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Gateway College Caught Spending Tens of Thousands Of Tax Dollars On “Fancy Charcuterie”

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Gateway Technical College President Ritu Raju (D)
(Gateway Website)

Charcuterie boards are the new cool thing. Charcuterie boards display inexpensive food, but with style, often arranged aesthetically with color. They usually contain preserved meats, cheeses, crackers and fruit. They are very expensive and can be less practical than calling a local caterer. Charcuteries focus on presentation and beauty, but not sound economics.

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Should the government spend the extra money for retirement parties, events, and other occasions? One Kenosha man doesn’t think so.

KEC received a tip to check out the Facebook page of a specific charcuterie company. According to the Wisconsin State Department of Financial Institutions, the company was founded in 2020 by a now-37-year-old Kenosha woman. She raised over $10,000 on Kickstarter, a site where you can crowdfund a business startup We searched the page for Gateway college and found many events in which Gateway hired the expensive company to bring in the boards. The man who tipped us off certainly isn’t blaming the business owner. In fact, according to people we’ve spoken to, she does a wonderful job and works very hard. The beef isn’t with the company. The beef is with the government using our tax dollars to spend money on something that isn’t needed. Even if food is necessary for the public college at certain events, should it be gourmet and expensive? Our tipster says “no.”

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KCE asked the college, under the Wisconsin Public Records Law for the last year and a half of invoices paid to the company. We were very surprised to see about $18,348 was spent since last May – $790 of that was just for tips for the owner/operator of the business.

$4,520 “Breakfast Graze”
(Facebook)

On such event from late August was a “Breakfast Graze.” It came with a price tag of $4,520, including a generous $150 tip. In fact the charcuterie board company has been at Gateway at least nine times in since last May:

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May/2022 $3,285
July/2022 $1,270
January/2023 $1,418
April/2023 $5,765
July/2023 $1,800
August/2023 $4,520
September/2023 $UNKNOWN, No Invoice Yet

KCE reached out to Gateway President Ritu Rajur, but she didn’t respond, and we don’t expect her too. We also reached out to Rebecca Metoska-Mentink, the president of the board of trustees. She never responds to requests from the media. She takes a “back-seat” approach to running the board and believes it is her job to have no oversight of the college and let the president do whatever he/she wants.

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Do you think this is a wise use of tax dollars? Let us know in the comments.

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75 Responses

    1. I am in no way defending these expenses. However, it is NOT for the “children.” Gateway teaches adults. There may be a small number of high school kids, but certainly not enough to claim sarcastically that it is for the children. It is actually an expensive artsy spread that feeds both the hunger and the egos of these Gateway officials. Call it what it is.

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      1. These most likely were for staff overall and not students. I taught there for many years and staff in-services often provided food. What is sad, Gateway has a culinary program as do our high schools. All are capable of this type of production. Other local caters, businesses have been used for catering also, not just the Charcuterie. However with enrollment down, I would think fiscal spending would be less extravagant. What would be more interesting, how much food was tossed and wasted. Yes, the board chairperson and the entire board should be holding the college to a tighter budget and line items lke entertainment, catering should be minimized if not eliminated.

    2. Pretty sure “the children” didn’t even get a bite of this amazing expensive spread of food! Well, unless you consider “the children” the immature, irresponsible adults that run Gateway College! So,really then, I guess it was for “the children” after all! ?

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    1. This place spends tons on food. When I was a student there were events with food nearly every week. There were messages about events focused on food and employees spent a ton of their work day attending these events. I’m not sure how anything ever got done there. Kevin should request all food expenditures and an accounting of employee hours at events. It’ll be astounding I’m positive of that. All this is really to benefit their overpaid employees because I never saw but a handful of students at most of these events. But they’ll have a drag show this month and I’m sure he/she/it wasn’t free.

      What a waste of money. Someone should be held accountable.

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  1. So Gateway does not have any food prep type programs where students could not gain experience catering these events for Liberal royalty?

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  2. Our household had been taking a real beating paying for groceries and looking at those pics of food we can’t afford feeding Gateway elites really pisses a person off.

    Wonder what other luxuries these people are enjoying on the backs of taxpayers?

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  3. It’s not their money to spend! The audacity of these government & public entities spending money irresponsibly and the laziness of the taxpayers to not merely peruse the expenditures. We really need to step up and hold these offices accountable or at least keep an eye on them. Maybe they’ll be more thrifty with our money.

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    1. Yep! If we want change we need to vote those people out! It all starts locally and goes up from there! So many things need to change with local schools, colleges and Gov’t officials around here! Hold them accountable and make them have consequences for their actions! Speaking of consequences, anything on Steinbrink JR in Pleasant Prairie? ?

