed twice before due to procedural errors. In each case, Polk County District Attorney Daniel Steffen served as special prosecutor. According to online court records, the most recent case was dismissed by Sawyer County Circuit Court Judge Gerald Wright.
Gondik alleges that e-mails sent by Blank to Steffen and Polk County Victim Witness Coordinator Janet Kelton indicate the district attorney was improperly involved in the prosecution. He also accuses Blank of communicating with the media via e-mail in an attempt to disparage him.
E-mails to the Superior Telegram were among the examples. In one, Blank notes that a special prosecutor will be requested. In the second, he confirms that Steffen will be handling the case. In a third, he states the criminal complaint was filed.
In addition, Blank accompanied Kelton to Gondik's law office when she served a summons and complaint to him regarding the felony case in January, according to the complaint.
Blank said it is not uncommon for e-mails to be exchanged with a special prosecutor. In this case, for example, there were communications about exchanges of paperwork between the offices. He denies directing the prosecution.
"It's really not up to me, it's up to the special prosecutor," Blank said, and added he had no expectations that Steffen would prosecute.
The Department of Justice is reviewing the charges, Blank said.
A call to Gondik's attorney, David Kropid, was not returned as of press time.