The former executive director of the Midwest Horse Fair is facing multiple felony charges after being accused of redirecting more than $200,000 of the organization’s funds to her personal use.
Rhonda Reese was the executive director of the fair, which is operated by the Wisconsin Horse Council, when discrepancies in the event’s financial records were initially discovered in the spring of 2017, according to a written statement provided by Megan Hanuszczak, the fair’s current executive director.
“After further review, a large misappropriation of funds was discovered, and the amount is estimated at $238,000,” the statement said.
Reese, who had served as executive director since 2007, was immediately fired and administrators reported the financial discrepancies to law enforcement authorities.
A subsequent investigation by the Columbus, Wisconsin, Police Department revealed that Reese had allegedly used fair funds to pay her college tuition, as well as purchase jewelry and other personal items. Acting on a warrant police arrested Reese in December 2017 during a traffic stop.
Lieutenant Dennis Weiner said Reese was charged with 61 counts of felony theft and writing false checks. She was released on a signature bond, he said.
She was unavailable for comment.
Reese appeared in Columbia County Circuit Court on Jan. 31 where her signature bond was continued. Her next court appearance is slated for April 6.