Marilyn Writes

Marilyn MacGruder Barnewall began her career as a journalist with the Wyoming Eagle in Cheyenne. During her 20 year banking career, she wrote extensively for The American Banker, Bank Marketing Magazine, Trust Marketing Magazine, and other major industry publications. The American Bankers Association (ABA) published Barnewall’s Profitable Private Banking: the Complete Blueprint, in 1987. She taught private banking at Colorado University for the ABA and trained private bankers in Singapore.

Friday, August 02, 2013


·  Wisconsin appointee Kevin Kavanaugh (R) was arrested for embezzling $42,000 from a veterans benefit organization called Operation Freedom. Kavanaugh had been appointed to run the organization by Republican Scott Walker who was Milwaukee County Executive at the time. Four others were arrested and sentenced as well.[174][175]

By Brendan O'Brien

MILWAUKEE, Oct 12 (Reuters) - A former aide to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker was convicted on Friday of stealing money from a fund for families of U.S. soldiers who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan.

A jury in Milwaukee County Circuit Court found Kevin Kavanaugh guilty of embezzling more than $42,000 from Operation Freedom, a military appreciation event held each year at the Milwaukee County Zoo.

Kavanaugh, who worked for Walker when the first-term Republican governor served as Milwaukee County executive, faces up to 10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine. Sentencing is expected on Dec. 7.

Kavanaugh, 62, was the treasurer of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, a charity involved in Operation Freedom, from 2006 to 2009. Walker appointed him to serve on the Milwaukee County Veteran Service Commission during Walker's term as Milwaukee County executive.

Walker originally ran the Operation Freedom event through his county office. It was later turned over to the Purple Heart organization after Walker received legal advice the event should be handled by a charitable organization.

The investigation began when Tom Nardelli, Walker's chief of staff in Milwaukee, voiced concerns about how funds for the event were being handled. Tim Russell, another close Walker aide, also was implicated in the investigation.

Russell is accused of diverting more than $21,000 to his personal bank account and using some of the money to go on Hawaiian and Caribbean vacations. He is scheduled to go to trial in December.

The investigation is part of a wider probe into Walker's county executive office. Walker, who was county executive from 2002 to 2010, has not been charged in the investigation.

On Thursday, Kelly Rindfleisch, who was Walker's deputy chief of staff, pleaded guilty to felony misconduct in public office, a charge that grew out of the investigation into the funds missing from Operation Freedom. Rindfleisch admitted she did campaign work for Republicans while she was on the clock in Walker's office working for the taxpayers of Milwaukee County.

Walker had been subpoenaed to testify during Rindfleisch's jury trial. (Editing by James B. Kelleher and Bill Trott)

How Kevin Kavanaugh – a Scott Walker Appointee – is Alleged to have Stolen Money from Children of Wis Servicemen Killed in War

September 9, 2012 at 4:51pm
In fall 2006, The Thomas J. Rolfs Foundation – a charitable fund – made a generous donation to the Wisconsin Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH).  The foundation donated $20,000 for children of Wisconsin service members killed in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
 Kevin Kavanaugh, a Walker appointee to a Milwaukee County Veterans Service Board, was treasurer for the Wisconsin MOPH and was in charge of disbursing funds.
 In late ’06, Kavanaugh received a list of Wisconsin servicemen killed in the war.  In all there were 30 children on this list.  Shortly after, Kavanaugh began disbursing funds - $600 per child – by checks made out directly to the families
 The funds trickled out at first with apparently legitimate payments made to one child in December ’06 ($600), to three children in Jan ’07 ($1800), to three children in Feb ’07 ($1800), to two children in April ’07 ($1200), and to two children in May ’07 ($1200).
 And then things changed.  Beginning with the summer of 2007, Kavanaugh started making out checks to “CASH” instead of directly to families.  Checks were made out in multiples of $600 and had notations such as “2 kids OIF/OEF” or “1 child”.  That summer and fall, checks were made out to “CASH” in amounts  suggesting they were for 2 children in July, 2 children in August, one child in September, one child in October, two children in November of ‘07.  In addition to these claimed fictitious payments, three more apparently legitimate payments were made to children in October '07.  After the fall of ‘07, the "legitimate" payments stopped and only checks to "CASH" were made out.  These continued through 2008 and 2009.  In all, checks recorded for “legitimate” payments – that is, checks made out directly to families – totaled $8,400 while checks made out to "CASH", and that the D.A. claims was stolen by Kavanaugh, total $9,600.
 Kavanaugh has pled not guilty to the charges and through his lawyer has claimed that he made payments to families in cash.  However, according to the D.A.’s complaint, the families on Kavanaugh’s list were contacted by the D.A. and only the families who had received the gifts by check reported receiving them, no families reported receiving any cash gifts from Kavanaugh or MOPH.
 Kavanaugh’s theft came to light during investigations made by the Milwaukee County D.A.’s office into what happened to funds intended for Operation Freedom.  These investigations were part of the secret “John Doe” investigation initiated by the D.A.’s office in May, 2010.
 The money from the Rolfs Foundation is only a fraction of the moneys allegedly embezzled by Kavanaugh.  In all, Kavanaugh is accused of embezzling over $42,000 from funds meant for veterans or their families.
 Kevin Kavanaugh’s trial is scheduled for October 8, 2012.

