Gov. Scott Walker’s top aides and a powerful lobbyist pressed for a taxpayer-funded loan in 2011 to a financially struggling Milwaukee construction company that lost the state half a million dollars, created no jobs and raised questions about where the money went, a State Journal investigation has found.

The extraordinary steps led the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. in 2011 to award a $500,000 unsecured loan to Building Committee Inc., owned by William Minahan, for a proposed project to retrofit bank and credit union buildings for energy efficiency.

The loan, which was not repaid, is one of several agency awards that state auditors have questioned since Walker created the agency in 2011. Last year, WEDC, the state’s flagship job-creation agency, took the unusual step of suing BCI in an attempt to get the money back.

The failed deal was made at the urging of then-Administration Secretary Mike Huebsch, who wanted WEDC to provide a forgivable loan to the company eight times that size, according to Paul Jadin, former CEO of WEDC.

Walker’s office confirmed that Huebsch introduced the company’s owner to Jadin. Lobbyist Eric Petersen, who represented BCI and Minahan, and Keith Gilkes, Walker’s former campaign manager who was the governor’s chief of staff at the time, met in June 2011 with Huebsch and Minahan to discuss the loan, according to records obtained by the State Journal under the state’s open records law.

Hours after his office released those and other records to the State Journal on Friday, Walker, who is considering a 2016 presidential bid, called on the Legislature to scrap WEDC’s entire loan program, citing a recent legislative audit.

The push to fund the BCI project came after Minahan gave Walker’s 2010 Republican campaign for governor a last-minute infusion of $10,000 on Election Day — the maximum individual contribution.

Jadin said Minahan and Huebsch -- a nonvoting member of the WEDC board by virtue of his role as Administration secretary -- pushed for a $4.3 million WEDC loan, but the agency could justify no more than a $500,000 loan, which Jadin said he considered “fairly risky.”

“I wanted to assist the company to the extent that they qualified given that it had such a strong endorsement from Secretary Huebsch,” Jadin said.

The State Journal investigation found that Huebsch, a former Assembly speaker from West Salem, was advocating for the taxpayer loan to BCI as the now-defunct company was collapsing.

The State Journal also found that:

  • WEDC awarded the unsecured loan to BCI only after Huebsch and other DOA officials were unable to find funding from state or federal energy programs or the utility-funded Focus on Energy program, according to a May 2011 memo.
  • WEDC was unable to locate the original underwriting documents justifying the $500,000 loan to BCI. Huebsch’s agency had offered to conduct a “staff review” of the proposed loan for WEDC, but state officials said that review never happened.
  • On his 2011 WEDC loan application, Minahan checked “no” when asked if BCI or any of its officers had been sued in the previous five years, although electronic court records show three such lawsuits.
  • After Jadin left the agency, WEDC approved BCI’s request for more time to repay the loan and helped it seek federally subsidized energy bonding even as other creditors filed lawsuits against BCI and Minahan seeking half a million dollars for unpaid bills.
  • Minahan listed La Crosse-based Michaels Energy and UW-Milwaukee as partners in the proposed project. But the owner of Michaels Energy and the dean of the UW-Milwaukee School of Architecture and Urban Design said their organizations never received any proceeds from the state loan and did little or no work on the project.

Minahan sent two short emails in response to a set of detailed questions posed by the State Journal. He chalked up the failure of the loan to the recession’s impact on the construction industry.

“Having worked in the construction industry since 1982, Wisconsin-based BCI was fortunate to serve the planning, design and construction management needs of hundreds of clients across the country,” Minahan wrote. “WEDC’s initial financial support of our efforts demonstrates their shared vision to find efficiencies and to reduce energy costs for existing private sector and municipally owned buildings in Wisconsin.”

Huebsch, who has since been appointed by the governor to a $129,000-a-year job at the Public Service Commission, released a statement through DOA spokesman Cullen Werwie. In it, he acknowledges working to find funding for Minahan’s project through his former agency and WEDC.

“As the Secretary of DOA, I often worked to connect small businesses with resources that could lead to job creation,” Huebsch’s statement said. “After the initial connection, there was some additional follow-up on my part with WEDC to ask that it be clearly communicated to BCI what additional resources, if any, may be available, as well as to ask that the denial of additional loan funds be communicated directly to BCI.”

Walker spokeswoman Laurel Patrick said Walker was not aware of Minahan’s donation to his gubernatorial campaign. According to the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, Minahan was one of 32 people who made the maximum $10,000 individual donation to Friends of Scott Walker in 2010.

Petersen said he was not involved in Minahan’s donation but represented clients who did give to Walker’s campaign.

Patrick also said Friday the governor, who chairs the WEDC board, “has not met with Mr. Minahan, nor was he involved in or aware of any part of the loan process concerning The Building Committee Inc.”

She added that “there was no further contact or involvement with our office beyond the initial meeting” involving Gilkes.

In calling Friday for an end to the loan program, Walker did not mention the BCI loan. Instead he cited a recent Legislative Audit Bureau report that found the agency did not always follow its internal policies, including verifying the number of jobs created by aid recipients.

The audit also found that while WEDC had reduced its outstanding loans from $4.2 million to $1.3 million in 2014, most of the decline was due to loans being extended, forgiven or written off.

The $500,000 BCI award was one of 10 loans the agency wrote off last year.

Huebsch pushes funding

Minahan met with Walker administration officials to discuss the loan proposal in June 2011 as Walker was launching WEDC, a public-private organization designed to be more nimble and competent than its predecessor, the Department of Commerce. Walker had promised to help create 250,000 jobs during his first term, and forming the agency was a key vehicle to achieving that goal. In the end, Walker fell short by 100,000 jobs.

Jadin, WEDC’s first chief executive, said Minahan and Huebsch initially sought a $4.3 million forgivable loan for BCI, which specialized in building bank and credit union buildings. The company said its project to retrofit financial buildings for energy efficiency would generate 155 jobs in Wisconsin.

It was the only time Huebsch pushed for a specific deal, Jadin said, adding he first learned of the proposal from Huebsch.

“I don’t recall another situation where the secretary became an advocate,” he said.

Jadin said he told Huebsch he would have the agency’s underwriters check BCI’s financial viability and come back with a recommendation.

On Sept. 3, 2011, Chris Schoenherr, then-head of DOA’s energy division, sent a WEDC official information about the project, saying “we are on a tight time frame on the first stage of this.”

Weeks later, Jadin signed a $500,000, one-year, unsecured loan. WEDC spokesman Mark Maley said the agency is unable to locate the underwriting documents supporting the loan.

Jadin said Minahan and Huebsch continued to press the case for additional funding after the initial award. Emails show Minahan had multiple contacts with WEDC in late 2011 and early 2012. The agency and Minahan corresponded about terms for additional money.

In one case, WEDC offered BCI another $500,000 if Minahan agreed to provide a personal guarantee of $1 million, which he rejected in February 2012. A few months later, a WEDC underwriter recommended against another proposal, for a $1.5 million loan, noting “the value of the business owned is hard to determine without any supporting financial documentation.”

“At this point in time,” the underwriter wrote, “there does not appear to be a clear source of repayment for the ($500,000) loan. In addition, there does not appear to be adequate collateral to secure additional WEDC funding.”

After the loan was granted, Jadin said he met with Minahan and Huebsch to discuss additional financing.

He said the BCI owner was unable to answer questions about how retrofitting banks and credit unions for energy efficiency would generate jobs aside from “normal construction on normal construction projects.”

“We concluded it was already a fairly risky loan and decided not to provide any additional funding,” Jadin said. “I had very significant concerns about (Minahan’s) ability to deliver on the basic business premise. I believe my position was clear and unambiguous, and Secretary Huebsch understood there were no more funds forthcoming, and he dropped it.”

A state audit later noted the underwriters had warned the original deal did not include any collateral from its owner, meaning the state would not be able to seize property — such as Minahan’s $975,000 home in River Hills — in the case of a default. Jadin said he did not recall that aspect of the loan.

Jadin, a Republican and former mayor of Green Bay, left WEDC on Nov. 1, 2012, a month after the loan was due, to head up MadREP, an economic development group in Madison.