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          1. Here’s my best guesses.

            1. Steinbrink is not charged with violent crimes and is not a physical danger to the community. What that means is that his case has a low priority over violent criminals committing violent crimes and repeat offenders. They necessarily come first. This is true of most nonviolent crimes on the court calendar. We live in a community plagued with violent crime. Like it to not, that’s the way it is.
            2. This is a special prosecution case meaning the lawyers are from out of town and this is out of their regular schedule. The judges will give them some leeway because of that.
            3. The prosecutor, for reasons unknown, asked for the adjournment.
            4. They are probably working on a plea bargain where the felony charges go away if up front restitution is made. This is not an uncommon plea deal.
            5. Steinbrink’s new lawyers want to drag it out so they can earn their fees.

        1. We need a story on this, on why Steinbrink gets extensions ? Legal system is a joke they have all the information they need to have trial.

          1. See above. A nonviolent case with the defendant out of custody is at the bottom of the court’s calendar. They don’t have room to expeditiously try all of the violent criminals whose cases have priority. It’s been that way for decades and is only getting worse. Kenosha County has eight circuit judges and only half hear criminal cases.

  4. Thanks for exposing this. If you think Gateway’s expenditures are high, wait until you see KUSD’s. For the billing cycle ending May 15, 2023 taxpayers were hit with $18,889.46 for “restaurants & catering.”

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  5. This is definitely questionable.

    I’ve been to dozens of retirement and special lunches at the courthouse, city hall and Pleasant Prairie village hall. Almost all of these are wonderful “pot luck” affairs that cost taxpayers the cost of cake, coffee, napkins and plastic cutlery (Pleasant Prairie sometimes has corporate sponsors such as Culver’s frozen custard).

    What’s really wrong here, though, is that Gateway has a culinary program and its students could and should be called on. That’s utterly a no-brainer.

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    1. I think this is different. These places normally have small spreads because the dollars used to pay for them have already been stolen by employees, etc.

  6. All laid out with no sneeze guards….from the same crowd that demands masks.
    Wonder how many got up off their fat “work at home” asses to stampede down to graze at the chow line.
    Educators and politicians LOVE free stuff.
    Piggies go Oink Oink

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  7. The Libs at it again can do anything they wanna do in Kenosha, and just get covered up and move on.. who is the approver for this type of expenditure?Maybe the scam Mahone Fund is in on it .

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  8. This doesn’t surprise me one bit. Former GTC president Bryan Albrecht was a thief and used taxpayer funds to buy off the GTC board. The lavish Christmas parties (open bar, free multi course meals) after the December board meeting, (which was all charged to the college) the custom high end $400 + gifts from Bryan (but paid for by GTC funds) to each board member; each board meeting has plenty of food to select from yet nobody attends accept GTC staff & faculty; word on the street was that he bought all kinds of equipment for his home he built and invited other board and VPs to his place on GTC dime; always double dipped on using GTC dollars for personal enjoyment; Zina Haywood’s personal travel paid by the college, disguised as student travel ; the list goes on. Disgusting waste of taxpayer dollars. Drain the administrative swamp there too!

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    1. That’s the real story. Investigate the administrative bloat. It’s insane. And, the teachers and students are the ones paying the price there.

  9. And I can barely afford eggs and bacon. sure nice to know my hard-earned tax money is funding their exquisite tastes….

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  10. Looks like some Gateway District Board openings need to be filled:
    “Vacant is three (3) Racine County Seats, and one (1) Kenosha County Seat.
    Three (3) appointees will be appointed to three-year terms commencing on July 1, 2023”

    Just one problem—-“In order to meet eligibility requirements, all candidates must attend the Appointment Committee Public Hearing on Monday, March 13, 2023, in person and be interviewed.

    Anyway here’s a link to those who are up for appointment:
    https://www.gtc.edu/about-gateway/board-trustees/district-board-appointments

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    1. Those dates have passed. It’s Oct. They were filled and thankfully zina the beast didn’t get on. She was never at the college and got paid 200k yet whined about being oppressed!

    1. Also a former insider who agrees. What no one realizes is the “loophole” of immense leverage that allows tech colleges in WI to directly use your property taxes for funding. Our kids’ school districts can’t do this, nor can the four-year public colleges. The news stories seem constant about budget cuts and struggles at local K-12 schools or with the UW system, yet tech schools never seem to come up short.

  11. I have a telephone appointment today to dispute a class I couldn’t make because I had emergency surgery and was in the ICU at St. Luke’s for 5 days. I was told I need to appeal it and there’s no guarantee they will dismiss the payment. I almost died and proved it to them with Physician slip and it’s still under review but thousands and thousands of dollars can be spent on of all things charcuterie??!!

