Former Columbus mayor pleads responsible to financial institution fraud

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COLUMBUS, Wis. — The former mayor of Columbus has pleaded guilty to bank fraud charges in federal court.

Michael Eisenga was accused of fraudulently obtaining a nearly $7 million loan for a grocery store development in Columbus.

“Unfortunately, it’s all true, your honor,” Eisenga, 49, told U.S. District Judge William Conley at a virtual plea hearing Thursday.

“What I did, your honor, was I created a fake lease showing that there was a lease between a third-party grocery chain and the LLC that owned the grocery store building,” Eisenga said. “And I used that to obtain financing from Alliant Credit Union. I knew at the time that I did that that the lease was a false lease and that I did not, in fact, have a lease with that grocery store chain.”

According to an indictment, Eisenga claimed to Alliant that the grocery store property was under lease to Festival Foods, and that the lease was guaranteed by Supervalu Holdings Inc. But neither was true.

Alliant told investigators it would not have issued the loan to Eisenga without the lease and the guarantee, the State Journa l reported.

Eisenga faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine. He remains free pending a sentencing hearing set for June 23.

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