A lot of us today were trying to figure out how protesters managed to inflict a devastating $7.5 million worth of damage to the state Capitol building. But the state Department of Administration wasn't talking.

The claim was made this week by a state Department of Administration official during court hearings on restricting access to the building. The official said the inside of the Capitol was damaged to the tune of $6 million. Outside damage was expected to cost $1 million, and there was another $500,000 in additional expenses. Much of the purported damage was from tape used to display posters on the walls.

The http://www.jsonline.com/news/statepolitics/117409458.html">Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported today that the state is backing away from the estimates, the origin of which is still in question.

The International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 7 -- which claims over 100 years of experience in painting and in the removal of adhesive tapes from the Capitol building -- also weighed in on the matter today.

"After inspecting the Capitol early Friday morning, I am 100 percent confident that any so-called 'damage' done by community members expressing their First Amendment rights is nowhere near $7 million," says IUPAT business manager John Jorgensen in a written statement. "This estimate is yet another gross overreach. I would like to personally offer IUPAT labor on a volunteer basis to address any alleged damage from protesters' signs and tape during the protests."


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