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County Executive Hires Woman Fired For Fraud, Under Criminal Investigation

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Sherry Kruse – Veterans Benefits Representative and Samantha Kerkman – Kenosha County Executive
(facebook) (File Photo by Kevin Mathewson, Kenosha County Eye)

County Executive Samantha Kerkman isn’t answering any questions about a very risky hire she made a few months ago – Sherry Kruse. Kruse is the County’s new Veterans Benefits Representative. Before County Executive Samantha Kerkman hired her for the important role, she worked for the Veterans Assistance Commission of Lake County as its Assistant Superintendent.

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According to her personnel file, released by VACLC by means of a F.O.I.A. request, she had been in extremely hot water for quite some time. According to a document signed by Kruse and her boss, Andre Tangen, she was issued a very stern reprimand on July 6, 2023.

In the document, there are many deficiencies pointed out of Kruse:

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Failure to lead the Veterans Assistance Commission of Lake County (VACLC) as Assistant Superintendent by ceasing to conduct the requirements of said position in accordance with the job description

Failure to correct diminished work hours and performance after being informally counselled by the Superintendent on March 20, 2023

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Failure to communicate with the Superintendent regarding vacations

Failure to admit to wrongly placing vacation on the calendar without complete information

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Editing the calendar after Superintendent asked where Assistant Superintendent would be when Superintendent was informed Assistant Superintendent would not be in the office for the June 2023 Executive Committee Board Meeting without informing Superintendent of the change

Not communicating, coordinating, or delegating with any staff to ensure meeting minutes would be accurately taken during the absence of the Assistant Superintendent

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Discussing displeasure with the Superintendent with subordinate staff members to include the Senior Veteran Service Officers and the Executive Assistant

Discussing displeasure with the Chief of Staff with subordinate staff members to include the Senior Veteran Service Officers and the Executive Assistant

Failure to inform Chief of Staff of desires for new office ‘space or visit new office space to inquire regarding layout and then complaining to subordinate staff displeasure in the Chief of Staff and Superintendent’s planning when no input was given to either the Chief of Staff or Superintendent

Leaving every day at 3 pm exactly

Filing only 17 claims and 14 appeals in 7 months

Deficiencies in claims that were filed in FY 23 ,to include filings on the wrong forms

Having veteran records mailed to Assistant Superintendent’s personal residence, instead of the office to ensure records are not lost or compromised  

Not communicating with Superintendent regarding day-to-day operations

Not communicating with Superintendent regarding vacation plans or waiting until the last minute to inform Superintendent of vacation plans, causing fees to be levied against the VACLC regarding hotel reservations being cancelled

Taking excessive time off for various events, to include arriving late to work, departing for several hours, returning, and then leaving at exactly 3 pm

Not communicating with Superintendent by inquiring on what needs to be accomplished for the office

Not communicating with Superintendent regarding workflow

Not communicating with Superintendent regarding what steps are being taken to ensure proper unit Cohesion

Not communicating with Superintendent regarding nature of absences

Not communicating/inquiring with Superintendent regarding taking personal time during the workday

Excessive personal cellular phone usage during business hours

Not taken any initiative to participate in any state or national level responsibilities unless directly commanded to participate in those responsibilities

Not communicating/inquiring regarding new office status in Gurnee

Not communicating/inquiring regarding new office status at FHCC

______________________________________________________________________________________

Sherry Kruse – Kenosha County Veterans Benefits Representative
(facebook)

Just 8 days later, on July 14, 2023, Sherry was forced to resign/terminated. In the letter it says that VACLC discovered that Kurse has committed time card fraud and Kruse admitted to talking almost 9 weeks of vacation that she wasn’t entitled to.

“You further acknowledge that as the result of this timecard fraud you were overpaid for 344 hours and agree that all of your unpaid time off and sick time, accrued to date, will be used to offset the overpayment. You further agree that you will reimburse the VACLC for the balance of the overpayments made, after the deduction of your all (sic) unpaid time off and sick time.

The VACLC will allow you to resign immediately rather than be terminated.”

IN a resignation letter dated the same day, Kruse wrote “It is to my dissatisfaction that I submit my resignation letter from my position as Assistant Superintendent. My decision to end my employment will be effective immediately.”

