Two Walker allies stole over $63,000 from veterans’ charity Operation Freedom.

Veterans Charity Embezzlement

Operation Freedom Was A Non-Profit Charitable Enterprise That Had Been Operating Out Of The Milwaukee County Executive’s Office; Main Activities Were An Annual Veterans Picnic At The Milwaukee County Zoo And A Christmas Party For The Families Of Veterans  According to Criminal complaint against Kevin Kavanaugh, “Operation Freedom is a non-profit charitable enterprise that had been operating out of the Milwaukee County Executive’s Office. Darlene Wink managed Operation Freedom. Operation Freedom’s main activities were an annual veterans picnic at the Milwaukee County Zoo on July Fourth weekend and an annual Christmas party for the families of military service members.” [Criminal Complaint against Kevin Kavanaugh, accessed 2/18/14]

  • October 2009: Walker Ordered That American Legion Post No. 23 Cede Control Of Operation Freedom’s Books; Ordered Control Of The Finances To Be Transferred To A Group Run By Aide Tim Russell According to Journal Sentinel “Transferring control of funds for an annual veterans event – from an American Legion Post to an organization run by then-County Executive Scott Walker’s aide Tim Russell – was ordered by Walker in October 2009, according to a criminal complaint filed Thursday against Russell. Walker made the move after the Alonzo Cudworth American Legion Post No. 23 had performed what prosecutors now say was ‘exemplary’ work in managing the books of Operation Freedom, a recurring event honoring veterans held at the Milwaukee County Zoo.” [Journal Sentinel, 1/6/12]

Embezzlement From Operation Freedom

November 2012: Timothy D Russell Pled Guilty To Embezzling Over $21,000 From Veterans Nonprofit According to The Journal Sentinel, “Timothy D. Russell, a former aide to Gov. Scott Walker, pleaded guilty Thursday to embezzling more than $21,000 from a nonprofit group that raised money for veterans. Prosecutors charged Russell, 49, in January with stealing from a nonprofit that Walker assigned him to lead to raise funds for veterans and the annual Operation Freedom picnic the governor hosted while he was Milwaukee County executive.” [Journal Sentinel, 11/29/12]

January 2012: Kevin Kavanaugh Was Charged With Five Felonies For Theft And Fraudulent Writings By A Corporate Officer; Prosecutors Said He Stole More Than $42,000 In Donations Intended To Families Of US Service Members Killed Or Wounded In Iraq. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “Kavanaugh, 61, of Cudahy, is charged with five felonies for theft and fraudulent writings by a corporate officer. He was the treasurer of the Milwaukee Purple Heart chapter at the time of the dispute over the $11,000 for Operation Freedom. Prosecutors say he stole more than $42,000 in donations intended to families of U.S. service members killed or wounded in Iraq.” [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 1/5/12]