Boots & Sabers

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1055, 19 Jan 17

Former UWO Chancellor Accused of Illegal Use of Tax Money

Amazing how this can go on for so long and with so much money.

OSHKOSH – Former University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh Chancellor Richard Wells is accused of overseeing the illegal transfer of more than $11 million in university funds to support five Oshkosh-area building projects.

A lawsuit filed Wednesday in Dane County by the UW System claims Wells and Tom Sonnleitner, retired UWO vice chancellor of administrative services, made illegal financial guarantees between 2010 and 2014 to secure backing for high-profile building projects on and around the Oshkosh campus and later used university funds to support foundation projects, which is prohibited by state law.


Wells and Sonnleitner are accused of authorizing multiple transfers to the projects between 2010 and 2016. They included $1.46 million for the Alumni Welcome and Conference Center; $2.17 million for Best Western Premier Waterfront Hotel and Conference Center in downtown Oshkosh; $4.14 million for a biodigester in Rosendale that converts waste to energy; $2.33 million for a second biodigester on Witzel Avenue; and $806,000 for the Oshkosh Sports Complex, which includes Titan Stadium, according to the civil complaint.

Sonnleitner also authorized transfers to the foundation that were not tied to a specific projects, one of which occurred a week after he was suspended by the university. Those transfers totaled an additional $344,000, according to the complaint.

In October 2014, Sonnleitner also entered the university into a lease agreement with the foundation that obligated the university to pay $700,000 a year to use the biodigester. The university payments required by the lease were unconstitutional, the lawsuit claims.

That $11 million could have funded a lot of education for students. Also, remember that these same folks were crying poor to the legislature and the public as they were illegally funneling money to private projects.

I would suggest that law enforcement look into who was actually receiving all of this money and who the owners and investors of those companies are. Someone was benefiting from this.


1055, 19 January 2017

1 Comment

  1. Kevin Scheunemann

    …but UW is just being cash strapped by tuition freeze and Republican funding cuts…why aren’t liberals complaining this UW administrator is hurting quality of education???

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