Kruse worked for VACLC for 16 years. KCE has also been told my many sources that Kruse may have had an affair with a co-worker/subordinate. KCE could not substantiate any of theses claims. We made contact with Kruse, who refused to answer any of our questions.

KCE was also tipped off that multiple law enforcement agencies were investigating Kruse for fraud. We spoke to the Gurnee Police Department in Illinois, where the VACLC is housed and a spokesperson, Detective Shawn Gaylor told KCE “Gurnee detectives are currently investigating the allegations made for Sherry Kruse here in Gurnee.”

We contacted Kerkman on November 30, 2023 about these allegations. She ignored us, like she usually does. Her predecessor, Jim Kruser was very non-transparent. Kerkman promised the media that would change this policy, but we haven’t seen any change. She has been almost as non-transparent as Kruser. We also asked for Kruse’s employment application to see what she told the County when she applied. The County is not providing us with the documents. We may see them in court soon.

KCE is told Kerkman knew about the allegations at the time of her hire, but overlooked them as “minor.”

S Kruse Discipline 6 July 2023 S Kruse Discipline 14 July 2023 Kruse Resignation

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119 Responses

  1. Wow! We live in the dumbest time period in human history. I heard the reason they didn’t do a background investigation is because Kruse claimed her old office was full of “toxic masculinity”. Hopefully Kerman realizes when someone says that, don’t hire them

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    1. This is appalling. They need to fire this woman immediately. Sounds like she needs to serve some time or be shipped far where she won’t hurt anyone else. Sickening. The veterans community that I belong to is about honor, dignity, respect, professionalism, morals and ethics. Sounds like she has none of these, and sleeping with someone who worked for her? Is she even a vet? Man, where do they get these people. It’s infuriating that Kerkman can’t even comment? Disgust.

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    2. I was actually kind of wondering if Sherry was trans? I think she looks like she/he/it/they and any other thing you want to use, has some masculine facial look. 🤔 Kind of like that beer guy.

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        1. This Kruse lady clearly is disliking comments about her.

          Why doesn’t she just quit and work for her client she met that caused her to get fired?

  2. I have had personal dealings with Sam. She is a snake in the grass. I am surprised Kev is not correctly citing her as a Demorat. Kevin wants to like Sam, but Sam is a RINO

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  3. Wow! So Kerkman fires Ali (29+ year veteran) and then immediately hires this non-veteran criminal? Sounds like an open and shut case for discrimination action…

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  4. Figures! Liberalism (Rino’s & Democrat’s) is the real pandemic! Not even sure how people can be so clueless these days? I was gonna actually be a liberal for Halloween, but my head wouldn’t actually fit up my ass.

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  5. I’ve got to admit I voted for Sam and I’m embarrassed that she was able to fool me. She literally is everything the previous posts are saying, another closet Democrat who apparently ran as a republican because it was a county election

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  6. If Kruse had any humility, she’d resign this morning.

    But, reading these documents and this article, that sounds like a gigantic “if”

    What a sociopath

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    1. Who disliked this comment? Is this Kruse lady trolling and looking for sympathy? I agree, she’s a total corrupt crazy if she’s still on the job Monday morning

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  7. Is it really this impossible for our local government to hire people without a history of breaking the law or complete incompetence?

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  8. I’ve hired and fired many. I’ve never had the luxury of referring to FOIA documents to make that decision. If you were to use these documents to make a hiring decision it could be considered discriminatory. Typically, previous employers will give you length of service and was discharge voluntary. I’m surely not defending Kerkman on what looks to be a bad hire. She could have easily dig deeper to her prior employer.
    Employment law is complex, Kevin, the county should hire you to screen all hires, could you be objective?

  9. Why is it discriminatory to check the past work record of a potential employee? Especially someone applying for a job that is supposed to serve our veterans, the most underserved. I wouldn’t hire an accountant without a thorough background check and inquiry, why should our tax dollars be in the hands of dishonest, immoral people?