WEDC extends loan

As 2012 came to a close, a BCI representative told WEDC it had run out of money for the project, agency records show. WEDC’s management team, excluding CEO Reed Hall, authorized extending the loan due date to Aug. 1, 2013, Maley said.

In the seven months after the new loan due date, WEDC sent BCI six notices warning the loan was overdue and then in default. Even as it was sending those notices, WEDC and Huebsch’s Department of Administration continued to help BCI in its ultimately unsuccessful effort to secure $4.5 million in federal energy conservation bond funding.

Last July, WEDC sued the company seeking repayment of the loan. On Nov. 4 — the day Walker was elected to his second term as governor — a Dane County Circuit Court judge ordered BCI to repay the loan plus interest totaling $542,000. BCI has not repaid the loan.

Hall, Jadin’s successor, declined to be interviewed.

“Throughout this process, WEDC diligently monitored and tracked this loan,” Maley said. “When it became clear BCI was unable to secure funding to repay the loan, WEDC aggressively pursued repayment through past-due and default notices, and eventually by taking the company to court to secure a judgment against BCI.”

The $500,000 loan may have been even riskier than WEDC officials knew.

The loan application asked whether the applicant or any owner or officer had been sued in the previous five years, warning that the applicant “will be deemed ineligible and denied based on the falsification of information.” Minahan checked “no” to that question.

But electronic court records show at least three lawsuits against the company in 2010, including one in which BCI was ordered to pay $14,364 to Superior Safe & Security of Green Bay. The second was a $15,800 tax warrant from the state of Wisconsin that Minahan paid. The third was filed by an Oshkosh custom millwork company but was dismissed.

It’s also unclear what work BCI performed on the taxpayer-funded energy project.

A 2012 report to WEDC from Minahan purported to detail how the funding was used, but it did not list who did what work nor how much they were paid. The three buildings it said were readied for retrofit were not identified, nor were the seven buildings that the report said had preliminary planning work done on them.

Officials with La Crosse-based Michaels Energy and UW-Milwaukee also questioned BCI’s characterization of them in the report as partners in the project.

Michaels Energy’s owner David Waffenschmidt told the State Journal that he spoke with Minahan and BCI chief operating officer David Jaeckels in 2009 about a possible retrofit project and did some preliminary work on it but assumed the proposal had been dropped.

“We were not aware of, and not party to, the contract between Building Committee Inc. and WEDC, nor did we receive any payment from Building Committee Inc. or anyone else for our work on these development efforts,” Waffenschmidt said. “We talked about doing this, but that’s all the farther it went.”

Robert Greenstreet, dean of the UW-Milwaukee architectural school, said he discussed the energy retrofit project with Minahan and Jaeckels and helped submit applications for federal funding. But Greenstreet said it was his perception that BCI “collapsed,” no federal money was secured, and he assumed the project never got off the ground. Greenstreet recalled Minahan saying BCI had lined up state funding, but there was a delay in getting the money.

“The long and short of it is, we have not done any work on this project at all,” he said.

Editor's Note: This story has been amended online to reflect that Mike Huebsch is a nonvoting board member of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.

Contact reporter Matthew DeFour at mdefour@madison.com and 608-252-6144. Contact reporter Dee J. Hall at dhall@madison.com or 608-252-6132.

Matthew DeFour covers state government for the Wisconsin State Journal.

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(186) comments

kula88

Thank you for some decent investigative journalism. Finally. Perhaps Walker's snide stump speech comments about reporters are starting to get to the SJ staff. For example on 02-23-15 Mr. Walker said: “stand up against the publicity hounds and the journalistic pack” and “show the clueless and mindless journalistic herd that you know what matters most and that it is not the pointless minutiae that they are pushing.”

calme

A little comparison and perspective...

The average SNAP recipient in the state of Wisconsin receives $116.56 monthly, or $1,398.72 annually. At that rate, the $500,000 in taxpayer money that was handed over to this single company as an apparent kickback for a donation to the governor would have covered food stamps for 357 Wisconsin citizens in poverty.

Yet, you will never hear anyone on the right-wing complain about these types of "loans", which are granted with full understanding they will go unpaid and eventually be forgiven (as has been the norm under this administration). Who are the real "welfare queens" that are "sucking the government teet" and "living on the taxpayer's dime", here?

Some people need to wake up to the reality around them. Instead of demonizing those that have less than most, turn your attention and anger to this kind of crony-capitalistic B.S. that is sucking millions of dollars of taxpayer money out of the state coffers, the pockets of individual citizens, and the economy. THIS is the problem. Not the relative pittance devoted to social safety net programs. If you are expecting individual citizens to "pull themselves up by their bootstraps" and refrain from the minimal government assistance offered to individuals, then start expecting the same of business owners and leaders of corporations.

bdevil2016
bdevil2016

nicely stated, calme ! People do need to wake up to the reality around them!

freddiebell

calme: You make good points all around. Unfortunately they are lost upon your audience, which is much more interested in playing politics with these issues than arriving at any fair and equitable real world solutions. Our collective best interests are not their priority. Getting their own kind elected and in position to wield influence is what it is all about. All else is simply a means to that end.

To be fair, such abusers exist on both sides of the political spectrum. But as we have seen for the last four-plus years here in Wisconsin, the WEDC example being just the latest evidence, they have become particularly egregious on the political right, sadly the side that used to strive to set a moral high ground but which now has become obsessed with winning at all costs, in an all-or-nothing approach. It is not the GOP I was raised with, respected, and voted for. As they lost me with their shenanigans, they will lose others. When their day of reckoning finally arrives, as it always does eventually in politics, they will have no one to blame but themselves for a mess that they blindly refused to clean up.

tomtom34

And Solyndra got $500 million. Government simply cannot control itself. The IRS cannot account for all of its money. Nor can the military.

madisonion

That's a copout, tom, and you know it. It's not that hard to do due diligence before approving a business for a loan (i.e., a CCAP search or other background research) or to keep accurate records of the decision--let alone following up at a specific period after the loan is granted. There are automated processes to do a lot of this.

tomtom34

No copout. Government cannot do it right. Government, neither State nor federal, should be in the business of picking winners and losers. Let that up to the banks. It is their money.

jonas

So if you don't like it tomtom, then why don't you give equal criticism to the right in your posts? The fact is Obama's green energy initiatives, which Solyndra was a part of, have been a wild success. So what do you do? You cherry pick one of a small percentage of companies who failed. It's pathetic and so is your attempt to act like your partisan posts aren't partisan.

mollyjb
mollyjb

Scott Walker wanted to become the emperor of Wisconsin so he banished the Commerce Dept which was creating jobs and instead came up with the WEDC and put himself in charge. The main thing the WEDC seems to be creating are questionable loans to campaign donors of Walker.

wilbur25

Pertaining to WEDC, has anyone looked into the loans made in Superior, any evidence that jets will ever be built there?

wilbur25

Nothing criminal about the workings of the governors WEDC???

Maerzie
Maerzie

This will showcase Walker's incompetence to the entire country, once and for all! The Wizard of Oz has tripped himself up!

Maerzie
Maerzie

This is hilarious! It's all going to come crashing down on the pathological liar, con-artist, shyster!

ButSiriuslyFolks

By the way, those of you citing the quid pro quo of Doyle and Burke....you got it!

Why would you think people on the left will rush to defend people who no longer hold office (and likely never will again)?

Absolutely--charge Doyle with high crimes and misdemeanors. Arrest Burke for malfeasance and being derelict with public funds. Send them both to jail for decades.

And now....Huebesch and Walker? Same treatment? Hey. I'm all for it. What'd good for one is good for the other.

The reality is that this is what is happening now, and there's nothing that makes it right with a quid pro quo. It's a cowardly, intellectually dishonest, fallacious argument. And you know that.

The reality is that these public-private partnerships don't work. At least in the Burke days, that was the Department of Commerce and everything was open to the public (or should have been). They were forced to keep things on the up-and-up, and that was a case of an investment that went very bad.

But private sector CEOs aren't used to transparency. There's a lot of greased palms, payoffs, slush funds, and hush money that no one knows anything about. I think the folks running this WEDC are shocked that people can find things out and hold them accountable for it.

