On April 11, 2022, an anonymous letter was received by the Kenosha County Human Resources director and assistant director. The letter stated:
“The Sheriff himself has personally ordered multiple supervisors to record hours in Telestaff knowing the employees did not work those hours. I repeat—Sheriff Beth has ordered several supervisors of the KSD to enter hours into Telestaff that were not worked, thus stealing from the County. When jail staff and jail supervisors were recently given raises, ARSs and employee Jamie Post did not receive raises. The Sheriff asked the board for raises for them but the board denied those raises. The Sheriff then ordered jail Operations Supervisors to log overtime hours for the ARSs and Jamie Post into Telestaff even though they did not work them. The Sheriff said each person is to receive at least 10 hours of unearned, unworked overtime per week. The Sheriff further ordered that nothing about this is to be put in writing. But looking at Telestaff and speaking with ARSs and supervisors will show this happened and is ongoing. CD Levin and CPT Miller were all involved in this scheme and Beth, Levin, and Miller all gave direct orders to different people to enter these unearned hours. Beth, Levin and Miller also ordered supervisors not to put anything in writing.”
This letter prompted the County to retain a law firm to investigate. Unsurprisingly, the County hired vonBriesen, the same law firm that found that Sheriff Beth and Kenosha County Board Members accepting thousands of dollars in free stuff from County Thunder wasn’t wrong.
During Covid-19, The Kenosha County Board approved bonuses for County employees. They ranged from $750 to $2,400. Funds for these bonuses came from the federal government’s American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA). You can view a list of each any every county employee that received a bonus and how much they received here. Sheriff Beth was upset that he and his daughter, a part-time, temporary employee of Brighton Dale Golf Course, didn’t get the bonuses. He was also upset that the jail booking clerks didn’t get the bonuses either. He was so upset, in fact, that he spoke at the December 12, 2021, County Board Meeting to discuss his disappointment. He said he thought it must have been a mistake or an oversight. He then told the board, “I’m going to be looking at coming in and asking to get this corrected [by the County Board] for next year.” This was the only way to get the bonuses for himself, his daughter and the booking clerks – through action from the County Board. After being the Sheriff for 20 years, he knows how the budget process works. Here is the video of him speaking to the Board:
Beth decided that he would give the bonuses to his booking clerks without permission from the board or County Executive, who has some authority to authorize expenditures up to $100,000. Beth, a life-long Democrat, saw the County Board turn red in April of 2022. He told investigators that it was not a “good time” to ask the County Board or County Exec for the authorization for the funds becuase of the recent election. Beth asked his office manager to start paying the booking clerks extra overtime hours that weren’t actually worked to make up for the bonuses they didn’t get. The Beth used funds from a budget line item for something other than what it was appropriated for. Prosecutors call that “misappropriation of funds.”
VonBriesen found that Beth did wrong, but incredibly, advised the County against seeking punishment against the Sheriff becuase “Sheriff Beth will not be running for office again after this current term expires.” They also say that punishing the Sheriff could “impact morale.” You can read the law firm’s entire investigation here.
The lawyers’ report was sent to the Milwaukee DA who gave Beth a free pass and did not prosecute him. KCE asked John Chisholm (D) why he gave the break to Beth and his executive assistant said the Milwaukee DA had “no comment.” His report detailing why he didn’t charge Beth can be read here.
Kenosha County Executive Samantha Kerkman released a statement saying in part “Going forward, controls are now in place so this cannot happen in the future.”