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    1. Not saying I agree , but as example recently laws have passed that don’t allow you to ask have you been convicted of a crime on an application, can’t ask age, sure can’t ask gender, and no way a private employer would release those documents without a subpoena, for fear of wrongful termination lawsuit. It’s the litigious over-regulated world we live in. The fact she was a public employee makes it FOIA eligible. I’d love to hear an attorney’s take on this.

  10. Samantha Kerkman is nothing but a political hack! She is a female Bob Wirch with an “R” next to her name for convenience. Not to mention that the woman is dumb as a bag of hair!

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  11. Haaaaa. Sam is just another Twin Lakes pusher of all things conservative. She and Chad allegedly had an arranged marriage.

    Happy trails to you…….. Haaaa The multicultural assembly of clown world on full display!

  12. You know Samantha used to be a wonderful conservative who cared about her community, but she has changed for the worse. Why would she hire this miscreant who hates veterans? it makes no sense.

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  13. Kerkman should quietly give her bad hire an “encouraged resignation”. Kerkman could then recommend Kruse for the Women and Childrens Horizons opening which should come soon. Kerkman could then give the W&CH fired executive director a “rachmonus”, a Yiddish noun for sympathy, in this case a job where no one, including the board. seems to care about the quality and background of their current Executive Director. As a veteran of a conflict some 54 years ago, I wonder why all the layers of government needed for veterans. VA medical and GI bill education benefits are the big deals for all veterans and are handled easily by VA. Everything else is virtue signaling. In Kenosha, what can a veteran get except federal benefits such as medical and education that are outside of the federal umbrella? Do we really need a layer of local and state? Kenosha also has KHDS (Kenosha Housing and Development Services) and other organizations, which can help veterans find local charity help.

    1. You have clearly never dealt with the VA. You’re lucky. Our county VSOs and our BFW VSOs are the ones who advocate for us. No one else will help us.

      It’s depressing being a Vietnam vet and learning that my own county hired someone so corrupt and so lacking in honor to care for us.

      Kenosha needs major change. I loved working with Ali Nelson. Unfortunately, it seems our government didn’t like someone who actually support and help veterans.

      1. Did you read in my post “as a veteran of a conflict 54 years ago”? Of course I’ve dealt with VA, and I’m proud to be a a drafted Vietnam veteran. I used the GI bill to go to grad school 50 years ago, for openers. Worst thing at VA is the VA website. VA is an enormous federal government bureaucracy. However, it’s basically free medical care, and the services they can’t provide, such as many surgeries, are jobbed out to the private sector. VA is good at simple things like an annual physical, optometry, podiatry, and dermatology. I’ve learned how to deal with their bureaucratic shortcomings. Unfortunately for us in Kenosha County, the Kenosha VA clinic is not allowed to do many things that Aurora or Froedert can do, as some forms of immediate care or care that requires the presence of an emergency department aren’t available at the clinic. One has to get down to North Chicago. I can’t imagine what county or state can do for the vast majority of veterans that a veteran can’t do for himself, without excessive government spending, such as Kerkman’s bad hire. Another thing that VA could do would be to job out mental health, like they do for specialty surgeries. Ever seen the lines and crowds at the North Chicago mental health clinic? I love my great nation. I just don’t consider myself a ward of the state.

  14. This shouldn’t be a problem. Kirkman rarely works, let alone after 2pm, so this part time schedule will be a good fit.

  15. So many questions. Was she approving her own time card? If she wasn’t approving her own time card then why wasn’t the approver doing their own due diligence?

    And ultimately if she wasn’t approving her own timecard shouldn’t the ultimate approver also be at fault?

    1. I mean, the job description from where she was fired from is in the first document and sure looks like she was responsible for payroll, which would include timecards.

      Shame to throw away a 16 year career for some free vacation

      1. That’s what I was thinking. Why did she do that? And why, after she got caught did she feel like she could stay in the veteran advocacy space and continue? She is clearly unrepentant.

        Hopefully our law enforcement and judicial hold her accountable.