Walker trusts these folks because they pay his way, and they own businesses and stuff, so they must know how to run things, right? In the end, that's not how it works, and history is littered with people who run their businesses very well but can't handle public office...you see, their businesses can be run below board. Public office (and public-private partnerships) can't.

jimatmadison

Time for a Federal investigation.

I'm old enough to remember being teased by my Illinois friends over Wisconsin's naive, squeaky clean government.

Wisconsin has become a political cesspool. Gogebic should have resulted in criminal charges against the Republicans. They got away with that so they just kept on.

This administration stands against everything that has made Wisconsin the great state that I love.

Comment deleted.
Wis_BlogRider

Agree. He will do himself in without any further need of wasting time on any investigation.

Fflambeau

Follow the money trail. It leads all the way to the corrupt Gov. Walker.

Gov. Scott Walker = career politician = corruption

bdevil2016
bdevil2016

I thought the tea partiers were against career politicians... wait, that was Russ... their rules don't apply to Walker or Ryan. Johnson is more their cup of tea.. WOW!

jenzut

I'd LOVE to hear Georgia Thompson's take on this mess!

Nav1

tomtom34,

How long will it take for you and other Conservatives like Norwood44 to understand that people are not impressed with "both sides do it" argument. They want honesty in their Government, and they should not be asked to give equal forgiveness.


tomtom34

How long will it take you to understand that I have never made that argument. I have argued for uniform standards applied equally. Government at any level should not be in the job of picking winners and losers. Government by its very nature cannot handle much of anything very efficiently.

Nav1

You always make that argument! The voters will decide who they want to believe who they want to believe or not. based on many of the current polls out there, it seems to me that many are leaving the extreme Republican party nationwide.

tomtom34

It seems to me that Democrats have been shown the door in big numbers nationwide. Are you related to Baghdad Bob?

Cornelius_Gotchberg
Cornelius_Gotchberg

@Nav/Nav1/Liberalsmakesense/Columbo/etc;

"The voters will decide who they want to believe who they want to believe or not."

Simply brilliant! @tt34 sugar-coated it for you, Lefty, et al, has been summarily dispatched at the polls of late.

You're just like the Warmalista Alarmacysts or the Nut Case Preachers, making slobbering predictions that never come true.

"based on many of the current polls out there, IT SEEMS TO ME that many are leaving the extreme Republican party nationwide." (bolds mine)

"Seems" to you? And you're back to believing polls again?

Go ahead and cite 5 or 10 of them, IT SEEMS TO ME that shouldn't be too hard?

Unless you're just throwing nether nuggets at the wall again and didn't want anyone to embarrassingly blow your NYT or MSLSD reader/watcher survey clear out of the water.

The Gotch


hankdog

tt:

See below. Your words, all of them. Now tell us all that the "both sides do it" argument has never come from you.

" However, the same questions were asked about Solyndra and many other Obama boondoggles."

"We might want to check out the Clinton foundation as well."


"Did Tom Barrett, Jim Doyle, Obama or Biden ever have one drop of business experience?"

"You forgot Koch, CU, corporations, the rich, WMC, and the GOP. TEA Party?"

freddiebell

hankdog (and Nav1): In fairness to tomtom, I do believe he is accurate and honest in saying that he advocates for equal treatment in the case of corruption or mismanagement of public monies, based on his response to me yesterday -- it was in a comment that I made, and which he responded to, that this particular thread originated, thus my insertion here into the debate.

To be sure, tomtom defends Republican interests and his perspective consistently leans in that direction. That is no secret to any of us who have been on these boards for some time now. But the fact that he does so does not mean that he gives a free pass to any Republicans who are malfeasant with our funds or our trust. It is possible to sympathize with one side politically but demand that both sides play by the rules, which is what he is doing in this case.

We usually are on the same side of arguments here, but in this case I think tomtom deserves the benefit of the doubt, and that his words do in fact indicate that he, too, would demand action if evidence is found that the Republicans have dropped the ball on WEDC and, especially, if there is intentional misbehavior on their part in the process. So my honest two cents' worth anyway.

hankdog

freddie:

I respect your opinion of tomtom, but his past statements have proven him to be anything but an advocate for equal treatment in the case of corruption, mismanagement, etc. Just note the "boondoggle" statement above. He is quick to "demonize" those to the left of him, but seldom actually comes out and condemns anything on the right. That is his right to do so, but his pithy one-liner opinion statements need rebuttal when they breech the bounds of "truthiness".

tomtom34

Thanks freddie. I do want equal treatment. That is why I cite areas that have been treated differently.

Hank reads things the way he wants to read them. And he is perfectly free to do so. That does not mean, however, that he reads anything correctly. Those lenses can be quite distorting.

Nav, of course, is completely in his own world.

I have never justified anything by saying that both sides do it. Treat both sides the same. If you don't like possible corruption, chase it as it arises regardless of party. I spent a working lifetime in politics in one way or another. I had Chuck Chvala personally lean on me big-time for money. I know that you have to pay to play. Politicians from both sides extort business. Most of that extortion is legally done. I never did like that.

I have never demonized. I have disagreed, sometimes vociferously. There is a huge difference between disagreement and demonizing. Ask Saul Alinsky.

Kirsten Powers just released her book, The Silencing: How the Left is Killing Free Speech. I have just started it. Both Nav and Hank employ devices she cites in her book. Since I don't agree with them, they want to attack me. I can discuss and disagree with freddie. And we mostly disagree. But we do not do so disagreeably.

NotBeingPaid

I wonder what the Chairman of the Board will have to say about this. Maybe he can make a statement and answer questions the next time he decides to briefly pass through Wisconsin while on his way to another campaign (wait... he can't have a campaign since that would be illegal) stop.

Maybe we can also get Huebsch to answer some questions. Preferably both are under oath while doing so.

Walker has been a disaster for this state. His supporters have to go back five years to find a scapegoat, ignoring the fact the WEDC didn't even exist yet then. I can't wait to see the next poll regarding his approval ratings.

This man is a disaster, and he thinks he should be POTUS. Hah!

Wis_taxpayer
Wis_taxpayer

We need a Federal investigation!

everclear

Too bad our corrupt AG will never look into this, time to call in the Feds, as the state is being run by a criminal enterprise.

Lumberjack

Once again we come to understand what Mr. Walker means by Wisconsin being "open for business."

Comment deleted.
Mongo1958

Exactly - Good Job picking out all of the tactics they use.

liverpool

"Blame has to be accepted at the top. Walker created this entity. He is Governor. He is chairman of the board. He accepted the campaign "donation". Walker needs to spend some more time in State fixing the messes he has created rather then parading around the country trying to extend his record as a career politician and lying about his success."

Walker doesn't have to accept blame. He'll spew out some lies totally unrelated to the subject and say it is all working for the hardworking taxpayers. His supporters are too stupid to to realize they are being taken for a ride.


Read more: http://host.madison.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/top-scott-walker-aides-pushed-for-questionable-wedc-loan/article_2a29333c-c3dd-50ac-a4b6-c333506530e0.html#ixzz3aQqeSE28

ChooChoo

This story has the smell of gun smoke. Keep digging!

Comment deleted.
bookman21
bookman21

When you're wrong, change the subject.

lute

Nice reporting! This story isn't even close to being over.

There just has to someone at WEDC in charge of shredding documents and destroying hard drives:

"Weeks later, Jadin signed a $500,000, one-year, unsecured loan. WEDC spokesman Mark Maley said the agency is unable to locate the underwriting documents supporting the loan."

rgoppelt
rgoppelt

When will we see an investigation and jailing of the culprits responsible for this payola scheme. I remember that woman was jailed during the Doyle administration on fictious charges in the travelgate scheme. She was exonerated. She was a victim of a Republican made up scandal. Now we have a real scandal and there is no outcry for an independent investigation. I would call this sandal WEDCgate. Walkers' Economic Disaster Council or How much more money can we fleece out of the taxpayers and give it to my campaign contributors. By the way, the guy gave Walker $10,000 and got a unsecured loan forgiven for $500,000. He was leasing a Maserati. He was living large on our tax money. Way to Go,Scotty, Another brilliant way to push our state to the bottom. We are even more corrupt than Christie in New Jersey.

nottodayok

Wow!! Maybe he should have stayed where he could have learned more about foreign policy. Wow, I'm speechless. OMG.

