Jon Ehr, a former Milwaukee restaurant/bar owner, adamantly repeated on Wednesday night that he personally witnessed Janet Protasiewicz physically abuse her elderly husband and heard Protasiewicz use racial slurs in a “derogatory” fashion about Blacks and Hispanics, including the “N word.”
Listen to Ehr’s full Wednesday interview here:
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel confirmed on Wednesday that Ehr, a self-described liberal who used to own the Ardmore on the Marquette campus, also told the newspaper’s reporters that Protasiewicz pushed her former husband, retired Milwaukee County Judge Patrick J. Madden.
Madden’s son, Michael Madden, also told both WRN and the Journal Sentinel that he saw Protasiewicz physically assault his dad and heard her use the “N word.”
That means that the state’s largest newspaper has confirmed our reporting – that two men, Ehr and Michael Madden, say they saw Protasiewicz physically abuse the judge.
However, the Journal Sentinel did not tell readers that Ehr is also accusing Protasiewicz of using racial slurs.
“Did you hear Janet Protasiewicz say racial slurs?” we asked Ehr on Wednesday night, March 22, 2023.
“Did I hear Janet say racial slurs? Yes. I heard her say the ‘N word,’ and I heard her say ‘beaner.'” Ehr then spelled out the “N word.”
Protasiewicz has avoided discussing Ehr by name. She told the Wisconsin Law Journal, “These claims are completely false, devoid of proof and are only being made by a bitter, discredited, drug-dealing felon who will say anything to get attention,” referring to Michael Madden, her former stepson, who has a drug dealing history dating to the 1980s and early 1990s, but nothing since. [We also have 4 other sources who say that either Michael or Judge Madden told them about the physical abuse allegations years ago.]
However, both men say they saw injuries on the 70-year-old Judge Madden’s face that Judge Madden said were caused by Protasiewicz, then 34. The allegations center around a time period in 1997 when Protasiewicz, then a prosecutor, was married for nine months to the elderly judge.
However, Ehr told Wisconsin Right Now on Wednesday night that Wisconsin Law Journal reporter Steve Schuster lied when he reported that Ehr did not tell Schuster that he observed the physical abuse. Ehr said Schuster did not ask him about the racial slurs at all, which surprised him.
We had previously reported on Ehr’s allegations, but we contacted him again because of a factual error-riddled story posted by the Wisconsin Law Journal on Wednesday night and a bizarrely hostile interview by the publication’s Managing Editor Steve Schuster.
In a story riddled with serious factual errors, Schuster claimed that he reached out to three sources provided by Wisconsin Right Now (Protasiewicz’s former stepsons Michael and Mark Madden and Ehr.) Schuster wrote that only Michael Madden said he had “observed the allegations.” This surprised us because Ehr was so firm with us (and is on audio) in two previous interviews, and he also told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that he saw Protasiewicz push Judge Madden.
So we called him up again and asked him about it.
Specifically, we asked Ehr, 65, what he told Schuster about the allegations.
“I told him what I remember seeing. I can see it very clearly, them sitting on the couch. Her giving him a big whack on the chest with her arm because he said something or did something that he didn’t like. I think Judge was actually reading a book at the time, and she gave him a big whack.”
“There was another time that they were standing on a slate area in their home, and she was rushing to get out of the house for some reason and pushing him and shoving him in a way you shouldn’t be pushing and shoving a 70-year-old man. And he would say, ‘Hey wait, stop pushing me; you’re going to make me fall,'” said Ehr.
We asked Ehr: “Did you tell Steve Schuster that you saw Judge Madden physically abused by Janet Protasiewicz?”
“I did say that, yes. Yes, I did,” Ehr told us.
We asked Ehr whether he believed “this was physical abuse; that it crossed a line?”
“I definitely do, yes,” he said, adding, “Another time, I saw physical abuse on Judge Madden’s body. I stopped over at Judge Madden’s house.” He said he was with his father, a now-deceased Milwaukee attorney who had known Judge Madden for years.
“My dad noticed the redness on his cheek and near his ear and his neck, and he commented to the judge, ‘What happened judge; did you trip and fall?’ and he said, ‘Oh no, that’s her. She did that.’ My dad said, ‘Who?’ He said, ‘Janet. She was drinking and gave me a good whack.’ He said, ‘Tom (Ehr’s dad), I’m in a bad way. Tom, I’ve witnessed this stuff all my life in courts, and now I’m involved in it personally. I really just don’t know what to do.'”
Continued Ehr: “I am sure they talked about it the following day. He was very upset about it all, Judge Madden, and my father was as well. And my father told my mother and we spoke about it several times.”
Ehr said that Schuster did not ask him about the injuries to Madden’s face. “He didn’t bother to go down that route with me; he was very short. I asked him, ‘Are you going to ask me some questions?’ and he asked if I was getting paid. He asked if I was a close friend of Mike’s and how I knew Mike.”
We asked, “To be clear, did anyone pay you?”
“Never, no,” Ehr responded.
“Did anyone pressure you?” we asked.
“Nope. No one pressured me, no,” said Ehr.
We told Ehr that Schuster told WRN on Wednesday night that Ehr did not say anything about seeing physical abuse to him.
“He’s lying because I did tell him about the physical, and he never asked me about the racial,” Ehr said. “I didn’t bring it up. I was expecting him to ask me questions. It’s his interview. I don’t know why he didn’t ask me about the racial slurs, but he didn’t.”
Ehr repeated that Schuster would be lying if he said that Ehr did not tell him about the alleged physical abuse.
He confirmed he spoke with Corri Hess of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Since the newspaper did not mention Ehr in relation to the racial slur allegations at all, we asked Ehr whether Hess asked him about the racial slurs.
He had trouble remembering whether or not she had.
As for the racial slurs, we asked where he was when he allegedly heard those things. “I was in the dining room, at the south end.” He said he was “no more than 15 feet way.” He says he doesn’t remember the context of the conversation, but he did remember the tone.
“Well, that time she used the ‘N word,’ I think twice and the beaner once.” He said she wasn’t cordial toward him because he was friends with Michael Madden. He said that was “really strange.”
“However, do you remember the tone? Do you think she was being negative or derogatory toward Blacks and Hispanics?” we asked.
“Oh yeah, I do,” he said. He said it was “like she was fed up or mad or something.”
“So again, what would you say the tone was?” we asked.
“Derogatory,” he said.