After an hour-long secret meeting behind closed doors, a Kenosha County Board Committee killed a resolution that would have given death benefits to a grieving and financially strained widow. Out of the six-member group, not one supervisor made a motion to pass the resolution sponsored by Board Member Zach Rodriguez. It therefore cannot be sent to the full board. Since there will be a new board in 60 days, the measure is dead.
Veteran Sheriff’s Department Corporal Christopher Basina worked for the department for 23 years. During an outbreak at the Kenosha County Detention Center, Basina contracted Covid-19, says his family’s attorney.
Basina was assigned to swab inmates noses to test them for the virus. Basina passed away on October 8, 2021. His Doctor, Roman Pyasta concluded that Basina contracted Covid-19 at work. The county hired an infectious disease expert to check Dr. Pyasta’s work. This expert asked the county for information to help him make his determination as to where Basina contracted the virus. According to Kevin Martin, the attorney for Basina’s widow Cheryl, the county refused to give the expert the information he requested, leaving him unable to give an opinion. The County then denied Mrs. Basina all benefits, which included health insurance, a monetary pay-out and funeral costs.
Attorney Martin told KCE that the Kenosha County Sheriff, David Beth (D) and Kenosha County Executive, Jim Kreuser (D) both have the authority under Wisconsin law to declare Basina’s death as occurring in the line of duty but both have refused to so for unknown reasons. Sheriff David Beth recently attended a County Board meeting, demanding that his daughter, who is a part-time seasonal employee receive a bonus, but didn’t want death benefits for one of his fellow officer’s wife.
Mrs. Basina told us “Sheriff David Beth also stated to me and my children at Christopher’s funeral that if there was anything that we needed that he would take care of us, ‘anything’. Several weeks later I spoke to Sheriff Beth on the phone asking if Christopher would be classified as dying in the line of duty he stated that he was not able to make that decision.”
After the meeting was opened back up to the public, the committee’s chairman, Jeff Gentz tried quickly to adjourn the meeting, but later let Basina’s daughter speak. “What more information are you looking for?” asked Becca Basina. “Our (lawyer) needs to talk to your (lawyer),” said Lawyer Joey Cardamone.
Mrs. Basina took issue with Cardamone’s comment. “What kind of attorney do they have that doesn’t even know what’s going on with the case? (The notice of claim) was filed in February,” she told KCE Thursday night. A ‘notice of claim’ is a legal document that usually proceeds a lawsuit.
Also in attendance were two of Basina’s children. Both shed tears as they waited to hear if their mother would get the help she needed to avoid bankruptcy.
With the stress, grief and financial hardships, Cheryl appeared unwavering in her mission to get help. She consoled her children and remained visibly strong and unshaken, even with Board Member Rodriguez’s initiative being defeated.
Mrs. Basina told KCE that the “(The County is) hoping I’ll get tired and give up.” She made it clear, one way or another, she will press forward. A retired Sheriff’s department officer that worked for Basina for almost two decades was in attendance showing his support told KCE. “There is no winning here.”
KCE spoke to many members of the Sheriff’s department who had wonderful things to say about him. It is expected that the Basina family will file s a lawsuit in the coming months.
County Executive Jim Kreuser and Sheriff David Beth will still not speak publicly about why they are adamant about saying “no” to the Basina family.