Ex-Walker appointee convicted of stealing $51,000 from veterans

Kevin Kavanaugh skimmed Purple Heart funds, jury finds

By Steve Schultze of the Journal Sentinel
Oct. 12, 2012

Kevin Kavanaugh
A Milwaukee County jury Friday convicted Kevin Kavanaugh of stealing more than $51,000 from money donated to help veterans and their families.
Prosecutors said the 62-year-old Kavanaugh had skimmed the money from bank deposits and phony withdrawals from accounts for the local chapter of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, a veterans service organization.
Kavanaugh, of Cudahy, was treasurer of the group.
He didn't testify at the trial and said nothing following the verdict. Sentencing on the felony conviction was sent for Dec. 7. Kavanaugh, who had no prior criminal record, faces up to 10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine.
Kavanaugh's attorney Christopher Hartley said circumstantial evidence in the form of many checks Kavanaugh cashed from Purple Heart funds were difficult to overcome with jurors. No direct evidence was presented showing that Kavanaugh spent the missing money or salted it away for himself, Hartley said.
He argued to jurors that Kavanaugh regularly gave money - a few hundred dollars at a time - to needy veterans.
The biggest source of money Kavanaugh was accused of tapping was donations made for Operation Freedom, an annual picnic and veterans event at the zoo that Gov. Scott Walker hosted while he was Milwaukee County executive. In 2006, Walker's county office arranged to have the Operation Freedom donations and expenses run through the Purple Heart chapter after being advised by county lawyers to have a separate nonprofit handle the books rather than continue to have Walker aides do so.
Kavanaugh, who also worked as a counselor at the Zablocki Veterans Administration Medical Center, had been named by Walker to the county Veterans Service Commission.
Prosecutors said Kavanaugh went to elaborate lengths to conceal his transactions and had witnesses testify they never received money purportedly donated to them, as listed in his Purple Heart records.
"Why did he falsify the check stubs" to say money was going to children of veterans killed in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, asked Assistant District Attorney Hanna Kolberg in her closing argument to jurors. "Why did he refuse to open his books when asked" by a Purple Heart auditor, Walker's chief of staff at the county and others, she said. "Why did he purposely commingle" the Purple Heart money with his money?
"Because the defendant is a thief," Kolberg told jurors.
Hartley said Kavanaugh was just a terrible bookkeeper.
"Where is the proof?" he asked. Kavanaugh "is not on trial for being a very bad bookkeeper."
Tom Nardelli, Walker's chief of staff at the county, testified against Kavanaugh, saying he had made repeated attempts to meet with Kavanaugh after being told there was some $11,000 missing from 2006 Operation Freedom funds. Those meetings always fell through, Nardelli said.
Nardelli said he went to Walker with concerns about the missing money in 2009, and Walker told him to report it to the district attorney's office. That led to a secret John Doe investigation, later broadened to other issues.
It was the second conviction from cases that grew from that probe this week. Former Walker aide Kelly Rindfleisch pleaded guilty Thursday to felony misconduct in office for doing campaign work while at her taxpayer-paid county job as Walker's deputy chief of staff.

Scott Walker Case File: Kevin Kavanaugh

Positions Held: Scott Walker's political appointee to a Veterans Commission
Charges: One count of theft (value exceeding $10,000), a Class H Felony punishable by not more than $25,000 and/or up to 10 years in prison. Three counts of fraudulent writings, each count is a Class H felony punishable by not more than $10,000 and/or 6 years in prison.
Summary: Mr. Kavanaugh, Scott Walker's political appointee a Veterans Commission and close friend, faces several serious felony and misdemeanor for embezzling at least $42,232 from the Military Order of the Purple Heart between 2006 and 2009.
Mr. Kavanaugh allegedly took the money from donations that included more than $28,000 given by former state Rep. Mark Gundrum, who had donated his legislative salary to the group while serving on active military duty in Iraq. Mr. Kavanaugh is also alleged to have stolen money earmarked for  children of Wisconsin military service members killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The criminal complaint said he and his wife had credit card debt exceeding $40,000.
Control of Operation Freedom funds was transferred from the Military Order of the Purple Heart to the Cudwoth Legion Post in February 2009, a chapter of American Legion, a nationally recognized veterans organization.
In October of 2009, Scott Walker inexplicably ordered the transfer of $19,000 in Operation Freedom funds and financial control over his then Deputy Chief of Staff, Tim Russell who had no experience running a non-profit. Mr. Russell then allegedly stole thousands of dollars from Operation Freedom and used the money to pay for Caribbean and Hawaiian vacations and a political trip to Atlanta to meet with Herman Cain's presidential campaign.
Click here for the criminal complaint.