Dawnzad
Dawnzad

Great reporting Dee Hall and Matt Defour. Looking forward to reading the second part of this investigation on Monday.

snootyelites

Here comes the clown parade. Economic Development will have ups & downs. The bigger threat is the unelected & unaccountable $2 trillion big government. Most of these comments come from government workers with pensions that are a bigger ripoff than any corporate welfare.

If you think economic development is a problem then go looking in the mirror!

snowdog71

So why is delayed salary a ripoff Snotty? Call it anything else and you are lying, so again, why is it a ripoff?

BananaSplitz
BananaSplitz

Working off clock, I see.

iponder

Blame has to be accepted at the top. Walker created this entity. He is Governor. He is chairman of the board. He accepted the campaign "donation". Walker needs to spend some more time in State fixing the messes he has created rather then parading around the country trying to extend his record as a career politician and lying about his success.

array1

Scott walkers incompetence is well known but this goes beyond that. John Doe 3.

BananaSplitz
BananaSplitz

How quickly instead of discussing the topic at hand, we get yells of "Benghazi!" and other completely unrelated things.

Lumberjack

Drug test those in need of food stamps and unemployment because they can't be trusted. For business, the state coffers are a private piggy bank. All the so called conservative principles the GOP basis its governing on is nothing but propaganda for election. Once in power, they are equal to the banksters in action.

Bucky24

Scott Walker is chairman of WEDC. This agency that he has created has been an epic failure. When another report comes out showing corruption, Scott Walker decides to shut down the loan department because he got caught. Pay to play politics from Scott Walker is nothing new. Wisconsin taxpayers are on the hook for this failed agency. Employees have been jumping off this sinking ship. Those that played Scott's game well, were moved to other agencies making 6 figure salaries for their assistance in Scott's corruption. Scott Waker tells so many lies, he actually believes in them. #draftingerror has been proven to be just another lie in a long list of Scott Walker lies that have resulted in crowning Scott Walker the most dishonest governor in history. People need to wake up and see Scott Walker for who he truly is: A corrupt narcissistic sociopathic liar that has spent his entire political career campaigning for a higher office on the taxpayers dime while leaving his current office a total mess. Why do people support this guy?

notakers

I too am disappointed in the loss of a $500,000 loan but the state has been dumping over a $1,000,000,000 into the UW system each biennium which is wasted because of shared governance. Let the chancellor act like a CEO and bring some efficiency to the UW.

number6

Yes, indeed! And the world has wasted untold billions trying to cure cancer!

irisK

http://www.wisc.edu/governance/

Fear Knot, The new Wisconsin Idea: Conservatism is "Progressive"

snootyelites

Garbage! If this is the criteria let's start looking at every penny that Jim Doyle doled out of federal ARRA aka Stimulus money. The irony is Jim Doyle actually took pictures doling out this money. Yes most of them went on to make campaign donations.

How about start looking at every business failure in the country and start linking campaign donations to Tammy Baldwin & conman playboy Russ Feingold. Then you get the real picture.

Trying to encourage businesses and even giving them money is a good thing. If you want to investigate crimes look at the $500,000 or more Retirement annuities that public employees are sitting on. That's where the real taxpayer money goes.

number6

I believe Rush would label this 'class envy.' Pernicious!

bookman21
bookman21

@snooty
"look at the $500,000 or more Retirement annuities that public employees are sitting on."
Scapegoating working people whose only crime is planning for retirement to deflect blame for the obvious corruption and incompetence of the Walker administration is beneath contempt.

tomtom34

The majority of voters do not agree with you. Keep trying.

buckthorn

Ever think that the majority of voters could be wrong? Is that a possibility? Or is "the majority of voters" some sort of unassailable, infallible entity whose combined vote represents the truth about a given issue? Even if they vote in contradictory ways?

Is there any other way to evaluate the truth? I think there is.

tomtom34

Of course voters can be wrong. They re-elected Obama. They elected Tommy four(?) times. None of us are infallible. Why should we be something other than fallible when we act collectively? We have the right to be wrong. And we are wrong a lot.

However, to make bland assertions in the face of clear evidence is silly.

dakref

It would be nice if the national media would start picking up on some of this stuff, but they never seem to. Why? Just routine for republican governors I guess.

nuthatch

Thank you, Dee Hall and Matt DuFour, for shining a light on this for the public.

PatrickL

Back in 2011 when Mr. Walker first proposed the WEDC there were a number of articles in Wisconsin newspapers that told of other states following a similar course and how the arrangement was ripe for corruption. Our Governor told us it would never happen here because he would have such a transparent administration. At this point it's hard to remember what he told the hardworking taxpayers of Wisconsin back then, because of all of the lies and misrepresentation we seem to be hearing on a weekly basis.

mania511

Why are people more fired up about this than the 35 shootings in our city? It is only a matter of time until a child or some innocent citizen will be killed. Will it be you, or someone close to you?

number6

Kind of hard to measure and compare degrees of fired-up-ness. I'll give you this much: both conditions (interpersonal violence and political corruption) have been with us for a while now, and seem to persist independent of the steps we take to control them.

number6

OMG, there was a shooting at WEDC, as well ??!!

madisonion

How do you know what people feel about the shootings based on the comments on this article about WEDC? What a silly thing to say.

array1

walker may not have brought us jobs but at least those of us that have them can now bring firearms to work. thank you governor walker.

jimatmadison

Deflector comments up!

Deflect! Deflect! Run away from the issue at hand!!

bill jorgensen

WEDC= Walker Embezzling Dollars Corruptly

bill jorgensen

Better yet: WEDC Walker Embezzling Dollars Covertly

bill jorgensen

Pay to play, the conman Scott Walker way. Slimy career politician. Wisconsin deserves better than that scoundrel.

Lynne4300

freddiebell
Regarding your comment:

"Are you for transparency in government or not? Are you in favor of consequences for those who fail to spend taxpayer money wisely or not? Those are not partisan questions."

The Milwaukee Journal has a fascinating piece today titled "University of Wisconsin flunks the financial transparency test". I suggest you read it.

The Doyle?Burke years may be over, but Wisconsin taxpayers are still on the hook for their mistakes. Even the failure of a new casino, was due to the Doyle dealings. The taxpayers owing the $12.3 Million is not going away, it needs to be returned.

freddiebell

Lynne4300: Why is it that you can't -- or, more likely, won't -- give a straight answer to a straight question?

This article is not about the UW system. Bring that up in a relevant location and we can have that discussion there. It also is not about Jim Doyle's real or perceived mistakes. It is about WEDC. And it is about Scott Walker's role in it as its chairman. He is in charge. It is on him. Let's have that discussion. That is what we are here for.

The more you try to play games, the worse you look. And the harder you try to spin and deflect, the more it gives people in the middle cause to believe that there is a lot more dirt to this affair than we first thought. I wasn't paying much attention to this storyline originally. But the more I see people like you desperately trying to change the subject, the more I'm taking an interest in it and starting to wonder, and read, and inform myself. So, congratulations. You actually are achieving the opposite effect of what you intend. Accordingly, you might want to reconsider your strategy and just say nothing. Trying to deflect the narrative only encourages more curiosity, more questions, and more investigation. Accordingly, consider me now on board with those who seek to get to the bottom of the WEDC quagmire and what Scott Walker's role in it has been. I urge others here not blinded by far right inflexibility likewise to take an interest in what is happening to their wasted taxpayer money in this developing case, and exactly who is responsible for the failures. There needs to be clear accountability, and consequences should follow.

bill jorgensen

Freddie- I hate to get off topic with Lynne's attempt at deflection, but she raises a good point with the UW and their failed transparency. The UW is run by the Board of Regents. 16 of the 18 Regents are appointed by the governor. The majority on the Board of Regents are Walker's appointees. I think she was trying to point out that Walker failed yet again by picking the wrong people to run things.

