Jan 21, 2015

Mine Protestor Gets Light Jail Sentence, Corrupt Iron County DA Sought Long Prison Term

Katie Krow Kloth targeted by Mining
Co. and Corrupt Wisconsin DA
Updated - Nine-month Jail Term and Small Restitution for Mine Protester and Environmental Activist - DA Martin Lipske's 15-year prison sentence rejected by judge; GTAC's $80,000-plus restitution request rejected by judge [It was originally reported that the sentence is six months, but as the two counts' sentences are running consecutively and not concurrently, the jail term is nine months].

Update: A source in Iron County Wisconsin says Iron County DA Lipske, after being rebuffed today by Judge Fox, is now working on new charges against Ms. Kloth.

Lipske will not be satisfied until he has inflicted as much pain as possible on Ms. Kloth and will contrive virtually any charge in his ongoing abuse of process and malicious prosecution of Ms. Kloth.

The new charge is now Bail Jumping, a Class H Felony, though Ms. Kloth has never missed an appearance.

Reached today by phone, Lipske said there is a forbidden area in the forest of Iron County on which Ms. Kloth set foot.

The case is State of Wisconsin vs. Katie M. Kloth, Iron County Case Number 2015CF000001. Lipske said he is touch with Kloth's attorney, John C. Bachman of Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

Lipske claims that entering the forbidden zone in the Penokee Hills last Sunday constitutes "Bail Jumping."

 "On Sunday, at least 45 people snowshoed into the 'forbidden zone,' an off-limits mining zone in the Penokees established by Gogebic Taconite (GTAC) through the Wisconsin DNR, to peacefully protest the proposed mining in the region," reports Amber Mullen, Ashland Daily Press.

Objectively, Iron County District Attorney Martin Lipske is a despicable human being who should be investigated for misconduct again, and have his license suspended again by the Wisconsin Office of Lawyer Regulation.

Lipske said he had no choice but to pursue another felony charge though the political protest case is effectively closed. 

Lipske does have a choice, it's called prosecutorial discretion, but this human garbage is on a vendetta.
Katie Krow Kloth was sentenced to serve nine months in Iron County jail before a packed courtroom in Hurley, Wisconsin, and was described by the presiding judge as committing an offense on the low end of the spectrum at a political protest in 2013.

Two sentences of six and three months are ordered to be served consecutively by Ms. Kloth who is eligible for work release and has two weeks to report to jail. "Kloth will have five years of probation with the felony charge and two years with the misdemeanor," notes the Ashland Daily Press.

The presiding judge, Price County Judge Douglas T. Fox, said a prison sentence was not "appropriate," and withheld requested prison sentences, rejecting Iron County DA Martin Lipske's appeals.

Lipske is notoriously corrupt and known for fronting for Gogebic Taconite (GTAC).

GTAC's $80,000 request for restitution was rejected in full.

A different company employee, Stacy Saari, was ordered to receive a small restitution from Kloth.

Ms. Kloth, a 27-year-old woman who had no criminal record prior, is an environmental and Native American activist who faced four criminal charges for actions at a 2013 political protest at the proposed GTAC mine site in northern Wisconsin, (see Kaufman, New York Times).

Ms. Kloth had pleaded No Contest to two charges last September.

Kloth's attorney, John C. Bachman of Eau Claire, Wisconsin said he had never seen so many letters of support in a criminal case today as at this hearing.

The Department of Corrections filed a presentencing report with the Court on November 13, 2014, ordered by Price County Judge Douglas T. Fox on September 23, 2014.

"Katie is an intelligent and skilled botanist who has much to teach about the natural world," said environmental activist Rob Ganson of Citizens Concerned about the Proposed Penokee Mine in a letter to  Judge Fox.

Ms. Kloth made a motion for a new judge in March 2014, as is her right (unique among the 50 states) to move for substitution in Wisconsin for no stated cause, though the case stays in the jurisdiction of Iron County.

Good move.

The District Attorney, Iron County's Martin Lipske, is a corrupt jurist, suspended for discipline in 1990, and like Iron County Judge Patrick Madden is not a jurist with whom you want to be dealing when you are protesting the proposed giant open pit GTAC mine in Iron County.

Lipske, incredibly (but not for Lipske), had charged Kloth on four criminal counts two of which could have resulted in a 15-year prison sentence for an incident during which the alleged victims were seen laughing on tape.

Judge Fox handed down the sentence—some 11 months after Kloth's motion for a substitution of judge—this morning after DA Lipske threw the book at Kloth in typical Lipske-abuse-of-discretion fashion.

The charges stem from a criminal complaint of June 21, 2013.

Kloth had reached a plea deal in September, facing DA Martin Lipske throwing the book at her.

Krow was described as "looking well" yesterday by a long-time resident of Ashland County who spoke with Krow at the produce aisle at Chequamegon Food Coop on Tuesday, January 20th in the city of Ashland.

The same source said, Krow told him, "she has a good feeling about tomorrow's trial and claims to be ready for whatever happens."

Today at the sentencing hearing, Krow was described as "emotional but composed, and remorseful," by an attendee of the hearing.

Kloth is also the victim of a PR campaign against her by Wisconsin GOP-front journals, the Wisconsin Reporter and Media Trackers, among GOP groups.

"[T]he Gogebic Taconite company contributed $700,000 to the Wisconsin Club for Growth during the recall races in 2011 and 2012. According to the John Doe prosecutors, that contribution was coordinated by agents of Gov. Scott Walker. Around the same time, Walker and the Republicans were promoting a bill that was partially written by Gogebic Taconite. That bill eventually passed, giving the company what it wanted for its controversial mine in Iron County." (Rothschild, The Capital Times)

Said Krow in July 2014: "Those who fight against the destruction of the water, land, plants, and human and non-human animals of the Penokee Hills and Bad River Watershed are not ‘terrorists.’ The only terrorists are those who plot to blow up the hills with ammonium nitrate and use the power of the state’s policing apparatus to repress and send fear and division through the communities that oppose them. Gogebic Taconite (GTAC) and Chris Cline have millions of dollars and the support of the state to destroy the Penokees [Hills]," (Bergquist, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel).

