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Felony theft charges filed against Wadena County GOP treasurer

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WADENA, Minn. - The treasurer of the Wadena County Republican Party has been charged with theft for allegedly embezzling from the organization.

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Party officials approached police on March 11 with inaccuracies in their bank account. A bookkeeping statement provided by Sue Rebischke, 60, of Wadena, whose full name is Linda Sue Rebischke, showed a balance in the account on Dec. 31, 2009 of $4,734.66. However, according to a statement from the bank, there was only $47.47 in the account.

The committee's bylaws require two signatures on each check, but some were turned in only signed by Rebischke, according to a police report. Of those 88 checks, 65 checks were written directly to Rebischke, 22 were written to area businesses and one was to charity. The checks totaled $10,303.92; however, Rebischke made four reimbursement payments totaling $6,500, leaving a difference of $3,803.92, according to documents handed over to police by the party.

On March 12, Rebischke voluntarily went to the Wadena Police Department to talk to an officer about her involvement with the money. She said during the last two years of the four to five she was treasurer, she started taking money from the organization. Some of the money, she said, was to help a son in Alaska. She said her husband did not know she was giving the son money, and wouldn't have approved of it, because he believes in working for it. She said other times, she took the money for personal items or to gamble in casinos, hoping she could win back enough to reimburse the party. Rebischke allegedly admitted to police she took about $200 a week from the organization since September 2008. She said she did, at times, make reimbursement payments, but acknowledged she hadn't replaced all of the money.

In a letter dated March 14, 2010, Rebischke wrote a letter to the committee saying she couldn't be there in person because of a family matter, but protested that she was being asked to resign. "I will not resign," she wrote, "as I feel I have done a good job, my reports are accurate and on time. I guess I will have to take this matter to the convention and have them fire me." She also submitted a bill for Web hosting she did for the party and for expenses in 2008 and 2009 totalling $436.60, according to the letter.

Rebischke was charged April 29 in Wadena County District Court with two felonies: theft -- take/use/transfer movable property with no consent, and theft by check.

Her first court appearance was scheduled for May 24.

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