KISSIMMEE, Fla. — A former Kissimmee firefighter who was fired late last year after an internal investigation is now facing charges.
- Former Lt. Kenneth Kurth, girlfriend arrested this week
- They're accused of making almost $40,000 in improper purchases
- Kurth had more than 10 years with Kissimmee Fire Department
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A separate law enforcement investigation concluded that former Lt. Kenneth Kurth and his girlfriend misused thousands of dollars in union money.
According to the Seminole and Lake County sheriff’s offices, Kurth and his girlfriend, Chelsea Brockenbrough, were arrested Wednesday and charged with organized fraud and conspiracy to commit organized fraud out of Osceola County.
Kurth, who had more than a decade of service with the Kissimmee Fire Department and was a former IAFF Local 4208 union president, is accused of making improper purchases of almost $40,000 for nonunion activities, according to a Kissimmee Fire internal administrative investigation first obtained by the Spectrum News 13 Watchdog team late last year.
That investigation determined that Kurth told other union leaders that Brockenbrough mixed up their debit cards and that they'd pay back the money. Instead, that check for a little more than $16,000 bounced.
The Kissimmee Fire Department fired Kurth in December of last year.
“It just affected his relationship and his ability to work here, especially as a lieutenant and a supervisor in this department," said Kissimmee Fire Chief Jim Walls at the time of Kurth’s firing. "And he has just lost a lot of trust that he built up and that is needed to be in this organization.”
Walls said Kurth did not misuse taxpayer dollars or city funds, but his alleged mishandling of union funds is considered a violation of city administrative rules and regulations.
Stephen Gonnella, current president of Kissimmee Professional Firefighters IAFF Local 4208, provided this statement:
“The Kissimmee Professional Firefighters risk their lives every day for the citizens of Kissimmee and we were taken advantage of by people we trusted. Our members pay dues expecting their hard earned money to be used appropriately and every one of our members is a victim here. We are looking forward to this being resolved through the legal system, and have faith that justice will be served for our members.”
Both Kurth and Brockenbrough have since posted bond.