        1. For real. Kenosha needs to straighten some stuff out. This is ridiculous that our vets have to find help from people who are corrupt

  16. People that voted Kerman also overlooked her giving an ok to the 2020 election before she bailed out of being our state rep. She was perfectly ok with all the laws she/they had in place being violated…

  17. Sam. And I can call you Sam because we’ve talked many times over these past decades. As a representative you always returned our calls and later, emails. You always told us what you could or could not do to resolve our request or question in your capacity as a representative.
    Yet now in your time as county executive you’ve gone silent on why you are making the decisions you are making.
    Earlier with the Sheriff’s body camera video out here in Salem and now in the veterans office hiring. And a few other decisions some of us have a hard time understanding.
    So much so that the Rino accusations are starting to gain a foothold. While history says the county executive office is yours to keep as long as you want it, your actions are jeopardizing those re-election possibilities.

    While we understand you shouldn’t have to explain your every decision, this veteran’s office hiring does need explanation.

    Signed.
    A long time constituent.

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    1. 4 years is all she needed at the higher county executive pay to maximize her state pension. She doesn’t care as she will be able to retire with a pension that far exceeds what she received as a state representative.

  18. Sounds like her former employer knew about the timecard fraud and when the time was right documented it to fire her. You can’t tell me it took 2.5 years to figure this out.

    1. Unless Kruse was responsible for all time cards. The first document certainly seems to indicate she was.

      Plus, reading through those documents, it surely looks like after multiple counselings, both informal and formal, it looks like (from the second document) they did an audit and caught her corruption.

      Seems like an open and shut case of corruption that Kerkman must’ve known about and began talking to Kruse before Kruse got fired.

      Maybe everyone got it wrong about Nelson and Kerkman brought Kruse in to create a new revenue stream.

      Look at what is going on nationally. People are pushing to be allowed to charge bets for services. That’s garbage

    2. At the end of the day, nobody knows what was going on in her former office or what happened but it’s clear they discovered her activity and confronted her. She’s the example of government employees going bad

  19. Is she still employed? How can we as Kenosha vets be certain this office has our best interest? She sounds like scum. I’d never trust them as long as she’s in that position

      1. Some of us are of the thinking that, even though our particular choice of candidate in the primary does not go onto win the nomination, the winner ultimately deserves our support for the party that we choose to be a part of. The never Trumpers did not do their party any Good by not voting for Trump when he needed it.
        In the case of county executive, you may not like the sometimes questionable decisions but overall you must vote the Party line. Because to vote against your party is to go against all that you may believe. That may sound uneducated and lazy, but the liberal side lies and cheat more and promise things that they never intend to fulfill.
        If you’re asking today, do I want to vote for Sam the answer would be no. But , once a challenger is named and vetted, she may be the better choice.

        1. The lesser of two evils is still evil. It’s become relatively apparent that we need a complete changeover in political representation, from the Tippity-top (Biden) down to very small, local representation, and every step in between. We need to stop voting for incumbents- every single one needs to know that they’re fully replaceable. They all must go. Every single time we can vote for a non-incumbent, we MUST. (Aside from maybe that thing running against Terry Rose)

  20. Is she still on the job? What in God’s name was this woman thinking? And how did she get hired?

    Our vets deal with so much garbage in this country. To have someone like this as their representative is insane!

  21. Samantha Kerkman, John Jansen, Rebecca Dutter, Jennifer Blasi, Clara Tappa, & Zasmine Lewis should all resign at this point. They knew all about Sherry Kruse but because she had a sob story about suing Lake County because of a sexist and racist manager they let her in the door. She will sue Kenosha County next. Kenosha County has failed many veterans.

    1. She’s walking around saying she’s suing her former employer? That should be easy to verify. Sounds like another lie from someone who clearly has a problem with telling the truth.

      Even if she told that sob story, no one in the government tried to verify that? Or, what are they doing now that this article shows that Kruse is under investigation with the Police? Wouldn’t that be enough for them to realize she lied and fire her?

      How could anyone still possibly trust a word this woman says when there’s all this proof of her inability to be truthful?

  22. Sherry Kruse falsified time cards, had an affair with someone working under her at the job while married, currently engaged to a veteran client while still married, falsified documents, pulled records without veterans’ permission, lied on her VA background investigation, and failed to do her job as a VSO in Lake County.

    Jennifer Blasi knew all about all of this. She should stay an interim director and never be appointed! She is too busy dodging the office and putting her director position on Sherry Kruse a known criminal. She is not fit to lead that office! She barely made the veteran cutoff to even qualify.

