Green Bay Wisconsin -- Today I had the opportunity to speak to Rachel Gerritsen, the former wife of David VanderLeest. VanderLeest is challenging Senator Dave Hansen in the 30th district recall election. I spoke to Rachel by phone and you can listen to the audio of the interview here. Below you can read the transcript. Rachel states that she is still living in fear of VanderLeest. Despite this Rachel was brave enough to set the record right by telling her side of the story.
Significant information came to light in this interview. Rachel countered the claim made by VanderLeest in many press statements that she willingly and freely recanted the domestic violence statement included in the police records. Rachel claims that VanderLeest wrote the statements and she signed them “to get back to my son”. Although Rachel didn't directly say, if you listen to her words carefully, it appears her son has been used as a pawn in an abusive game that VanderLeest has been playing for years.
Rachel also spoke of VanderLeest’s inability to handle his own finances, his inability to pay his taxes or to provide adequately for her son by buying him basics like shoes or even by providing a stove in his apartment so he is able to cook his son dinner.
When asked late last week by Politiscoop, VanderLeest claimed that he had no idea what the “Oconto Investigation” of him was about. Rachel however tells us that there has been a police report filed for child abuse against VanderLeest and that he is aware of it even though he has not yet been formally charged.
After we concluded the interview, I followed up with the Oconto Sheriff's department and inquired about the case status that Rachel referred to and was told the case is not closed and that charges could be pending. This may be an interesting twist to the Senate race. Can a candidate campaign from behind bars?
Politiscoop - How long were you and David married?
Rachel – 3 years
Politiscoop – You two had a son together. How do you feel about him using your son in the political ads for his Senate campaign?
Rachel – I think it should be absolutely separate, that whatever he is dealing with is his and my boy is only 7 years old and that should be his little childhood life. Not a political life, that’s how I feel.
Politiscoop – I know this is a hard subject, but he claims you recanted on the domestic abuse issue, is that true?
Rachel – Well I recanted, only to get back to my son.
Politiscoop – So this paper that he handed me in his interview from Marshfield, WI, I don’t see a date on it, but did you write that statement or did he?
Rachel – David wrote the statement and the only reason why I signed it was to move back to Green Bay to be closer to my son that is the absolute truth.
Politiscoop – Do you still feel threatened by David?
Rachel – Yes – especially after I give this interview.
Politiscoop – I appreciate your bravery, it is not often that people speak out against somebody that’s harmed them in that way so you’re a very brave woman, thank you. Recently we heard of an investigation in Oconto, of David VanderLeest. Any idea what that’s about?
Rachel – That has to have involved some abuse towards his son, but I really can’t give any more information on that but, I do have the police report, I do have proof of that but I can’t put it out there because it involves my son.
Politiscoop – I totally understand that, so when David claimed in an interview with me that he knows nothing about it and he has never been contacted that would be a lie?
Rachel – Well actually I don’t think he was ever served or anything like that but he does know what it was about obviously I mean, he definitely knows what it was about but he was never served, I guess is a word for it.
Politiscoop – Do you feel that David VanderLeest is fit to hold office, if not why?
Rachel – Absolutely not. Because he can’t even pay his own rent, his own taxes, or anything like that so how he thinks he can hold office, I just don’t even understand it. I mean even if you look at his clothes it doesn’t even look like they’re fit to be tied. Let’s put it that way.
Politiscoop – so he has problems with his own finances and he doesn’t have any business handling the peoples of Wisconsin finances basically.
Rachel – yeah.
Politiscoop: Do you know anything about how he lives? I understand he has custody of your son?
Rachel: No, he doesn’t have custody or my son. He has primary placement of my son which means that is my son’s address, but we have 50/50 custody, so that’s a lie.
Politiscoop: Oh, okay -- that is what he stated in his interview.
Rachel: Well he said primary placement which people think, but it is not. I have 50% custody of my son.
Politiscoop: Okay Great. That is something that he failed to disclose last time we spoke. Is there anything about your ex-husband that we don’t know, that we should know?
Rachel: I think they pretty much dug up everything that needed out. The taxes and … I don’t know that building that he lives in.
Politiscoop: And that building that he lives in and I was unaware until yesterday that he has tax issues.
Rachel: Well, I was too.
Politiscoop: Is he providing for your son?
Politiscoop: Not at all.
Politiscoop: Rachel, this is your time to tell your side of the story and you have answered these questions . . . and I commend you for that. Is there anything else you would like to say?
Rachel: Well, I would just like to say that I definitely do not think that he should be in office because he can’t even buy shoes for my son or anything else and I he doesn’t even have a stove for my son in his own apartment building.
Politiscoop: Oh my Goodness.
Rachel: The apartment building that he does not pay taxes on, so that is my statement.
Politiscoop: Rachel, I really appreciate you doing this interview today. I do wish you the best and we’ll all pray for your safety. Thank you very much.
Rachel: Thank you. And you have a good day.
Politiscoop: You too.