This week WTCH Daily News in Shawano, Wisconsin, accused Samanta Roy Institute of Science and Technology, or SIST, of stealing power at two of their properties. The allegations originated with Brian Knapp, who is the General Manager at Shawano Municipal Utilities (SMU) and also works as the Shawano City Administrator.
Knapp started working at SMU in 2010 when Shawano’s former Mayor, Lorna Marquardt, was the SMU Commissioner. While hardly anybody picked up on the allegations at first, that all changed when Marquardt posted it on her Facebook page shortly after the article came out.
During her tenure as mayor, Marquardt did everything she could to bring SIST to its knees financially, simply because the President of SIST is from India, and he refused to convert to Christianity. One of the dirtiest and most damaging tricks she did to SIST over the years was to find ways to overcharge them for all of the utilities. She sent SMU workers repeatedly to change out all of the meters to ones that read multiple times what was actually being used. By changing meters endlessly they continuously manipulated utility readings and changed rates on the electricity used. As everyone knows, electricity is vital to the survival of any business. If SIST did not pay according to the utility company’s demands, they simply cut SIST off. No electricty, no business. In addition, SMU juggled accounts, rotated balances and extorted security deposits. If one property owed utilities, SMU would move the balance to another bill, or throw out ultimatums - If one property wasn’t paid, all would be disconnected. SIST representatives had a hell of a time keeping up with SMU’s games. By the time SIST could figure out what had been done to one property, SMU would already be screwing them over on the next one. It was a game of cat and mouse from the very first week Marquardt became the SMU Commissioner.
Interestingly enough, the only two SIST-owned properties that did not have their meters changed out in this manner were the ones listed in the WTCH Daily News article; one in the town of Wescott, and another near downtown Shawano. Both properties had been vacant for years, but SIST had kept the utilities on so the buildings would not freeze. Very few people even knew about the vacant properties, or that SIST even owned them, but Marquardt was one of the people who did know. Because of all the games that Lorna Marquardt has ordered SMU workers to play over the years, she would have been the one who sent someone to sabotage SIST property. That would be nothing new for her.
For those who do not understand how electric meters work, it is very difficult to bypass them. To do so is extremely dangerous, and requires special equipment that most people do not own. However, every SMU utility truck has the equipment on board to do the job. All Marquardt would have to do is tell a lineman to go and do her dirty work, and nobody would ever know.
In addition to interfering and causing problems with SIST’s lenders, calling for the destruction and/or theft of SIST’s properties, jacking tax rates, sending her police force to intimidate SIST personnel at gunpoint, ordering drive-by shootings and bombings at SIST properties, and jacking utility rates, we can now probably add a new one; ordering people to trespass on SIST property to bypass the meters in another attempt to make SIST appear as a criminal enterprise in the court of public opinion. Remember the “RedRum” scheme she came up with in 2008? The one where she planned to order the mass slaughter of everyone affiliated with SIST? This is just another one of those schemes, only not as deadly.