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Controversy Surrounds Kemper Center Appointment of Daniel Gaschke as Executive Director

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Daniel Gaschke (D) – Kenosha County Board Member
(File Photo by Kevin Mathewson, Kenosha County Eye)

In a move that has sparked controversy and raised serious questions about its transparency and governance, the Kemper Center has appointed Daniel Gaschke, a Kenosha County Board Member, as its new executive director. Gaschke’s appointment comes amidst allegations of impropriety and procedural irregularities, further compounded by attempts to suppress information and limit public scrutiny. Gaschke will succeed Ed Kubicki, another County Board member, who was hired in 2018 under similarly suspicious circumstances.

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Citizens and politicians claimed that Kubicki’s appointment was the result of cronyism and politics. Kubicki, like Gaschke, is on the board that has voted and continues to vote to give more than $100,000 per year to the non-profit by way of paying for the utilities that Kemper Center Inc is required to pay per their lease agreement with the county. Over the years Kenosha County has spent many, many millions of dollars on the Kemper Center, all while the non-profit Kemper Center, Inc was tasked to manage and raise money for the buildings to take the burden off the taxpayer.

Arguments were made in 2018, as they are being made now, that there is a financial conflict of interest for an elected official to take a salary that is offset by tax dollars.

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Kenosha County Government Attorney Joey Cardamone (D)
(File Photo by Kevin Mathewson, Kenosha County Eye)

Back in 2018, the Kenosha County lawyer, Joey Cardamone, wrote a letter at the request of then-County Executive Jim Kreuser. This letter said that there was no conflict of interest and Kubicki could take the job.

Daniel Gaschke, a stay-at-home dad, was recently appointed as the executive director of Kemper Center, Inc. He will receive a modest salary of about $20 an hour with two weeks vacation and the ability to work from home two days a week. According to insiders, the emergency meeting was held on March 11, 2024. There were only five members present – not enough for a quorum. Board president, Patricia “Pat” Mott (D), violated the bylaws and held a vote anyway, against the objection of several board members.

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Today, at 1:08 p.m., board president Pat Mott sent an email to all the board members prohibiting them from speaking to Kenosha County Eye, saying that she spoke with Gaschke and Kubicki and the three of them decided they didn’t want Kenosha County Eye to cover this issue and expose the problems with the vote.

The mission statement of Kemper Center is:

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“We will promote outdoor recreation and educational opportunities while focusing on historic, cultural, and artistic education, as well as social, spiritual, and civic event hosting in our historical cultural Center.”

Gaschke’s controversial past has resurfaced. Despite these troubling allegations, Gaschke’s appointment was pushed through in a manner that has raised concerns among board members and the wider community.

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Gaschke, who is no stranger to controversy, was accused of taking thousands of dollars of goods and services from County Thunder in 2021 after he voted in favor of their license to have the event. He bragged on facebook about having backstage passes and unlimited free food and liquor.

Kemper Center Board of Directors 2023–2024

NameAffiliationBusiness PhoneEmailTerm Expires
Belsky, LauraCounty Board Supervisor262-705-5722Laura.Belsky@kenoshacounty.orgN/A
Dickow, PattyDickow Cyzak262-496-8504dickowp@yahoo.com2026
Enroth, PennyLifetime MemberUnlistedenrothm910@gmail.comLifetime
Ingrouille, RobinVolunteer/Retired262-455-5871tingrouille@wi.rr.com2025
Kubicki, EdKemper Center262-925-8040ed@kempercenter.comNA
Kupfer, JimCounty Retiree262-515-1294Jim.kupfer@kenoshacounty.org2027
Mott, PatKemper Hall Alumnae262-857-6820  c. 847-757-7192pmott15850@outlook.com2025
Rasch, JasonRasch Construction & Engineering262-657-6542jason@raschconstruction.com2026
Root, DiannRoot Engineering262-745-7194droot@wi.rr.com2027
Sartor, FrankBurton & Mayer262-496-9551fsartor@burtonmayer.com2025
Touhey, PaulaRetired262-237-4429paulatouhey@gmail.com2027
Zagra, RobinSt. Joseph Catholic Academy262-331-3442robinzagra@gmail.com2026

Board member Laura Belsky has raised objections to the lack of transparency surrounding Gaschke’s appointment, questioning why the position was not opened up to the public for applications. Belsky, along with fellow board member Frank Sartor, has taken issue with the rushed vote and apparent disregard for the organization’s bylaws.

Attempts by the KCE to seek clarification from the Kemper Center have been met with resistance, with our calls being repeatedly hung up on by Mott. We first thought there was a problem with the phone system, but an employee later told us that Mott was repeatedly hanging up on us without saying a word. This lack of transparency and accountability only serves to deepen the sense of mistrust surrounding Gaschke’s appointment and the Kemper Center leadership. Other than Belsky the rest of the board gave in to Mott’s demands and didn’t answer requests for comment by KCE.

Adding to the controversy are allegations of nepotism and conflicts of interest within the organization. There are reports suggesting that Mott may have engaged her son-in-law’s firm to handle the Kemper Center accounting, raising concerns about favoritism and ethical impropriety.

The Kemper Center, a tax-exempt charitable organization operating out of a county-owned building, has a mission to promote outdoor recreation and educational opportunities while focusing on historic, cultural, and artistic education. However, recent events have cast a shadow over the organization’s governance and management practices.

But some contend an opinion written by then Attorney General Peggy Lautenschlager in 2005 to former Kenosha County Corporation Counsel Frank Volpintesta prohibits any county board supervisor from being employed by anyone receiving money from Kenosha County.

As the community demands answers and transparency from the Kemper Center’s leadership, the controversy surrounding Gaschke’s appointment underscores the need for greater accountability and adherence to ethical standards within the organization. Only time will tell how the Kemper Center chooses to address these concerns and rebuild trust with its stakeholders.

