Financial Issues in Town of Gordon, Wisconsin

Gordon, Wisc. — The Douglas County Sheriff’s office is investigating concerns about how some funds are being handled in the town of Gordon. A judge has agreed to issue subpeona’s in the effort to learn more about questions involving finances for a popular town event.

Joy Rogers was the treasurer of the committee that put together the annual Gordon Good Neighbor Days. At last year’s event on July 2nd, Rogers said she noticed that the fireworks show was not being set up.

She said when she contacted the fireworks company to find out why, she was told the contract had the date of the event as July 4th, not the 2nd. She says when she reviewed the contract it not only had the wrong date, but she noticed something else that concerned her.

Joy Rogers said, “When I went back and looked at the contract a little bit closer I noticed that the dollar amount for the fireworks is not traditionally what’s spent on fireworks, it was significantly less.”
In investigating further, Rogers said questions also came up about how funds were handled the previous year. So according to court documents, a few weeks after this year’s event, she contacted the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office “…to report what she felt was a lack of transparency and information sharing regarding the financial aspects of GGND on the part of Town Officials…”

Court records show that Rogers also told investigators that when money from the previous year’s event was deposited in the bank by a town official, the teller noted that the deposit included no ones, fives or tens, and that the count was off.

Documents say Rogers told investigators the Neighbor Days volunteer committee had been unsuccessful for months in trying to get financial information. At an August Town Board meeting, Rogers said “she felt like she was being stonewalled…and that the Board was indifferent.” Later, the entire volunteer committee resigned.

Rogers said these issues, along with differences she found in accounting for some other years, is the reason she took her concerns to the Sheriff’s Office.

February 10th, Judge Kelly Thimm signed an order saying probable cause did exist to order a subpoena. Last Friday, officers from the Sheriff’s department were seen leaving the Gordon Town Hall with boxes.

Rogers says she is hopeful the town will make changes to its oversight role and its money handling systems. “I hope that there’s clarity and they cooperate in the investigation in getting answers because I think the community deserves that.”

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