STICKER SHOCK: Karger investigation cost $43K

Marathon County taxpayers are now stuck footing a $42,700 bill to pay for the investigation of County Administrator Brad Karger—an amount nearly four times the $10,400 authorized by the county board.

The county’s executive committee on Tuesday unveiled the final bill from law firm von Briesen and Roper for legal services related to the investigation. That includes 30 hours of work von Briesen threw in for free, says County Board Chair Kurt Gibbs. The investigation was spurred by Karger’s participation in a May 31 peace rally in support of Dylan Yang, a 16-year-old Hmong resident who was convicted of reckless homicide in adult court and is facing decades in prison. Karger’s participation, which angered top law enforcement officials, resulted in a 30-day unpaid suspension. He has since returned to work.

RELATED: Legal analysis: Karger’s leadership role outweighs free speech

County Corporation Counsel Scott Corbett says the finance committee has a contingency fund it can use to pay the bill. Executive Committee Member John Robinson said the board needs a policy to keep future bills from skyrocketing without approval and suggested the topic for a future meeting. Currently there is no such policy in place, Corbett says.

RELATED: Suspension tension continues