Former Midwest Horse Fair Director Arrested for Alleged Theft of 238K

December 28th, 2017 5:26 PM | No Comments

midwestPleasureHorse.com has confirmed that the former executive director for the Midwest Horse Fair, Rhonda Reese was arrested December 18th in Columbus, Wisconsin. Columbus police Lt. Dennis Weiner told the Wisconsin State Journal Reese was released Thursday on a signature bond pending formal charges, which Columbia County District Attorney Jane Kohlwey said she expects to file in January. 

A Columbus police search warrant alleges that Rhonda Reese, 50, used Midwest Horse Fair’s funds to make more than $238,000 in personal purchases, including her college tuition.

We spoke with the current executive director for the Midwest Horse Fair Megan Hanuszczak  “We can confirm that earlier this year, some irregularities were discovered in the Midwest Horse Fair’s financial records. After further review, a large misappropriation of funds was discovered and the amount is estimated at $238,000.” 

Reese was immediately terminated in July after serving as the Midwest Horse Fair’s executive director for the past 10 years upon the discovery of the missing funds. “Rhonda Reese was immediately terminated. The matter was reported to the Columbus Police Department for investigation and as of this past Monday an arrest has been made.” shared Hanuszczak

“This is still a very complex and ongoing investigation. While we can confirm the validity of the information in the search warrant, which is of public record, at the request of the Columbus Police Department, we will not be commenting on any further details of the investigation until it’s conclusion.”

Midwest Horse Fair has focused on how to prevent this situation from ever happening again. According to Hanuszczak “Immediately following this discovery, we focused on overhauling financial procedures. Our organization’s board and staff have worked together over the past several months and in conjunction with professionals to create a strong set of procedures and policies that will prevent potential thefts and misappropriations in the future. These new checks and balances will add the security and reassurance that we can prevent a situation of this nature from happening again.”

Looking towards the future, Hanuszczak shared that “Midwest Horse Fair has a 39-year history and a very strong future as one of the largest Horse Fairs in the country. This will not compromise our ability to produce a quality event for years to come. Every year we aim to be bigger and better than the year before and April 20-22, 2018 will be no different. We have an impressive line up of clinicians and entertainers, Two action packed nights of PRCA Rodeo and hundreds of vendors, events and horses to enjoy.”

As the police and Columbia County District Attorney continue to build the case against Reese, the Midwest Horse Fair is moving on to the 2018 show and their bright future.

We want to assure our attendees, participants, vendors and the community that Midwest Horse Fair is stable and will continue as usual with the next Great Midwest Horse Fair April 20, 21 & 22, 2018, at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison, Wis.”

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