MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Former Republican candidate for Wisconsin governor Tim Michels is suing a conservative organizer who said the Michels campaign never paid him for hosting rallies in the 2022 midterm.
Bob Dohnal, publisher of the Wisconsin Conservative Digest, filed a complaint with the Wisconsin Ethics Commission on May 2 claiming that Michels’ campaign staff verbally agreed to pay him $100,000 to cover the costs of political events he hosted. He also sent an email to a list of thousands of people accusing Michels of reneging on the deal, according to court documents.
Michels sued three weeks later in Waukesha County court, alleging that Dohnal was “aggressively spreading false and malicious lies” about him. Michels’ attorneys said the campaign never hired Dohnal and accused him of using the ethics commission for extortion.
Dohnal is a retired pharmacist and has organized rallies on behalf of conservative candidates in Wisconsin for decades. Michels, the multimillionaire co-owner of the state’s largest construction company, was endorsed by former President Donald Trump in 2022 and lost to incumbent Democratic Gov. Tony Evers.
Dohnal told The Associated Press on Thursday that he had spent at least $50,000 organizing seven events for the Michels campaign, believing he would be reimbursed. The complaint against Dohnal says he could not provide Michels’ attorneys with a list of how he spent that money.