David Halbrooks is the 12th individual to be granted immunity in the John Doe probe also known as “Walkergate”. Halbrooks wouldn’t seem like a person connected to the Walker inner circle since he’s a Democratic Party loyal. However Halbrooks has been steeped in property politics for years in Milwaukee and he would by default rub shoulders with powerful developers through his work on M7, a Southeast Wisconsin business group. What follows is what I could learn about David Halbrooks from gleaning the web.
From the AP, Halbrooks is a former Milwaukee municipal judge and private attorney who since January “has been the director of procurement and contracting at Omnicare, which provides pharmacy services to long-term care facilities.”
Halbrooks was appointed to the M7 by a childhood friend from Kenosha, Jim Kreuser.
Some Milwaukee residents may remember that Halbrooks was one of the politicos who kept a House of Blues bar out of the Pabst City revitalization project. At that time, 2005, Halbrooks was an ally of Peter Jest, owner of Shank Hall as well as Joseph Balistrieri and Leslie West, owners of The Rave. He was also allied with Ald. Fred Gordon, Craig Peterson, and Brian Burke.
A write-up from the right wing “think tank” WPRI summed up that group’s opposition as “the embodiment
of the status quo—downtown bar owners,
restaurateurs and historic preservationists—
joined forces in a campaign to keep Pabst City
wrapped in cobwebs”.
Halbrooks has represented a hip hop bar called “Texture” in an alcohol licensing dispute with the City of Milwaukee. He’s also done legal work in another liquor license dispute for a nightclub called “Sugar” according to a 2008 OnMilwaukee post which called Halbrooks a “lobbyist”.
Slight tangent here, because it’s not often that this blog gets to include the word “bikinis”:
“Sugar, 126 E. Mineral St., tucked in a largely industrial area in Walker’s Point, couldn’t avoid controversy after its patrons would spill out on nearby streets after dancing. One police officer described a scene of a crowded gas station filled with partially clothed girls. The officer said he was concerned for the safety of the girls who weren’t wearing coats on winter nights and would sometimes have nothing on but bikinis for a so-called “Foam” night.”
To Halbrooks’ credit, a blogger at UppityWis took Halbrooks’ word over that of an editorial in the Cap Times which alleged petition fraud by Assembly candidate Pedro Colon in 2008 as well as legal impropriety. In short order the Cap Times reversed its position and noted “We have been impressed with [attorney] Halbrooks’ forthright and detailed responses to the concerns that have arisen”.
Halbrooks’ 2004 Milwaukee municipal judicial race was endorsed by Human Rights League, a PAC that’s supported candidates who will (by their web site’s description) work for and defend lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality.
Also to Halbrooks’ credit, he was on the Wisconsin Elections Board when it voted unanimously to censure Republican bad boy Mark Block for illegal spending on Supreme Court Justice Wilcox’ campaign.