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  12. I agree. Culinary Arts program should be responsible for this. And does it have to be all inclusive with the items? Here’s another thing? Would a different caterer be cheaper? Spread the weath! The Watcher is watching!

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  13. Unreal. If Gateway President Ritu Rajur authorized this expensive taxpayer paid lavish food tables, quite frankly she should be forced to pay restitution to the school. This is bullshit. Is this why a higher education is so expensive??

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  14. Former adjunct here.
    Gateway is an absolute clown show, full of woke grifters.
    Basically, an extension of K-12 indoctrination camp with lots of unnecessary perks for
    clown faculty.

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  15. What BS that they don’t have the Sept. 2023 invoice yet! I have worked with this caterer and she promptly invoices before the job.

  16. Come on now. When you have a daddy program ran by a convicted drug dealer, you need #prime kinda stuff. After all….. #primeisindahouse didn’t yah knows……?

  17. Does she do fish frys? Most local dignitaries including Rockford Bob and Barca prefer this. More bang for your taxpayer buck

  18. This isn’t a problem. I’m always in favor of a good buffet. (Did you know “charcuterie” is French for “I want a sandwich but don’t have any bread”?

  19. The Racine County Executive wants to raise taxes because he says not enough money to fund a mental health center.
    Looks like there is plenty of money but the wrong agency is pissing it away.

  20. At my work we always threw in a few bucks to fund a party, cake, etc….. Maybe they could all throw in 10 bucks and have a spread for themselves?

  21. And yet the college is trying to save money by offering less course listings. I’m somewhat disappointed by how much all of this cost. More disappointed by them not taking the opportunity to get the culinary students to do this in the place of caterers. Saving money while giving them more experience would be a win-win. The only issue I could think of is that the culinary department is limited to just being on the Racine Campus right now.

    1. He spent 42,000 a year at one restaurant. He spent more at one restaurant than the average Louisianan makes in a year.

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      1. Average Louisianan should move to Wisconsin and get a job at Gateway Technical College and no longer worry about the cost of food.

    2. Your statement is stupid. It has nothing to do with being a Republican. And it has nothing to do with this article. Try to stay on topic and stay focused.

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  22. What’s the old saying? “It’s not my job, it’s not my fault, where’s the free food and booze” You’re never a hero in your own hometown.

  23. If security cam coverage existed, the video of “public servants” grazing at the trough would likely go viral on the world wide web.
    Educators…..waddle-waddle-oink-oink-snort-snort

  24. Now they’ve added three more paid holidays; MLK, Juneteenth & Veterans day.

    So much taxpayer money is wasted on meeting that don’t acomplish anything, certain employees earning higher degrees during working hours so they can earn a higher salary, employees volunteering during working hours & too many attending unnecessaty conferences. The list goes on. Don’t forget the overpaid employees. Too many upper management earning way too much. And Bryan getting paid as consultant. Human resources which now wants to be called talent & culture should be investigated.

  25. Gateway Technical College’s president, CFO and VP – Talent & Culture (HR, lol) need to be investigated.

    On numerous occasions the CFO has collected more than one salary when there was an open position. There is one employee in the same department who has been there for years with no education but makes $50/hr. Making more than those with degrees.

    Get rid of those abusing taxpayers dollars and hire some gtc graduates.

    How much more are the president & HR allowing?

    GTC could be more efficient with half the staff if in-services, meetings & employee learning day were eliminated. They are supposed to be fun events nothing to improve on job skills & no benefit to student.

    Wish i could say more but i’m currently employed at gtc & it makes me sick.

    1. Employees spend hours a month listening to music in music sessions, attending drag shows and trivia, and the students suffer. I’ve worked on gov and private sector and this place is the biggest waster of money I’ve ever seen, by far.

  26. They should have there culinary arts students do their catering. Our high school students do a wonderful job catering events at our school.

  27. It might not be that tax dollars were used. The college may have used money that is earmarked for whatever they want to use it on (i.e., donations, fundraising for slush funds). The question from the reporter should be which pool of funds were used to pay for it. I do think the amount paid for the food boards are excessive though.

  28. Gateway has taxing authority. So money is no problem. They can spend it frivolously. And they do.
    In June, when Gateway’s District Board approved the tentative 2022-23 school year budget and levy, preliminary figures indicated the college’s mill rate could be 0.695 cents per $1,000 of accessed value.
    Yes. GTC has a culinary school. THEY should have catered these events. I would call it training/education/experience.

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