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Former top Walker aide Russell had previously been fired for 'gross misconduct'

A former top aide to Gov. Scott Walker accused of embezzling money meant for veterans was previously fired from a state job for "gross misconduct," including misuse of public funds, newly released records show.

Tim Russell, who served as deputy chief of staff and county housing director during Walker's tenure as Milwaukee County executive, was fired nearly two decades ago from the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA), according to his personnel file, which was released through an open records request.

Earlier this month, Russell was accused of embezzling money meant for veterans and spending some of the cash on things like trips to Hawaii and the Caribbean. He was charged with three counts of embezzlement, two of them felonies.

Walker campaign spokeswoman Ciara Matthews said "the governor was not aware" of Russell's firing from WHEDA.

Russell was fired from his WHEDA job in May 1993 after the quasi-public authority investigated his charging of personal hotel expenses from the Inn on the Park in Madison to WHEDA, and found he had improperly billed 23 overnight stays totaling $1,123.

The authority said Russell had "misused and abused" its travel and expense budget, provided "false or misleading information" and failed to reimburse WHEDA for personal expenses.

"We have considered carefully the disciplinary options available and have come to the conclusion that we have no other alternative than to terminate your employment, effective immediately," Russell's termination letter from May 10, 1993, reads. "Our decision is based upon our evaluation of the seriousness of your misconduct."

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