  23. In the military when things go awry they typically fire everyone at the top and it’s labeled as “loss of confidence”. I wonder why this isn’t the case in Lake County and the others working there aren’t being investigated as well.

    1. Yeah, but in the military when the the number two breaks the law, commits fraud, causes degradation in good order and discipline, and is counseled several times to correct it and they choose not to, they get fired.

      Kinda like what happened to Kruse. Just sayin.

      Only in this case, her misguided and foolish decisions were discovered and she resigned instead of being fired and law enforcement is investigating.

      Sounds like accountability was taken…except Kruse still hasn’t taken any and feels she’s above the law and doing what is right. Hopefully she gets that view changed with criminal penalties

      1. Jennifer Blasi should’ve never been hired as the CVSO. She is not fit to lead nor fit for public speaking nor community service. I believe Samantha Kerkman picked her because she is the only person with communication skills worst than hers.

  24. So, is Kenosha just gonna keep her on payroll until she gets arrested for this?

    Or is Kerkman going to leave her in a paid position while she’s on trial?

    How is this not enough to see she lied on her employment?

    Once a liar, always a liar

    1. For real. The tax payers, veterans, and the tax paying veterans of the county want to know! Kevin, are you gonna do a follow up article if Kerkman ever responds? Or if Kruse has the humility to resign? Or if Blasi suddenly becomes intelligent and fires her for BEING A CRIMINAL?!?!?!?!?!?!

      Inquiring minds would like to know…

      1. Clara Tappa seems to come up frequently when problematic people are featured in these articles. Would love to see Kevin really look into her…

  25. Sherry Kruse is out today closing on the house purchased by her fiancée/veteran client. Hopefully her current husband finds a way to win it in court.

    1. LOL. She isn’t even at work that she’s pretending to need because she’s a victim? I wonder how much money she stole from veterans to afford her new house?

        1. Wow! The depravity of this woman is unbelievable. How could she charge veterans? What a horrible person. I hope she never works again. She needs to find a hole and bury herself in it.

      1. Sherry, nobody is jealous of you. You look like a dude and you’re a lying criminal. Stop deflecting the fact you’re about to spend 3-5 in prison for your crimes and give up. You’ve already ruined your life, stop trying to ruin others.

        1. Yeah, Sherry. Or her client she cheated on Billy with. That’s the only two it could be. Anonymously posting at random times like two cowards who know their time is limited

          1. It could be that one dude that ran the Legion in Illinois until he got kicked out for lying about membership numbers and moving vets to different posts without permission.

            He’s been hanging around the Kenosha VSO office with Sherry. Just her type too. Looks like 900 pounds of chewed bubble gum. I think he and her fiancée are best friends. Hanging around together, being anonymous on the internet together.

            I mean they even have the same “oh, woo is me, I’m a veteran” vibe where they cosplay the Hollywood stereotype of what a veteran is. Both fat, stupid, unsuccessful morons who think running their mouths and acting like tough guys and lying about going to war when they both neither left Kuwait, means they’re entitled. It doesn’t. It makes them cowards…which makes them perfect friends for Sherry…who is a coward. And a liar

  26. Let me get this straight, Samantha Kerkman hired a known criminal to work in the Kenosha County Veteran Services Office and she is not a veteran. Did she even contact Lake County to talk to her manager? How can Kenosha County trust Samantha with the needs of veterans especially our budget?

    1. Probably a whole lot of money. But even if she hasn’t yet, she’ll be paying a whole lot more when she gets convicted of this fraud. What a horrible person.

  27. Something stinks here. In fact, a lot does.

    Let’s assume that the allegations against Kruse are true. We don’t know for sure but just assume that they are. What’s with her boss who knew about much of it and didn’t intervene sooner? Some of these allegations are pretty damn serious and yet the initial response was to “counsel” the number two person? That’s ridiculous. Which makes me think that there’s something wrong at the top, too. Was this a vendetta for some reason? Or was it an incompetent at best and corrupt at worst boss who let it go on under his nose and eyes? I smell more than one rat in this.