Lynne4300

freddiebell

Where do you think WEDC came from? It used to be the Commerce Department, the same one that gave out the $12.3 Million dollars that have to be returned. For an agency that was created in 2011(Act 7), it has had issues. Walker is stepping up to correct those issues. Perhaps the board members (Barca and Lassa) haven't been doing their jobs either, it isn't all Walker.

hankdog

lynne;

there is little resemblance between the old DOC and WEDC. Get your facts straight!

number6

Interesting to see there are folks who do believe you can compare apples to oranges. And all these years, I've been hearing that idiom... huh!

Sheriff Buford T Justice

@Lynne- And we're still paying for G.W. Bush and Cos mistakes and errors as well. But every time someone brings that up you or some other extreme righty sez, its Obamas 2nd term. Its his baby. Its not Bushs' fault anymore. The same principle applies here. Its Scooters 2nd term. Doyle and Co are off the table. Time to concentrate on the current administration. Whether you like it or not. Carry on.

Sheriff Buford T Justice

@Lynne- You wrote, " Perhaps the board members (Barca and Lassa) haven't been doing their jobs either, it isn't all Walker". Well, yes it IS all Walker. He IS the Governor. He IS the Chairman of this Board of Directors. He IS responsible for the loans. If other Board members aren't performing up to snuff, Walker IS responsible for correcting their actions or replacing them. Maybe if he was IN the State doing his JOB more often he would be more up to speed on the issues.

buckthorn

Have you read it? That is an opinion piece; not a news article. The author is not automatically right, and what he writes is not necessarily true or correct just because he gets an article published. There appear to be plenty of holes in his argument.

Harvey

They key word in all of this is "unsecured" as in "unsecured" $500,000 loan. And then the money vanishes? Pleaaaaaaaaaaase!!

number6

That reminds me -- are any of you fellow commenters interested in giving me a totally unsecured loan for (oh, I don't know...) $20,000? And by the way, is there anything you need done presently? That is not relevant to the loan, of course, just thought I'd offer. And if we could keep this transaction without any sort of paper trail, I would appreciate it. 'My plan' is to repay you.

bookman21
bookman21

"And then the money vanishes?"
Which vanished more rapidly? Walkers mythical much touted surplus or the taxpayers' money thrown away by his flagship agency, WEDC?

Mary Erpenbach

Not only the money -- though that is awful enough -- but the documentation has vanished, as well. OMG!

tomtom34

There are enough examples of this with government at all levels regardless of who is running the show. Let's keep the government nose out of as much as possible.

Maerzie
Maerzie

Sometimes "friends" need a few dollars here and a few dollars there. But, only $500,000?? These "friends" work pretty cheap!

Harvey

Time for the Feds to come in and take a look. My money would be on Minihan singing like a canary and Boss Walker getting a room at Waupun.

ButSiriuslyFolks

@Lynne

You are absolutely right. Doyle and Burke should be held responsible for their role in an incentive deal went awry...though you may want to compare notes with @Wi_Expat, who has been touting that Wisconsin needs to be doing what Texas is doing.

At last check, following that deal, Burke resigned her post and Doyle did not run for governor again. Furthermore, this bad deal haunted Burke in her bid as governor, and she lost her next election.

So, you should join me in giving Huebesch and Walker the EXACT same treatment, particularly in the face of pay-for-play donations.

Are you with me, Lynne?

Quid pro quo, yo.

Comment deleted.
TripleG60

Ha! Well, yeah, maybe 17 hours ago. But now tomtom34 can't seem to stop himself from typing. See several examples above of his chivalrous efforts to defend the indefensible. When I read his reply to bookman21 (his go-to, slam-dunk, gotcha response, "The majority of voters do not agree with you. Keep trying" ) I wanted to scream at the heavens! The man's got guts! ---if not discretion. Does that make him the chief peanut?

Comment deleted.
tomtom34

G60, didn't a politician recently claim that elections matter? The one who gets the most votes wins. The party with the most seats rules. The minority complains and demonizes. How has that been working for you?

53703

$10k becomes $500k is a good return on investment! As with most spectacular returns, there is something shady and illegal going on with it.

Is there no recourse against Minahan? There was no collateral on that loan, but if he lied on the application and got a loan under false pretenses that he then defaulted on, it seems to me there should be some way to address this legally. I really hope someone will. WEDC is not his personal piggybank to avoid bankruptcy.

iponder

This should be great news for Walker supporters. They know that they can cough up $10,000 and buy support for half a million in taxpayer funding. Scott Walker has a price tag and he can be bought cheap.

ItSavesLives
ItSavesLives

Who stands with Walker now?

Nav1

I think Norood44 does because h feels the Governor's BIGGEST achievement was to destroy the union. Yes on some other issues Norwood44 might provide lukewarm criticism of the Governor's policies every now and then in an attempt to "appear" to be somewhat objective. To his credit, some of his die hard Conservatives won't even do that. To them, the Governor walks on water!

God, as I travel the state I am seeing a lot fewer "I stand with Walker" signs. Maybe the people are finally getting it!


Norwood44

Nav. You are absolutely right. I do think ACT 10 was Walker's greatest achievement, as do a majority of Wisconsin voters. I didn't like the way he did it, but it was time to regain control over public union accountability and benefits. The contracts had become distorted by the special interest money of WEAC and AFSCME. The injustice of public union contracts has become an issue in many states; note the recent downgrading of Chicago School bonds to junk status, or Dem Andrew Cuomo's new policies toward New York teachers' unions. Public union contracts should better reflect the accountability and benefits packages of voters, and be economically realistic for citizens over the long term. So yes, I absolutely agree with you, I do support ACT 10. But if you were to read my posts with objectivity you would note that I supported Mary Burke and disagree with Walker on marriage equality, environmental policy, gun control, capital punishment, evolution and many other issues. I also don't think he is of presidential stock. But you are a one issue poster, so you only see the world through a lens warped by self-interest. Also, although I never voted for the guy, and he didn't get a college degree, I think he is a much smarter than some of the posters in this board who call him dumb.

spooky tooth

Act 10 a great accomplishment, can you get anymore pathetic?

MKED
MKED

A lot of people in Wisconsin would rather stand over Walker.

Mary Erpenbach

Nav, um, I have yet to read a thread on any topic on this site where Nor has not posted his anti-public union spiel. I'd bet many of us, if not all of us, have it memorized; that's how often he has posted it. Why would you invite him to post it yet again? Oh, look, he just posted it, yet again. He does it with little enough prompting as it is, so I see no need to encourage it. TY.

Norwood44

Mary. It's the gift that keeps on giving. And is the primary driver for a great many of the posts on these boards. Embittered bureaucrats are so fun to poke. Did you see my mention of Chicago School district bonds being reduced to junk status? Care to comment? Nah. Didn't think so. How about Cuomo's comments? Google them. And then go back to being the scold, despite the bipartisan reality of the situation. Do you write letters to Emmanuel and Cuomo and scold them too?

Nav1

Mary,

Your observations about Norwood44 are spot on. he is a rabid anti Union/Worker poster.

You have not been here too long, but for the last almost 6 years I have exposed Norwood44 for what he really is. I think after a while most readers got SICK AND TIRED of his anti union/anti worker tirades, and that is the reason he is now so reluctant to initiate a conversation about the unions because he knows he will be rebuked. But yes, if someone else mentions Act 10, we ALL expect Norwood44 to come out and tell us his views about same.

The point I was making in my post was that since Norwood44 worships Governor Walker for how deal with the unions, he is NOT interested in seeing a Democratic Governor win an election and start reversing the Governor's policies. He tries very hard to appear to be objective and gives unsolicited advice to the Democrats as if they have never won an election but an independent he is not.

Norwood44 is smart enough to know that in politics the pendulum swings every few years. He must know that at some point in the future we will have Democrats in power in the state, and he is smart enough to understand that they WILL rill back many of Governor Walker's policies. How could they not? It is this scenerio that scares Norwood44 the most, and this is why he continues to try to drive a wedge between the people and public unions. I have seen him do that for the last 6 years, and I expect him to continue to do that even if he tries to be subtle.

tomtom34

You have exposed Norwood? You have exposed yourself.

freddiebell

As always, follow the money. Then ask the responsibility questions: What did they know, and when did they know it?

