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Stodola Motions To Dismiss Charges Denied


Motions to dismiss felony theft by contractor charges against Gerald Stodola, 58,  of Minocqua who was contracted to work on the St. German Chamber of Commerce facility were denied in Vilas County court Wednesday by Judge Neal Nielsen, III, who continued the case setting a preliminary hearing September 18 to determine probable cause for the complaint.

Court documents indicate Stodola, doing business as Stodola Contracting, signed a fixed price contract June, 2018 for over $94,000 with the allegation in court he used funds somewhere else than the chamber building but his defense attorney Ben Lucareli said the complaint “doesn't show where the other job was” and the complaint “does not contain enough information that the money went elsewhere.”

Judge Nielsen felt defense arguments were providing evidence of a possible defense “and does not relate to the evidence of the complaint,” wondering what his role was. Assistant Vilas County district attorney Scott Niemi argued he didn't see any omitted facts or misstatements in the criminal complaint but Lucareli argued the complaint should have “identified what was paid to whom and what the money was used for,” and asked how did the state write a complaint without this information?

Niemi countered the charges will ultimately come down “not to how much of a theft took place but if a theft took place.”

Judge Nielson agreed saying when he denied the motions to dismiss “the complaint does provide sufficient notice of the charges and (we'll) set the matter for a preliminary hearing to show if there is probable cause for the complaint.” A preliminary hearing was set for September 18 starting at 8:30 am with a state witness allowed to testify by phone.

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