By Shereen Siewert
A former Wausau-area bar owner who stole tens of thousands of dollars from the Marathon County Tavern League’s operating fund will spend four months in jail – but will avoid a felony conviction if he stays out of trouble for two years.
Daniel T. Elliott, 55, appeared Thursday in Marathon County Circuit Court, where he pleaded guilty to one felony and one misdemeanor charge of theft in a business setting. Under the terms of a plea agreement, Circuit Judge Jill Falstad found Elliott guilty of the misdemeanor charge but agreed to defer judgment on the felony charge for two years.
In two years, the felony charge will be dismissed if Elliott complies with all terms and conditions of his plea agreement and obtains no new criminal charges.
Wausau Pilot and Review first reported on the allegations in October when Dale Eaton, an attorney for the league, confirmed a former member was under investigation after financial irregularities suggested league funds were being used for individual use.
Elliott, who was the former co-owner of Big Dan & Space’s Kelly Club in Weston, was formally charged Dec. 17.
Elliott, of Weston, was voted off the board on July 24, after which the alleged irregularities came to light, according to an October statement by Atty. Eaton.
Members of the league were updated on the situation during a special meeting Oct. 7. According to a criminal complaint filed Dec. 17, Elliott admitted writing checks from the organization to cash and to the Kelly Club to pay bills, and said he hoped to repay the Marathon County Tavern League about $100,000 after the sale of his house closed.
Elliott subsequently sold his interest in Kelly Club and has paid restitution in full.
During Thursday’s hearing, Judge Falstad ordered the jail sentence for Elliott, who is also required to attend a victim impact panel, write apology letters to the State Tavern League, the Marathon County Tavern League and to one additional victim, according to online court records.
He will be eligible for work release if he meets jail criteria.