By Shereen Siewert | Wausau Pilot & Review

At the same time a private company was applying for a massive lead service line partnership in Wausau, its CEO was fighting a lawsuit alleging he and others violated the Rhode Island Uniform Trade Secrets Act, breached his fiduciary duty, stole confidential and proprietary information, and sent a “ransom note” for an $8 million payment to his former company, court records show.

Allegations outlined in the now-dismissed lawsuit were never disclosed to city staff or to the City Council, which unanimously approved awarding the project to Community Infrastructure Partners (CIP), the only company to submit a proposal for the estimated $80 million effort. Under Wausau’s process, CIP was not required to make such a disclosure or even specify the name of its parent company. Those details – and financial implications of the deal – emerged only after the City Council already approved the partnership.