    As for hiring her in Kenosha, as others have noted they could have concealed her work record which is a fairly common practice. It wouldn’t be the first time that a successive employer was stuck with damaged merchandise because the prior employment history was mischaracterized or concealed. I recall well one employee who turned out to be a corrosive dud yet had a glowing recommendation from the other employer who, in retrospect, was happy to do anything to get rid of her.

    Kenosha County government needs a top-to-bottom management study. We have some bloated offices and others who are staffed with fewer people than counties one-tenth the population! And what of the sheriff’s department? With a new sheriff at the helm this would be a great time for a management and facilities study. Or do we just perpetuate what has been done for decades?

    1. The top should have been and still should be investigated but someone is known to be a bully and leverage their education and alphabet soup titles behind their name to attempt to intimidate others who’s views aren’t the same as theirs.

      1. You sound like someone who knows something or someone who is hiding behind the anonymous option to throw shade on a good man. Maybe you’re Sherry or Sherry adjacent and someone who knows the gig is up…

        1. Giving the perception of being a good person is 100% subjective “Jack”. Any person with 1/4 of their brain knows that.

          1. Yeah, but it’s not, Sherry. When you commit timecard fraud and whatever else you’ve been doing, and then lying about it and your old employer, you’re a bad person. And since you’re doing it anonymously, you’re a coward. But, that’s what a liar is. A coward. So, Sherry, enjoy being a coward. It’ll work well on you in prison

        2. Sherry should learn some humility. You are a liar and a thief and the veterans of Kenosha County deserve better. Where will be her next stop? Hopefully, federal prison.

        3. Her gig is all the way up on this one. The veterans community is small. We protect our own but she not a veteran. We thank God for that.

    2. Kenosha County needs a complete work study and examination of salaries. It seems a lot of useless people are put in position.

      A quick reference call could’ve prevented Sherry Kruse from being hired. The reference to hire her was from Jennifer Blasi. Sherry was honest for once in her life on her legal issues with Lake County. They hired her thinking her manager was racist and the other men were toxic and on the verge of sexual harassment.

      Standing by to see how this shit show goes. I would suggest veterans use the Racine office until they can trust the employees at Kenosha County.

      1. They did a wage study a year or so ago. The problem is, HR and many department heads/directors are so wildly out of touch with what their staff actually DO, that it wasn’t accurate. HR would have to change, and middle managers would have to be consulted, and the county won’t do that.

    3. Or, as the documents attached to the article state, she was counseled several times for bad behavior before it got put in writing. The job description also says she was responsible for timecards. Sounds like she took advantage and then got caught. Either way, Kenosha vets are in a bad place with this poison apple working there. Wonder when she’ll learn humility and quit.

    4. Hey, dumbass, if you read the first one, you’ll see that kruse got counseled multiple times leading up to the July 6 counseling. She signed and acknowledged she did.

      Her job description also says she was responsible for timecard approval.

      Are you really that dumb to not look at the documents? Or can you not read?

      Or are you the fiancée trying to defend your criminal anonymously on the internet because you know what you’re saying is bullshit?

      Coward. Fat, stupid, coward

  28. Looks as though Samantha gave $10,000 of Kenosha County taxpayers money to a friend on a legal issues. Sherry Kruse is a mirror for Samantha!

  29. Poor Mike! Hopefully when he marries this lying Black Widow after she is divorced from Billy he gets smart and asks for a prenup. I wonder why she didn’t get engaged to the guy at the office in Lake County?

  30. She was counseled so many times. You think she would’ve stopped. I guess she didn’t really want to be at work but she wanted to get paid for it!

    Only 17 claims? I know Lake County has more veterans than Kenosha County. She is probably sleeping in the office now. Nice promotion Shady Sherry!

    Great job Sam!

  31. So her fiancée is lying about his service during war and she is lying about being at work. Sounds like a match made in hell!

    He bought her office decorations in Kuwait. I see now.

  32. Who is Sherry Kruse certified with? I believe the Veterans Commission should contact them since this is all public record. Our veterans deserve better.

    1. National Association of County Veterans Service Officers & American Legion

  33. This office under the management of Jennifer Blasi has the nerve to host a meet and greet on Friday. Nobody wants to meet with shady crooks. We will go to Lake County or Racine at this point.





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