U.S. Attorney's office won't file charges in 'implied threat' case

Shawano Leader, Wisconsin/October 1, 2009

For nearly 11 months, Shawano Mayor Lorna Marquardt has waited for more information concerning the "implied threat" against her and 60 other area residents.

On Wednesday, Marquardt received an answer: There will be no charges filed over the alleged hit list case, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office out of Milwaukee.

"It's one thing to be told you're on a hit list, and then not told anything. It's frustrating," Marquardt said. "I'm not living in fear. I'm more agitated than anything."

Shawano Police Chief Ed Whealon said he received a call Wednesday afternoon from Ray Greco, the FBI's agent-in-charge in Green Bay, explaining the investigation was put back in the FBI's hands. Whealon said he would not make further comments without more information.

On Nov. 5, 2008, about 40 people gathered at the request of local authorities and the FBI when they were told of the existence of an "implied threat" against 60 people on a alleged "hit list." Authorities linked the list to the Samanta Roy Institute of Science and Technology in Shawano.

SIST vigorously denied any allegations regarding its involvement in the list or the targeting of local residents. The organization's attorney Wednesday reiterated that denial and said the news media blew the matter out of proportion and unfairly focused attention on SIST.

"It's shocking the way my clients have been abused and scandalized by the media," said Alan Eisenberg of Milwaukee.

The FBI investigation brought statewide and national media attention on Shawano and renewed interest in SIST, which has clashed with city of Shawano and town of Wescott officials for years over taxes, permits and zoning issues. The implied threat situation also resulted in the installation of increased security at Shawano City Hall.

SIST CEO Naomi Isaacson and President Avraham Cohen "have an apology coming from the media," Eisenberg added. "Neither they nor any of their associates have threatened anybody."

According to a brief statement, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Milwaukee said "there is insufficient evidence at this time to merit criminal charges. If further evidence is submitted, we will re-evaluate the situation."

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