Did Scott Walker have any advance knowledge of this chain of events and activity? If so, did he have a direct hand in bringing it about in his capacity as chairman of WEDC? If not, is he derelict in not knowing what was going on under his authority, on his watch? What exactly was his role in this taxpayer fiasco? And what should it have been, other than pulling the plug in the last few days on loans such as this? -- evidently heading for higher ground just as the dam was about to burst.

None of this looks good for Walker and the image he seeks to cultivate as an effective leader and manager. It is yet another black eye for him in what is becoming a long list of them, just in recent memory alone. Much as a select few here will try to spin and deflect, the numbers and facts speak for themselves: WEDC under Scott Walker has been a professional and political mess, and it has cost taxpayers money that a state which supposedly is broke cannot afford to lose. Where is the accountability? Who will pay for these many mistakes and shortcomings? The person at the top? The underlings? What are the consequences of their failures?

Leadership entails responsibility. If Scott Walker truly is a leader and in charge, he needs to both demand and promote transparency with a full and timely disclosure of his own role in this and what it should have been. Since he refuses to talk to the public, the media need to push hard for the answers to the questions above and procure the information that we need to know as citizens and taxpayers. If there has been government malfeasance, intentionally or otherwise, it has to come to light. This article is a good start, but clearly it is just the beginning of the process. Now it is time to follow up, keep digging, and see how how deep and wide the WEDC cesspool runs. Nothing short of the full truth is acceptable.

tomtom34

Good questions. However, the same questions were asked about Solyndra and many other Obama boondoggles. Nothing ever came of it.

I fully support asking all the questions you like and digging as deep as you like.

Harvey

Solyndra? That company was making a nice little profit from thin film solar panel manufacturing. Then the Chinese government started heavily subsidizing solar panel manufacturing. In the end the Chinese were selling the panels for less than Solyndra could make them and they went bankrupt. BTW, I went to the auction that liquidated Solyndra's assets. Who ended up buying their manufacturing equipment for 10 cents on the dollar? The Chinese. Evidently what you call a "boondoggle" turned out to be a "cash cow" for the Chinese. And a major Walker contributor getting an unsecured loan for half a million and not paying it back? No problem.

madisonion

Is it possible for you to JUST ONCE stick to the subject at hand without deflecting?

Walker is the governor of Wisconsin. Not Obama. Apples to oranges. Please.

Nav1

Madisonion,

omtom34 won't answer your question but the answer is no it is not possible for tomtom34 (and most) conservative posters to stay

Most people com on here to comment on articles published by the newspapers. They don't create their own news. Conservatives come here to criticize everyone who is critical of Conservative policies and lots of name calling.

tomtom34

Government choosing winners at the State level is little different from government making those same choices at the federal level. It should not be done. Period. Investigate all you like. If you find any illegality, fry the mothers. Just be sure to act evenhandedly. We might want to check out the Clinton foundation as well.

All politicians from both parties are involved in extortion. Your side is no cleaner.

witness2012

tt, please acknowledge that both the GWBush administration and the Obama administration were involved in the federal loan to Solyndra and please compare the differences between how that loan was handled compared to the one in the article.

Did anyone lie on the application forms for the federal loan to Solyndra, for example?

bookman21
bookman21

@tt34
No one can defend the indefensible. Better change the subject. We're all waiting for the specious "both sides do it" claim.

tomtom34

Nothing specious about it. Both sides extort as much money as possible in as many ways as possible. If we can nail either side for anything illegal, let's do it.

witness2012

This story certainly explains the frequent and rapid turnover of people in leadership positions in WEDC. If you did actually know what you were doing and you cared about being a good steward of taxpayer money, you wouldn't be able to tolerate this level of dysfunction.

If you were in it as one of the participants in funnelling taxpayer money to political contributors, the most important thing would be to get out and make sure you had a cushy position to land in- like Huebsch did.

In the meantime, they savage the institutions which actually work on tight budgets and deliver for the taxpayers.

Crow Barr
Crow Barr

"Epic Walker Collapse!"

kk5891

What happened to the paperwork they cannot find - there needs to be more investigation into this program. Grand jury? John Doe? I'd rather have my taxpayer money going to keeping our government clean.

witness2012

yes, there clearly wasn't any "due dliligence" on the part of WEDC here. They handed the money off and then, didn't bother to even follow it.

Eddie_Leavitt

A 50 to 1 taxpayer-funded payback on a $10,000 donation? That's a great Return on Investment, don't you think? "Open for Business" indeed!

Also makes you wonder if that donation made this guy's "project" move ahead of a number of more legitimate projects. Well, actually I don't wonder about that....

Chicagoans are looking at the Walker Administration and saying "You guys are crooked up there in Wisconsin."

Observer5

Donate $10,000 to Scooter's campaign and receive $500,000 in a "forgivable" loan.
The morals and ethics of Scooter and his merry morons are truly despicable. Scooter's supporters still think he's presidential timber but it's more like wood rot.

davea

If Walker just came to that conclusion, how soon before he resigns?

Norwood44

Congrats to Dee Hall and Matt DeFour on a fine piece of investigative journalism. It's tough to wade through all the financial records, particularly if people are uncooperative. It will be interesting to see if the AG does anything about the data. One thing for sure, a smart Republican candidate opposing Walker could use it, as part of making the case that Walker hasn't done a very good job with the Wisconsin economy. It's also good to hear reasoned, factual analysis of Walker's administration rather than the usual spittle flecked rants of the Madison Horde that has cost the Democratic Party so dearly over three elections. If the Dems are smart they will ban anyone from Madison from speaking in the next election.

What It All Means To Me
What It All Means To Me

Norwood44,
You didn't say anything that I disagree with; a very well written comment!

What It All Means To Me
What It All Means To Me

I'm curious to find out if the left takes this information and uses it in continuous smears like the right did with Solyndra; the left sure had a problem with the right using Solyndra the way they did.

Mongo1958

Solyndra??? Thats all you got. Not even a credible deflection.

Mongo1958

All you got is deflection. Address the issue of the article. What does the Solyndra issue have to do with WEDC???????? Please stop the playground name calling. I have yet to see one defense of the actual issue of 500k of tax payer money lent to a Walker crony. Where is the money? This issue must have you Walker people sweating, there are a lot out tonight. Non defending the loan however.

What It All Means To Me
What It All Means To Me

Mongo1958,
You're absolutely correct, it was incorrect for me to use the word blockhead when you clearly haven't risen to that level of intelligence. My sincerest apology.

Since you seem to lack the required motor skills to scroll up and read Norwood44's comment, and since since I agree with everything Norwood44 wrote, I'll repost his words here as if they are my own to save you the obvious stress of having to ask me my opinion on this subject again..

Congrats to Dee Hall and Matt DeFour on a fine piece of investigative journalism. It's tough to wade through all the financial records, particularly if people are uncooperative. It will be interesting to see if the AG does anything about the data. One thing for sure, a smart Republican candidate opposing Walker could use it, as part of making the case that Walker hasn't done a very good job with the Wisconsin economy. It's also good to hear reasoned, factual analysis of Walker's administration rather than the usual spittle flecked rants of the Madison Horde that has cost the Democratic Party so dearly over three elections. If the Dems are smart they will ban anyone from Madison from speaking in the next election.

Thanks Norwood44 for saying exactly what I was thinking.

Furthermore; There is no deflection, I didn't agree with any of Obama's stimulus and I don't agree with the State passing out tax dollars to companies through the WEDC they are both government welfare programs for companies and I am opposed to that use of taxpayer dollars. It's not the job of the Federal or the State Governments to choose winners and losers in such a manner.

Now, Mongo1958, if you cannot understand the words written, find someone else to tutor you.

What It All Means To Me
What It All Means To Me

Mongo1958 said, "That's all you got."

No, (you know the word), that's not "all I got"; if you had half a brain to read two comments below you could clearly see that I agree with Norwood44's comment above and did so before I wrote the comment you are trashing me over; read his comment and you'll know what I think about this.

Mongo1958 said, "Solyndra???... ...Not even a credible deflection."

Of course it's not "credible" to a partisan (you know the word) and it was not meant as a deflection it's an observation of a past political event where I disagreed with the way the right continuously smeared the Obama administration for the debacle.

