Former alderman Michael McGee plans comeback

Posted at 7:29 PM, Jan 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-25 20:39:12-05

Former Milwaukee Alderman Michael McGee Jr. is planning a comeback.

He was once a powerful voice in the African American community, until he went to federal prison for breaking the law and the public's trust.

McGee talked one on one with TODAY'S TMJ4's Charles Benson about his past mistakes, and why he won't be silent in the future.

"I will be a proactive leader in the community," said McGee.

He has been out of federal prison for three years, but McGee has not been in the public eye until now.

"I have a passion, I'm called to be back in the community."

On February 1, McGee will return to City Hall for the first time since he was arrested in 2007. He launched a video to talk about the event to highlight what he sees as the city's economic injustice.

"'We Built This City' is the name of the movement, and we are going to claim this city as ours."

McGee made a name for himself prodding the powerful while in office. But in 2008, he was convicted in federal court of bribery and extortion, and sentenced to six and half years in prison.

"The Alderman McGee Jr. era is over," said Judge Sankovitz. "You were a star at one point, but your star has set."

"I have some remorse for how it all transpired," said McGee. "I have remorse for some of my personal failings."

Benson: Are you saying the ends justified the means?
McGee: At the time I did.
Benson: Did you learn anything from it?
McGee: I learned a lot. I believe that I wasn't suited for that type of position.

Friends at the Juice Kitchen on North Avenue encouraged McGee to get involved again. As a felon, he's prevented from running for his old job or state office, but his voting rights are restored.

Benson: So if people say after this interview 'I trusted him once, I don't know if I can trust him again?'
McGee: People trust me. I don't who you are speaking for, those people didn't trust me before.

McGee's three year federal supervision ended last Friday. He says that's why he's now getting active again.