Expensive hotels? Fancy meals? Golfing? Christmas gifts for deputies? If you ever donated money to the Kenosha County D.A.R.E. program, you probably never thought your money would fund luxuries for Deputy friendly Ray Rowe and his friends. You probably thought the money would go toward helping keep Kenosha’s youth off drugs. Maybe to help lower Kenosha’s record crime numbers. When one donates to D.A.R.E., they are told it goes to D.A.R.E and Deputy Friendly, not a slush fund, as some are alleging.
This past Wednesday, August 3, 2022, The County Board’s Judiciary and Law Committee Chaired by Supervisor Zach Rodriguez had some tough questions for the Sheriff’s Department Fiscal Manager Angela Khabbaz. Khabbaz, a Democrat who has her preferred pronouns of she/her prominently displayed on her social media accounts, was combative and defensive with the elected leaders from the beginning of the meeting. She was obviously coached by the Sheriff before the meeting on how to answer the questions. Most of the questions asked Wednesday night, however she couldn’t answer.
Accounting for the last several years obtained by KCE shows a history of lavish spending of the D.A.R.E dollars by Deputy Friendly Raw Rowe, who is on the ballot next Tuesday to be our next Sheriff.
Rowe gave $7,500 of the D.A.R.E. dollars to a local non-profit, called the Kenosha Concerned Citizens Coalition. Khabbaz wasn’t able to tell the local leaders what this organization spent all the money on, but she did tell them that Ray Rowe and Sheriff Beth are on the board. The non-profit hasn’t filed their annual form 990 in years so there is no way for the public to know how they are spending the money, or really even what the organization does. The Coalition hasn’t updated its website in years and there is nothing on the Facebook page. The only online presence is a fundraiser Dave Beth promoted at Stage Stop.
The accounting records also show thousands being spent on fancy meals and expensive hotels. Rowe and a co-worker even stayed at a hotel in Lake Geneva, about a 45 minute drive from Kenosha County. From the amount that was spent on meals, they likely dined in style.
For Christmas last year, Rowe gave Sheriff Beth permission to use almost $5,000 of the D.A.R.E. money to purchase expensive coolers for the entire sworn staff at the Sheriff’s department. While the Deputies deserve a gift, many contend there is plenty of money in the Sheriff’s budget to buy gifts and the D.A.R.E. money shouldn’t be misappropriated.
Close to $20,000 was spent at the annual D.A.R.E. outing at Twin Lakes Country Club owned by business mogul Chad Cantwell. He also donated more than $3,000 to Rowe’s campaign. He paid too much, in fact, that he had to be refunded some money.
We didn’t hear back from Rowe or Sheriff Beth when contacted Friday evening. The primary is this coming Tuesday, August 9, 2022. The committee is expected to hold future meetings to probe the suspicious expenses.