What It All Means To Me
What It All Means To Me

GotBanned (below),
I'm really curious to find out your opinion on this question; since Obama approved it, is it important when it originated?

I wonder why there is no "Reply" link under your comment below but there is for Mongo1958 just above it? They are both in the same reply level, but yours has no reply link? I've noticed this before. Do you have something worked out with madison.com to turn off the reply under your comments when you reply to specific commenters?

What It All Means To Me
What It All Means To Me

GotBanned (below),
I'm in utter disbelief that you didn't answer my first question above. I know the question raises some issues with you and a Google search won't produce an appropriate answer, so you're just going to have to dig down deep and find the answer within yourself. It's just your opinion, you do have one of those don't you; or maybe the scope of the question is a bit too broad for you to comprehend?

JUST US

The time is long overdue for the U S Dept. of Justice to begin investigating WEDC and its corruptive giveaways of our taxpayer dollars. An in depth examination might just reveal corruption and violations of law not unlike those suspected or found to exist as in the John Doe cases. Sadly the more we learn about the actions of Walker or his officials the more swampy everything appears. The John Doe records have to made public so that we can judge for ourselves if our governor and those he appoints to do his bidding have been above reproach.

Comment deleted.
Nav1

Gotch,

You must not read the comments on here. This board is FULL of comments from posters who espouse liberal concepts. I am just one of many!

Norwood has no idea what it is like to be a Democrat. If there is anyone who thinks that he wants a Democratic candidate to win the Governorship next time and start dismantling Governor Walker's policies that have destroyed the state, they are very ignorant.

Yes Norwood has made some critical comments about Governor Walker, but they were almost always done in a certain context. It would not surprise me if he and the Gotch still have "I stand with Governor Walker" sign on thwir front lawn, although by now they should be starting to feel a bit ashamed.

I expect Norwood to continue to talk about how the Democrats don't have a message etc etc in hopes that if people read it enough they will also start believing it. I don't think it works that way. People are seeing what their Governor is doing to our state. The comments on these threads speak for themselves.

Cornelius_Gotchberg
Cornelius_Gotchberg

@Nav/Nav1/Liberalsmakesense/etc;

"You must not read the comments on here."

Actually, I do. Not only do they elicit wry ribaldry, mirthful merriment, & sly snickering, but provide a measure of cautious reassurance that sanity is indeed tenuous.

"This board is FULL of comments from posters who espouse liberal concepts."

I will concede the board is "full" of it.

"I am just one of many!"

That you are, at least four and counting.

"Norwood has no idea what it is like to be a Democrat."

Sure he does; they're nervous, jittery, terminally out-of-sorts with a relationship to common sense and reality that's nasty, brutish, & short.

"It would not surprise me if he and the Gotch still have "I stand with Governor Walker" sign on thwir (sic) front lawn."

Can't speak for him, but the ONLY sign I've ever had in my front yard was for Thuy Pham-Remmele's 20th Aldermanic District reelection; get this, some Lefty stole it!

Tolerantly, of course.

"The comments on these threads speak for themselves."

No argument there! Just like "money talks" in Las Vegas; it says "goodbye!"

WoofDah!!

The Gotch

freddiebell

Norwood: There are a number of thoughtful left-leaning posters here -- and I consider myself to be one of them -- who see real problems here and are asking legitimate questions, and demanding real accountability, that are altogether within the realm of appropriateness. As there are those here on the left who go with their passions, there are plenty on the right who do so too, and worse still who deflect, spin, and generally refuse to acknowledge even once, ever, that their party and their leaders are in the wrong, even when the evidence of it is clear and compelling -- as in the WEDC case. Are you holding them to the same standard that you do of their opposition? If so, let's hear it. Fair and balanced, y'know ...

Norwood44

Freddie. Agreed. You are one a thoughtful left-leaning poster. As are others, and myself at times. On the other hand, Nav, Maerzie, et al are not. They are every bit as irrational and rabid as Fox News/Tea Party posters. And respectfully, that's not passion...it's ignorance. I applauded this piece of journalism because it dealt objectively with Walker's performance and had actual facts. Surely you see the difference between this piece by Hall and DeFour and a post by Nav or Maerzie, who make one unfounded claim and mischaracterization after another, all filtered through a lens clouded by anger, wanton self-interest and a rare sort of dumbness. One other thing I would add, and have stated, is that the problem is not all Walker. The state Dem Party is a hot mess, as proven by the last three gubernatorial elections. Too many people think Walker won three elections. I think the Dems lost three elections.

Mary Erpenbach

Nor sez fair and balanced means calling the state Dem Party "a hot mess" at every opportunity. Got it.

Norwood44

Mary aka School Marm below....if losing to Walker thrice isn't a hot mess...what is?

freddiebell

@ Norwood, below: As you know, I too bemoan that the far ends of either spectrum often take us off topic or add fuel to fires more often than they propose real middle ground solutions that everyone can live with. Sometimes I wish the WSJ would rent a big round room and let those at the extremes on either side have a huge pillow fight to crown a winner. At least it would be interesting, for a while, to hear tales of the Great Pillow Whacking and whether e.g. snootyelites swings his pillow from the left or the right side -- if his pillow-wielding technique is consistent with his political leanings, and so on. Great minds are waiting to be informed.

Mary Erpenbach

Nor, I'm amazed that you could read this article and post a pivot that Dems have done a poor job of speaking publicly. What are you thinking? If you really believe, as you said, that Dee and Matt have done a fine job, why not address what they actually reported?!

Norwood44

Mary...Marm....If you read the post again...or more slowly...you will note that I...1) Mentioned that it could be used to smack Walker in national Republican primary debates 2) Speculated on what if anything the AG will do with the findings. 3) I was referring to ranting posters like Nav and Maerzie who damage Dems every time they type a comment. Now please go correct someone else's paper. Oh...and your constant defensiveness about the current state of Dems? Part of the problem. You claim independent thinking. Prove it.

ButSiriuslyFolks

a) @Lynne and @lessismore, stop invoking the governor from five years ago to quid pro quo dishonestly from the debate at hand.

b) Everyone else, STOP RESPONDING TO FALLACIOUS ARGUMENTS AND ALLOWING THEM TO HIJACK THE CONVERSATION.

Lynne4300

ButSiriuslyFolks

The money from the Doyle/Burke regime has to be paid back by the current governor and the taxpayers. It is relevant, and the question should be, WHY is there no investigation on that? Who should be facing investigations, Burke or Doyle?

array1

tHat must be why walker has run up a billion dollar deficit and is borrowing over a billion more for roads, right?

hankdog

lynne;

And who pays back the debts from Thompson/McCallum?

Polkadot

Huebsch can't even put his big boy pants on and speak to the media- he has to release a statement. No better way than that to hint you're guilty of something. Washington politics at work, for sure.

ButSiriuslyFolks

Wasn't Huebsch the guy who estimated $8M as the amount of damage done to the Capitol by protesters? Like, on a napkin?

This may not be the guy you want dealing with money.

davea

Just one in a very long list!

Eddie_Leavitt

Or he's just a crooked liar, which explains how he got such high appointments in this Administration

tomtom34

I don't like the idea of government, State or federal, being in the business of picking winners and losers. Apparently Walker has finally come to the same conclusion.

dakref

The conclusion he came to was that once again his WEDEC is shown to be a fraudulent loser and it might reflect badly on his campaign, so he turned off the money faucet.

Eddie_Leavitt

In addition to his poll numbers tanking, Walker saw that Joint Finance was going to discuss WEDC this week, which included $55 million in additional giveaways with no criteria on how the money should be given out (you know, like the loan described in this article).

WEDC is a slush fund, and it's well past time for the Feds to go in on this fraud

madisonion

If he had even one iota of business experience he would never have set up WEDC the way he did--nor would he have appointed himself chairman of the board, since he has zero idea how to keep an organization on track. His "coming to the same conclusion" is all about political expediency now that he knows his opponents have something damning to seize upon.

tomtom34

Did Tom Barrett, Jim Doyle, Obama or Biden ever have one drop of business experience?

array1

They were smart enough not to scrap the commerce department.