Author

  • Kevin Mathewson

    Kevin Mathewson is a disciple of Christ, husband and a father to two wonderful children. Mathewson was born and raised in Lake County, IL and worked as a police & fire dispatcher from 2005 to 2010 in Round Lake Beach, IL. Mathewson moved to Kenosha County in 2006, later being elected to the position of Alderman of the 8th District in 2012 and 2016. Mathewson is a private investigator, security contractor, journalist, and photographer. He enjoys spending time with his family, watching movies, camping and boating. His favorite amendment is the second, followed closely by the first. He loves his country and community.

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34 Responses

    1. Exactly what is Samantha Kerkman to do? Kemper Center Inc is a non-profit organization that is not run by Kenosha County.

      Let’s see what Gabe Nudo does since he was so upset about this when Kubicki was hired but has said nothing about Gaschke. It is the county board that is in charge of setting policy.

      1. Take that away.

        We are not supposed to pay their bills or special projects. They are supposed to raise money and pay their own way.

        According to this article they are not.

        Am I wrong ?

    2. she is a sellout! She used to be a decent human being, but along the way she became a RINO lib! Do not trust her

      1. She’s still a kind, caring person. Her politics have gone astray, and she’s clearly incapable of doing the job she was elected to do. None of this changes the fact that she is still a kind, considerate individual human being.

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        1. I don’t care if she’s nice !
          Go work in a flower shop and be nice !

          Her job is politics. And this problem is political !

          Do the political thing. Flex your power and tell Kemper to straighten up their act !

    3. He Kevin ?

      Who did Sam pick to replace Tami ?

      Seems like a key advisory position.

      Someone has to be doing it. Or not doing it

  1. This is beyond wrong.
    Just the lack of quorum is enough to call for someone to call a lawyer on behalf of all county residents and sue them.
    Then all the rest.
    Nepotism. Conflict of interest.
    County board members being on this board too.
    Then directing people to not talk to Kevin.
    Same shit over at Gateway. Nobody wants to defend themselves. Because they can’t !!!!
    Keep at it Kevin !!!

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    1. The agreement between the County & Kemper requires that a County Board Supervisor be appointed by the County Board Chair to sit on the Kemper Center Inc BOD as a representative of the County.

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        1. Laura Belskey was against appointing Gashke, wanted to open the position up for applications and was not able to make the “emergency” meeting where they didn’t have a quorum and yet still voted to hire the limp-d*ck Gaschke.

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  2. By the top picture he looks like one of these arrogant bolchevique pricks. Well, Worst Ever(s) is still the Governor around here. Nothing should be surprising us anymore.

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  3. Sam !! This is just another reason you very well may be a one term Executive.
    County exec is historically a long term seat.
    But might not be anymore.

    Come on Sam. Stand up and smell the coffee !!

    Us conservatives are behind you if you want to lead.
    But if you don’t, you’re GONE !!

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    1. Exactly what is Samantha Kerkman to do? Kemper Center Inc is a non-profit organization that is not run by Kenosha County.

      Let’s see what Gabe Nudo does since he was so upset about this when Kubicki was hired but has said nothing about Gaschke. It is the county board that is in charge of setting policy.

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      1. What is the legal relationship between Kenosha County and Kemper Center?

        Kenosha County owns the buildings and land which are commonly referred to as “Kemper,” and has designated them as a County park. The park includes the lands, Kemper Hall, and the Anderson Arts Center. We have leased the property to Kemper Center, Inc. (KCI), a non-profit organization which occupies and manages the property for Kenosha County.

  4. What was the EMERGENCY for the meeting ?
    And where was everybody ?
    Was it such a special meeting called in 24 or 48 hours ? That nobody could change their schedule ?
    If so, same question. Where was everybody?

    Ever heard of Zoom ??

    Was this a protest of refusing to show up so there wasn’t a quorum ?
    We’ve all seen that story before. Not showing up to prevent others from doing their jobs !
    Not a good look. No matter which side you’re on.

    No matter what the reason, not having a quorum needs to explained !!

    1. People have lives….you don’t always get a quorum when you call a last minute meeting. The fact that folks couldn’t make an unscheduled meeting is certainly not the biggest issue here.
      There is something fishy here for sure!!!

      1. Sure. No big deal.

        But then don’t have the meeting !!

        You just can’t change the rules like that.

        Legally that appointment is invalid.

        Just need a lawyer and a judge.

  5. Kevin, you keep uncovering corruption. I wish more local journalists would actually do their job like you. Without investigative
    journalists, the citizens are kept in the dark. Just wanted to say thanks.

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    1. Not doing investigative journalism is why newspapers are almost dead. Their purpose was to be a check on government.

    2. Calling Kevin an “investigative journalist” is not accurate. I consider him an “investigative reporter”.

  6. How is this any different from Celebre being forced to step down from the board because of being a public defender?

    It’s not. It’s the same picture. It’s only enforced when they *want* to.

    It also shows a complete lack of integrity on the part of Gaschke.

  7. The corruption in Kenosha is fully imbedded in nearly all of its government and connected non-profit institutions. The Kenosha News, by its refusal to do any investigative reporting, enabled and intensified it. Shame on them.

    Now KCE comes along and shines the light for all of us to see. Now their world is upside down.

    Thank you Kevin.

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    1. We laugh at Chicago politics we are being groomed to follow in step with there footsteps. Kerkman is a disappoint for Kenosha County!!!

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  8. If he is a member if the county board how can he then oversee another county position or the kemper Center which is county property

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  9. Gashke needs to do the right thing here. Step down as county supervisor. He needs to lead by example and show integrity.

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