U.S. Senate candidate faces charges of embezzlement, fraud

By: - September 8, 2021 5:51 pm
Chantia Lewis (Photo | City of Milwaukee)

Chantia Lewis (Photo | City of Milwaukee)

Milwaukee alderwoman and U.S. Senate candidate Chantia Lewis has been charged with defrauding the city and campaign donors of more than $21,000. The charges come from the office of Milwaukee District Attorney John Chisholm.

Lewis is charged with five felony offenses, including misconduct in office, theft by fraud, embezzlement and falsifying campaign finance reports. The embezzlement charge alone, Urban Milwaukee reported, carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine. Lewis says she is innocent, and calls the issues triggering the charges “accounting errors.”

The criminal complaint states that she “misappropriated funds belonging to her campaign by depositing campaign contributions into her personal bank accounts, as well as using campaign funds to pay for personal expenses.” It further reads that, “Lewis further falsely represented to the City of Milwaukee that she was owed reimbursement for expenses incurred on City-travel, when in fact she paid for those expenses out of her campaign account.”

The investigation started in May 2020 as a review of travel expenses and campaign finance disclosures from multiple council members. Lewis is accused of misusing funds for numerous things including trips to Las Vegas, Pittsburg, Houston, Washington D.C., Little Rock, Minneapolis, and Florida. She’s also accused of falsely reporting a donation more than twice the legal limit by developer Kalan Haywood, which was reported as being from three different people.

Lewis denounced the charges in a statement. “After four years as an elected official, we were recently advised, for the first time, by the DA’s office about some potential campaign reporting error,” she said. “Upon notification of these accounting errors, we have worked with and cooperated fully with the DA’s investigation. We will make the necessary corrections. But make no mistake, I am innocent of any criminal wrongdoing.” No other Milwaukee Common Council members have been charged in relation to this investigation.


This article was updated at 12:16 P.M. with information reflecting that other Milwaukee Common Council members have not been charged.

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Isiah Holmes
Isiah Holmes

Isiah Holmes is a journalist and videographer, and a lifelong resident of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Holmes' video work dates back to his high school days at Wauwatosa East High, when he made a documentary about the local police department. Since then, his writing has been featured in Urban Milwaukee, Isthmus, Milwaukee Stories, Milwaukee Neighborhood News Services, Pontiac Tribune, the Progressive Magazine, Al Jazeera, and other outlets. He was also featured in the 2018 documentary The Chase Key, and was the recipient of the Sierra Club Great Waters Group 2021 Environmental Hero of the Year award. The Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council also awarded Holmes its 2021-2022 Media Openness Award for using the open records laws for investigative journalism. Holmes was also a finalist in the 2021 Milwaukee Press Club Excellence in Journalism Awards alongside the rest of the Wisconsin Examiner's staff. The Silver, or second place, award for Best Online Coverage of News was awarded to Holmes and his colleague Henry Redman for an investigative series into how police responded to the civil unrest and protests in Kenosha during 2020. Holmes was also awarded the Press Club's Silver (second-place) award for Public Service Journalism for articles focusing on police surveillance in Wisconsin.