A former director of the Midwest Horse Fair pleaded not guilty this week to 41 felony counts of fraud and 19 counts of theft. Rhonda Reese of Columbus, Wisconsin is accused of embezzling around $239,000 while she was employed there from 2007 to 2017.
According to the criminal complaint filed in January, the 51-year-old is accused of writing more than 40 checks to herself and making personal purchases on a Horse Fair debit card.
Midwest Horse Fair, held at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison, Wisconsin, is one of the largest three-day horse fairs in America. In terms of numbers, the Midwest Horse Fair brings in 61,000 attendees, 350 volunteers, 500 vendors, 700 horses, 300 clinics, lectures and performances, and has an $11 million economic impact.
The Midwest Horse Fair is owned by the Wisconsin Horse Council, Inc. All proceeds from the Fair are returned to the WHC and are used to represent and foster a unified equine industry in Wisconsin, to promote the equine through leadership, education, service, and communication, and to take a proactive role in the future growth and development of the equine industry.