Milwaukee alderwoman removed, enters pleas to misconduct

MILWAUKEE (AP) — A Milwaukee alderwoman was removed from office Monday after she was convicted in Milwaukee County Circuit Court of two felonies related to her conduct in office.

Chantia Lewis pleaded no contest to accepting an illegal campaign finance disbursement and entered a guilty plea to misconduct in office.

Three other counts, including two felonies and a misdemeanor, were dismissed, but could be considered at sentencing on Aug. 25.

Lewis, 42, represented Milwaukee’s northwest aldermanic district. She was first elected to the Common Council in 2016 and was re-elected in April 2020 without a challenger. She joined a crowded field of Democrats in announcing her candidacy for U.S. Senate in 2021.

Lewis appeared remotely in court Monday because she had symptoms of COVID-19, her attorney Michael Chernin said.

Prosecutors said she took $21,666 in campaign funds and false travel reimbursements from the city between 2016 and 2020, the Journal Sentinel reported.

The criminal complaint stated that she used campaign funds for family trips and basic personal expenses such as car and credit card bills, filled for reimbursement from the city for travel expenses that she had actually paid out of her campaign account and violated campaign finance laws, including by structuring a campaign contribution to avoid the limits.

Her removal leaves three of the 15 council seats empty in Milwaukee. Cavalier Johnson left his seat after he was elected mayor earlier this year and Nik Kovac left the council to become Johnson’s budget director.