A Brookfield contractor faces six counts of felony theft after being charged in Waukesha County Circuit Court Thursday.
Kevin Wahlgren is accused in six different instances over the past three years of improperly using funds provided by clients. The charges stem from a project to construct a new building for Lake Country Bible Church.
Wahlgren is a member of the city of Brookfield plan commission.
If convicted of all charges, Wahlgren faces up to 56 years in prison.
"I’m shocked, I don’t know anything about it and I’d like to learn more about it before I comment further," city of Brookfield mayor Steve Ponto said.
According to a criminal complaint, the Waukesha County Sheriff’s Department was first contacted about the case in July 2015 by an elder at the Lake Country Bible Church.
The elder told a detective that the church had contracted with Wahlgren-Schwenn Inc., based out of Menomonee Falls, for the construction of a church in the village of Nashotah. The elder said that he had primarily dealt with Wahlgren, president of Wahlgren-Schwenn.
According to the complaint, Lake Country Bible Church, Wahlgren-Schwenn and Wisconsin Title Services had a contract with a written agreement stating that Wahlgren-Schwenn would be the prime contractor for the new building. That agreement also stated that Wahlgren-Schwenn would request several draws from a total amount agreed upon to pay subcontractors throughout the building process.
According to the complaint, Wahlgren was to pay each subcontractor within 15 days of receiving a check from Wisconsin Title Services, but did not do so prior to requesting further funds.
In October of 2014, Wisconsin Title Services issued a check in the amount of $48,668 to Wahlgren-Schwenn. Wahlgren-Schwenn was then supposed to pay Tollefson Steel $9,970, but that payment was not made prior to Wahlgren-Schwenn’s next request for funds.
Five more instances of similar situations took place leading up to April 2015. In February, Teko Mechanical Inc. received a check from Wahlgren-Schwenn for $39,600; however, according to the complaint, Wahlgren had asked them not to cash it. A Teko Mechanical official inquired about cashing the check on four different occasions but was told that Wahlgren did not have the funds to cash the check.
Lake Country Bible Church and Wisconsin Title Services were made aware of the situation at this time. It was determined that Wisconsin Title Services would assume responsibility for paying all subcontractors directly beginning April 30, 2015.
According to the complaint, all prior past due bills to subcontractors were not paid by Wahlgren-Schwenn, though some subcontractors were paid by the church through civil negotiations.
Two subcontractors have since said that they did receive checks from Wahlgren-Schwenn but were unable to cash them either due to insufficient funds or Wahlgren-Schwenn having put a “stop order” on the check without explanation.
Attempts to contact Wahlgren were unsuccessful.