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SANTA MARIA 77 Fifth district supervisorial candidate William J. "B.J.// Wagener has been taken out of the running for violating his probation in connection with an arrest warrant in Wisconsin.

The arrest warrant charges Wagener with violating the terms of his probation in connection with felony bail jumping. As a convicted felon on probation, the California Constitution prohibits him from running for office or even voting. Running for office violates his probation status.

Wagener, 57, was arrested Thursday afternoon at the Santa Barbara County Probation Department in Santa Maria, where he was called by a local probation officer. He is on probation from Wisconsin through Feb. 11, 2004. Supervision of his probation was moved to the local area from Wisconsin in 1998.

If returned to Wisconsin for violation of probation, Wagener could be required to serve 30 months in state prison there. An extradition hearing must first be held.

Wagener was booked about 4:30 p.m. into the Santa Barbara County Sheriff/s Jail on the no-bail warrant and later was transported to Santa Barbara.

He also is facing charges of failure to pay child support in connection with children he fathered outside of wedlock who live in Wisconsin.

The candidate, a libertarian, is an outspoken advocate of personal freedoms and less government and is producer and host of the ComCast cable Channel 22 TV political show, "On Second Thought." He is a former property manager and real estate salesman.

Wagener was convicted, after a jury trial, in January 1998 in the Kewaunee County Wisconsin Circuit Court. Although the reason for the conviction was not detailed in Wisconsin court records, Wagener was convicted and sentenced to six years probation on Feb. 11 of that year on two counts of felony bail jumping, after serving 27 days in jail.

The issue involved Theresa S. Choe, the mother of two of his children, and according to his own written words "my non-legal plural wife." They came together, court records show, when she was 18, and were united by a marriage contract he wrote himself, records show.

Wagener also has a legal wife and five children in Santa Maria.

Originally from Wisconsin, Choe returned with the children to her home area. Court records show Wagener owes nearly ,14,000 in child support to Choe.

He failed to appear for a Feb. 19, 2002, hearing in the Wisconsin court dealing with child support. His excuse to the court was that he had a serious illness. But the next day he played host to the state Libertarian convention in Santa Maria.

The Wisconsin court has been advised of these facts by Choe, according to Pam Brown, a local woman who is the adoptive mother of one of the sons of Carole and William Wagener.

Court records show that Wagener/s past has involved several of what he calls "non-legal" wives. For many years, Carole and William Wagener lived in a polygamous relationship that involved at least four other "wives" and seven children, according to evidence presented in a 1993 child support and custody case in a local court.

Wagener became embroiled in the battle when Choe sued for child support and custody. He filed for bankruptcy shortly after the case went to court.

In a written statement filed with the court, Wagener said he didn/t believe he should have to pay child support to Choe because she was using their children "as a meal ticket as she used me and Carole for eight years for fun and games and a free meal ticket."

Wagener ran in November 2000 for a seat on the Santa Maria City Council and then for the Santa Maria Public Airport Board.

Carole Wagener was a candidate for trustee of the Santa Maria-Bonita School District in November 2000.

They lost the elections.

In his campaign statement for supervisor Tuesday, Wagener said "Over 30 years of making my living outside the government payroll is what sets me apart from my opponents."

He added, "we need a citizen-worker, not bureaucrats in this elected position."

* Senior Staff Writer Karen White can be reached at (805) 739-2217 or by e-mail at kwhite@pulitzer.net.

March 1, 2002

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