Walker untouched in latest John Doe charges in Wisconsin

By Admin  /   January 5, 2012  /   No Comments
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By M.D. Kittle | Wisconsin Reporter
MADISON — The secret John Doe investigation into former staff members of Gov. Scott Walker turned public Thursday, when the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office announced felony charges against three men.
Even though the suspects have ties to the governor, Walker has not been implicated in the year-and-a-half-old probe.
Walker, who served as Milwaukee County Executive before he was elected governor in 2010, said his office tipped off the DA about missing money in funds devoted to assisting veterans and their families, particularly the survivors of service members killed in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“I appreciate that the DA in the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office took those concerns seriously,” the governor said.
Charges: Stealing from vets
Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm on Thursday announced a litany of charges, including embezzlement from a veterans appreciation fund to child enticement.
Tim Russell, 48, who served as Walker’s deputy chief of staff when Walker was Milwaukee County executive, was charged with two felony counts and a separate misdemeanor count of embezzlement, according to the criminal complaint.

In 2009, Walker transferred control of Operation Freedom, the County Executive Office-sponsored event to honor veterans, to Russell’s corporation, Heritage Guard Preservation Society Inc., or HGPS.
Operation Freedom, held annually around the Fourth of July at the Milwaukee County Zoo, was funded through Milwaukee County employees and private individuals.
Russell, according to the complaint, transferred $20,000 from the HGPS-administered veterans fund into his personal account. He used the money, in part, to fund vacations to Hawaii and the Caribbean, and a political trip to Atlanta, reportedly to meet with former GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain, former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza.
Russell also is accused of stealing more than $3,000 from the campaign of Chris Kujawa, who unsuccessfully ran in a special election for a Milwaukee County board seat. Russell served on Kujawa’s campaign, with full control of the campaign funding account.
Kujawa, who had loaned his campaign $3,000, in late 2007 asked Russell to repay the loan with remaining campaign cash.
“For two years, Russell ignored Mr. Kujawa’s request for repayment of his loan,” the complaint states. “After Mr. Kujawa threatened to call then county executive, Scott Walker, Mr. Kujawa was repaid.”
Prosecutors, however, allege Russell tapped into the veterans fund to reimburse Kujawa.
Sexual allegations
Russell’s longtime domestic partner, Brian Piereck, 48, was charged with one count of child endangerment and another count of exposing his genitals for an alleged online sexual relationship he had with a 17-year-old male.
The juvenile testified that Piereck, who up until Thursday, according to reports, was employed as a staff member at the state Department of Public Instruction, contacted him through an ad on the website Craig’s List.

Wisconsin Reporter
Investigators, while searching the computer and electronic devices at the Sun Prairie home Russell shares with Piereck, found sexually explicit texts, chats and photographs, the complaint states.
Purple Heart charges
Kevin Kavanaugh, 61, of Cudahy, is charged with embezzling more than $42,000 in donations from the Military Order of the Purple Heart, or MOPH, an organization that provides support to families of service members killed or wounded in Iraq.
Kavanaugh, whom Walker appointed to the Milwaukee County Veteran Service Commission, served as finance officer for MOPH between 2006 and 2009.
Milwaukee County in August 2006 transferred Operation Freedom Funds to MOPH. Later that year, MOPH received a Thomas J. Rolfs Family Foundation donation of $20,000, earmarked for the children of Wisconsin military service members killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.
In June 2007, the Military Order of the Purple Heart Service Foundation Inc. cut a $7,000 check to MOPH to fund the National Veterans Wheelchair Games. And from February 2008 to November 2008, former state Sen. Mark Gundrum donated his legislative salary of $28,181.38 to MOPH for wounded military veterans.
Kavanaugh “skimmed cash (from the funds) when he deposited checks into the MOPH General Account,” the complaint states, and he would split deposit checks, depositing a portion of the check proceeds and taking the remainder as cash in hand.
“Second, defendant Kavanaugh wrote numerous checks to cash and pocketed the proceeds,” notes the complaint, adding that Kavanaugh falsified records to hide the theft.
At a news conference Thursday afternoon, Walker said he was disappointed with the actions of Kavanaugh and Russell, if the allegations are true.
He distanced himself from both suspects, saying he was not “extremely familiar” with Kavanaugh, that he knew him through the veterans programs in the past.
He noted Russell had worked in Milwaukee County for many years, but Walker did not mention Russell’s involvement in his past campaigns.
Asked what effect the latest charges in the lengthy investigation would mean to the recall campaign against him, the governor said anyone can try to “twist things.”
“But I think most people will realize it was my office (while Milwaukee County executive) that brought these questions to the District Attorney’s Office,” he said.
The probe, launched in May 2010, has trained on former Walker staffers, but the so-called “smoking gun” has yet to be found that would implicate the governor in any wrongdoing.
The investigation started not long after Darlene Wink quit her county job on Walker’s staff. She admitted to posting comments online in Journal Sentinel news stories and blogs praising Walker and criticizing his political opponents — on the county clock.
Authorities seized the computers of Russell and Wink, who worked with Russell on the Operation Freedom project, as well as material from the Madison home of Cindy Archer, a former top aide for Walker.
William Gardner, president and CEO of Wisconsin & Southern Railroad Co., to date is the only person convicted in the John Doe probe. He pleaded guilty in July on two felony counts of exceeding campaign contributions to Walker’s campaign for governor and campaign money laundering.
Walker’s opponents and pundits have said the investigation appears to be closing in on the governor.
Nothing in the latest charges or the previous allegations links Walker to any impropriety.
Bruce Landgraf, Milwaukee County assistant district attorney, said the office stands on the allegations in the complaints, and individuals may draw their own conclusions from the legal documents.
The John Doe investigation continues.
“It is not completed and is still subject to the secrecy order,” Landgraf said. “To comment beyond that would be inappropriate.”
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FBI/John Doe investigation expands as Walker is subpoenaed in Rindfleisch trial