A support group of Krow's notes:
On June 11th, 2013, Kroft was cited by the Iron County Sherriff for theft due to her alleged involvement in a rowdy protest earlier that day that disrupted bore-hole drilling on the Penokee Range. She was neither arrested nor detained that day.

Ten days later, Iron County District Attorney Martin Lipske increased the charges to robbery with use of force (a class E felony), two counts of criminal damage to property and one charge of theft of movable property.

It is apparent that the prosecutor gave into outside political pressure and that the charges were trumped up. The state legislature and powerful mining corporations seek to make an example out of anyone who dares to step out of line

A letter to Judge Fox by Rob Ganson of Citizens Concerned about the Proposed Penokee Mine (Facebook) is reproduced below:

Judge Fox,

Katie Kloth, in my opinion, is guilty of a crime, one like Bill Williams committed in the courthouse in Ashland, when he too, snatched a cell phone against resistance of the owner.

Small crimes like these, like the one perpetrated on 80-year-old Bruce Noble (no charges) occur on the streets of Hurley on a regular basis with no charges forthcoming. Please ask yourself why this particular case was so blatantly over-charged in Iron County.

It is clear on the video that a very minor assault was committed, while the victim’s co-workers, (a burly drilling crew) stood by laughing at the ill considered and rude antics. It is also clear that GTac responded by breaking the law; sending unlicensed mercenaries with military weapons, mercenaries in camo gear and masks, to confront hikers, including my wife. THIS was another sort of assault altogether! This assault was one including the brandishing of military rifles by masked men who seemed like some sort of terrorist cell and NOBODY was charged! The disposition of this case should be the same as it would be absent the political environment responsible for the elevated charges.

Katie is an intelligent and skilled botanist who has much to teach about the natural world, (if little about manners) and not some troublemaker with a record of crime or violence of any kind. I ask that you act in the spirit of justice and impose the slap on the wrist wake up call it would end in were it not for the politics that have so greatly exaggerated it.

Rob Ganson,
Washburn, Wisconsin
Bulletproof Securities, Inc, Photo by Rob Ganson
Read as well the refusal of DA Martin Lipske to prosecute the rightwing Bulletproof Securities, Inc. which tried to provoke natives of northern Wisconsin by unlawfully carrying semi-automatic weapons captured in a shot by Rob Ganson that was picked up nationwide.

July 17, 2013

Martin Lipske District Attorney
300 Taconite Street
Hurley, WI 54534

Re: Bulletproof Securities, Inc.

Dear Mr. Lipske:

This is a follow-up to my letter of July 11, calling your attention to several violations committed by Bulletproof Securities, Inc. while their armed personnel were unlawfully present in Wisconsin at the GTAC mine site. Apparently Bulletproof’s application for a Wisconsin license is still under consideration.

In my previous letter I did not specifically point to Wisconsin Statutes Section 134.58, which suggests that some officials and employees of both Bulletproof Securities and GTAC may have committed felonies. Section 134.58 states:

“Any person who, individually, in concert with another or as agent or officer of any firm, joint-stock company or corporation, uses, employs, aids or assists in employing any body of armed persons to act as militia, police or peace officers for the protection of persons or property or for the suppression of strikes, not being authorized by the laws of this state to so act, is guilty of a Class I felony.”

It is difficult to argue that this provision was not violated by the hiring of unlicensed personnel carrying AR-15’s, engaged to conduct surveillance and to protect the employees and property of GTAC.

Given this and the numerous previously listed violations, it is incumbent on your office and state regulatory authorities to insure that Bulletproof Securities, Inc. is not allowed to operate in Wisconsin. In the event Bulletproof officials were to be convicted of these charges, they would lose the right to operate in Arizona as well as Wisconsin. GTAC is presently utilizing Wisconsin personnel, and the tension has de-escalated. It would be counterproductive to reintroduce this firm into Wisconsin, as GTAC has promised. While Governor Walker and others have insisted that you prosecute law-breaking protesters to the fullest extent possible, I am looking for some semblance of an attempt to enforce the laws against out-of-state corporations responsible for criminal activity within our state.

Your defense of GTAC’s right to hire Bulletproof’s guards at Katie Kloth’s hearing was troublesome.

It was unrelated to her guilt or innocence, and only served to conflate the issues. No one has ever suggested GTAC has no right to hire private security -- they have every right to hire licensed personnel. Don’t confuse that with utilizing unlicensed, armed security forces in violation of Wisconsin’s criminal laws. Your vigorous stance in support of the hiring appears inappropriate for one charged with the duty to decide whether that hiring led to multiple violations of the law.

Unlike Governor Walker, I am not requesting that you use every weapon at your disposal. I am merely seeking assurances that Bulletproof Securities, Inc. will not be granted a license to operate in Wisconsin. Wisconsin is better served by the continued use of local companies that have demonstrated knowledge of and compliance with the law.


Anthony J. Stella, Jr.
Copy: Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services


  1. I will be visiting Hurley, my ancestral home, on numerous occasions in the next 9 month. Katy, let me know what you'd like me to bring you while in the county jail. I'll do my best to make pleasant your 'all expense paid' vacation in Iron County.

  2. Truly atrocious...such a blatant travesty of justice. Imagine the damage this horrid man could do to our whole country if somehow a majority of Americans decide we should have an uneducated bully & buffoon leading the nation...