Investigation of fire at Menomonee Falls mansion continues

Published on: 12/31/2009

State and federal investigators continue to examine the origins of the fire that destroyed a million-dollar mansion in Menomonee Falls last weekend, an official said Thursday.

State Fire Marshal Tina Virgil with the Wisconsin Department of Justice said investigators hoped to determine the cause in the next week.

"It is an ongoing investigation," she said. "We have made no determinations at this point."

The home was at the center of a high-profile Journal Sentinel investigation in August, detailing how the owner, Milwaukee child-care provider Latasha Jackson, amassed nearly $3 million in taxpayer funding, built the house and bought a Jaguar convertible while state and local officials ignored red flags that she was conning the Wisconsin Shares child-care program.

Virgil said investigators from the state as well as the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and local officials are investigating the blaze. It leveled the 7,600-square-foot home with an indoor basketball court and indoor swimming pool.

Virgil urged anyone with information about the fire to contact the state's anonymous arson tip line at (800) 362-3005.

The house had been for sale for several months, first at an asking price of about $1.5 million, and later for about $1.4 million, according to an online real estate listing.

Jackson is under criminal investigation for actions related to her child-care business, Kiddie Springs Child Development Center on W. Lancaster Ave. near 38th St. in Milwaukee.

The state revoked Jackson's license in August after regulators learned the Journal Sentinel was preparing to publish a report about her.