Posted on by J
UPDATE: Kelly Rindfleisch, Walker’s deputy chief of staff when he was Milwaukee County executive, will plead guilty to a single felony count as part of a deal with prosecutors, according to a Settlement Agreement.
The John Doe investigation has taken another dark turn for Scott Walker. Walker’s deputy chief of staff when he was the Milwaukee County executive, Kelly Rindfleisch, has pleaded not guilty to four counts of misconduct in office. These felony charges carry a maximum combined penalty of $40,000 fine and six years in prison. It turns out that Scott Walker will not just be a witness but additional news of a subpoena for his testimony will be part of the trial, which begins on October 15.

MILWAUKEE (WKOW) — A subpoena for Governor Scott Walker’s testimony in an upcoming criminal trial of one of his former aides has been submitted to a Milwaukee County court.
Clerk Gina Barron for Judge David Hanscher tells 27 News the subpoena was submitted to the court Friday.
Barron says the subpoena documents show the subpoena was served on Walker’s attorney, Michael Steinle.
Steinle has yet to return a call from 27 News seeking comment.
Walker was previously identified by a prosecutor as a potential witness in the October 15 trial of Kelly Rindfleisch in Hanscher’s court.
Authorities say Rindfleisch committed misconduct by working on campaign activities in 2010, while at her government job as deputy chief of staff for Walker when Walker was Milwaukee County executive.
Authorities say Rindfleisch exchanged dozens of emails with others on behalf of the campaign of lieutenant governor candidate Brett Davis, who is now state medicaid director under Walker.
Authorities also say Rindfleisch used a secret email system, with records of emails unknown to county custodians of such records.
Rindfleish’s attorney, Franklyn Gimbel, and assistant Milwaukee County District Attorney Bruce Landgraf have yet to return calls from 27 News seeking comment on the subpoena served on Walker’s attorney for the governor’s court appearance to testify.
This story is developing and more news about what transpires will be available.
Meanwhile, another former Walker associate is going through trial procedures as well. Kevin Kavanugh faces charges where he embezzled thousands of dollars from veterans’ groups.
The trial for Kevin Kavanaugh begins Monday in Milwaukee. Jury selection is expected to take up a good part of the first day.
Kavanaugh, a former appointee of then Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker, is charged with one count of felony theft and four counts of felony fraud. Prosecutors say Kavanaugh embezzled $42,000 from veterans’ groups. He had been appointed to a veterans’ service post by Walker.
The charges against Kavanaugh stem from a secret John Doe investigation into activities that took place while Walker lead Milwaukee County government. The probe began in 2010 and has not yet concluded.
UPDATE on Kavanaugh:
MILWAUKEE, Oct 12 (Reuters) – A former aide to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker was convicted on Friday of stealing money from a fund for families of U.S. soldiers who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan.
A jury in Milwaukee County Circuit Court found Kevin Kavanaugh guilty of embezzling more than $42,000 from Operation Freedom, a military appreciation event held each year at the Milwaukee County Zoo.
Kavanaugh, who worked for Walker when the first-term Republican governor served as Milwaukee County executive, faces up to 10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine. Sentencing is expected on Dec. 7.
Kavanaugh, 62, was the treasurer of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, a charity involved in Operation Freedom, from 2006 to 2009. Walker appointed him to serve on the Milwaukee County Veteran Service Commission during Walker’s term as Milwaukee County executive.