Media-man

And conservatives complain about poor folks getting government handouts!

Weirdwise

Thanks, Obama.

Sheriff Buford T Justice

Weirdwise- Please explain.

Weirdwise

If it's bad news, it's Obama's fault. Watch FOX News. They explain everything. Scott Walker is going to save this country just like he has saved this state. You can bank on it, just as his political allies have. Is that clearer, or I need me to add a wink emoticon?

tomtom34

You forgot Koch, CU, corporations, the rich, WMC, and the GOP. TEA Party?

piperjohn2
piperjohn2

And these folks are in which prison???

LessIsMore

If there is anything that,says corruption it IS the John Doe nonsense. Do you liberals read anything other than madison.com and other liberal rags to know what a joke John doe really is? Also, where was the true scrutiny of loans at the start of WEDC? Loans that were approved by the Doyle administration but blamed on current administration?

Nav1

LessisMore,

I see that you, like Lynne 4300, cannot bear to see an article critical of Governor Walker or his policies.

As I asked Lynne4300 what are your thoughts on what the article actually says? Do you feel the information it gives is false? if so, why do you say that? maybe you agree with what the article says? Please tell us which it is?

Lynne4300

Nav1

My thoughts on WEDC, are that the governor has seen there is an issue and he is going to deal with it. You complain there are issues, but also complain when he takes action.
Let's go back to Doyle, as you apparently has no problem that the taxpayers are on the hook for the $12.3 Million dollars.

freddiebell

Jim Doyle is long gone and irrelevant at this point. History is his judge at this point. Scott Walker is in charge here and now. With leadership comes responsibility, and it is his time and his turn to accept that. Are you for transparency in government or not? Are you in favor of consequences for those who fail to spend taxpayer money wisely or not? Those are not partisan questions. They pertain to both sides. Now the Republicans are in charge, so they have to be subject to that scrutiny. Trying to change the subject does not eliminate either the questions or the need to answer them. It appears that the more you try to deflect, the more you are on the verge of irrelevance, watching events pass you by as more and more evidence mounts that your administration is either inept or corrupt. I do not envy you the choices you are making, and how it makes you look in the process.

BananaSplitz
BananaSplitz

These phantom loans have been in the news for well over a year. What's taking so long?

gorman

"Also, where was the true scrutiny of loans at the start of WEDC? Loans that were approved by the Doyle administration but blamed on current administration?

Can you cites specific loans or names? Which ones were in default? Which ones were never paid back? Even Kenosha was given the land in the Abbot deal. Did WEDC have problems with loans "approved by the Doyle administration"? Given the efforts to blame the Doyle administration for every Ill in the Walker administration, one wonders why this never came up.

I think LessIsMore's strategy is "Oh look, Squirrel!"


livesteam2

Lessismore, if you want more for less then John Doe may be your only means of accomplishment for that to occur. Even if Doyle's administration did not scrutinize loans properly does that OK that policy in Walker's? Do you want a clean government or one bought by special interests?

Eddie_Leavitt

How much you want to bet WEDC is part of the money-laundering scheme that's the center of the John Doe case?

Anyone who let's these Walker Admin criminals off the hook should be subjected to recall, from Supreme Court on down

Sheriff Buford T Justice

@Less is more- So, 2 wrongs make it right? Walker is a COMPLETE disgrace to the Eagle Scout award he likes to tout. 2 John Does and now this. Heck, the taxpayers have been picking up his travel tabs until he figured out that would hurt in his unofficial Presidential bid. If the guy is so straight and true, then why does he continue with the shady stuff?

array1

as you see it, is there ANY point at which scott walker should take responsibility for his failed policies? Clearly WEDC is a failure. The department he dismantled in favor of WEDC never had these issues.

Mongo1958

They caught 6 fish during the last John Doe. Scott Walker should be welcoming this so we can convict other criminals doing stuff Scott Walker new nothing about.

gobi

And yet they want recently laid off working people to pee in a cup for unemployment benefits/ these people aren't even human

Lynne4300

Did the state repay HUD the $12.3 Million dollar award that Mary Burke (as commerce secretary) gave to Abbott?

Nav1

Lynne4300,

Do you have any comments about the actual article or are you here to just deflect and try to confuse?

Please read the article carefully and tell us if you agree or disagree with what is in it, and why.

Comment deleted.
livesteam2

You could have left off the remark and still made your point. You have the option of skipping her posts.

hankdog

lynne:

I don't think you have the facts right. Abbott didn't receive the money.

Lynne4300

Glad that a deal was made, now Wisconsin taxpayers only have to pay back $8 Million.

HUD wants its money back for Abbott land deal

PLEASANT PRAIRIE — The village and the Kenosha Area Business Alliance likely won’t be reeled in to reimburse Wisconsin for some $12.3 million in federal funds disbursed to the village in 2006.

The village gave that money to Abbott Laboratories to buy a roughly 40-acre parcel across the west I-94 frontage road from some 497 acres then recently purchased — and still owned by — Abbott for unspecified future expansion of the Illinois-based pharmaceutical company.
Read more at :

http://www.kenoshanews.com/news/hud_wants_its_money_back_for_abbott_land_deal_481285845.html

minersdaughter

They robbed us. Walker and the WEDC showed them how.

Wis_taxpayer
Wis_taxpayer

I think this has gone far beyond a John Doe... We need a Federal investigation!

If the headline was Doyle aides, or Barrette aides, or any other Democratic name, the Right would be screaming for a Federal investigation.

Lynne4300

"If the headline was Doyle aides, or Barrette aides, or any other Democratic name, the Right would be screaming for a Federal investigation."

How about that $12.3 Million that Doyle/Burke gave out, that needs to be paid back?

outlander
outlander

And what loan would that be, pray tell, is it in default and even if it is, what does that have to do with this?

Look, I voted for Walker in part because I expected a modicum of fiscal responsibility and I expected him to be able to staff the government with people who lived and breathed it. WEDC has been operated as if debtor repayment was a suggestion, not a requirement. Investigate, prosecute if it was warranted (lying on a loan application may be fraudulent) and let the chips fall where they may. Crony capitalism is unacceptable, regardless of the party doling out my tax money.

Lynee4300, don't defend clear idiocy and mendacity. It doesn't reflect well upon you.

Lynne4300

outlander

The truth, that is what doesn't not "reflect well" on the former governor and commerce secretary.

Name calling because you do not like the truth, doesn't "reflect well" either.

outlander
outlander

Lynne4300 below:
Don't see that I engaged in any name calling here (though I see I did manage to mangle your nom de guerre--my apologies). There appears to be a problem here and it stains the party I normally vote for and regularly solicits me for campaign $. I don't really care if everyone else is doing it--I wouldn't accept that argument from my kid if I have any and I am not going to accept it in this forum.

outlander
outlander

Okay--my apologies at least to the extent that you did explain what loan you were talking about in another posting. That still does not defuse the point our liberal friends make about deflection. If a half-million $s in tax money--my money--was p#ssed down a sewer, perhaps illegally, I don't care who was aiming. I want the issue addressed.

Mongo1958

Off topic Lynne. I am sure if there were any type of crime associated with whatever you are alluding to, there would have been an investigation. No focus on the EDC crimes.

fhockeybill
fhockeybill

Crooks.

DaveJ

Right. So we'll elect him president!

Nav1

There are so many serious issues of impropriety by Government officials that this matter needs to be fully investigated. I hope the John Doe investigation will look into all of these issues.

livesteam2

The same thought came to me, that there is so much wrong described in this article it defies reason, but something to look at first is, why is Mike Huebsch now at the PSC where they just recently restructured the commission to include the former head of MG&E, and in January ignored recommendations of the former members to OK new rates for MG&E. http://host.madison.com/wsj/business/state-regulators-give-final-ok-to-new-mge-rates/article_15ac8e6b-887d-5c94-bd9a-ad726c190a0c.html. Is Mike Huebsch, a former legislator, now in the pockets of big power companies?

Comment deleted.
What It All Means To Me
What It All Means To Me

This is confirmation that 2nd level replies from GotBanned have the Reply link; however, that reply link is noticeably missing when GotBanned posts a 2nd level reply under one of my comments. GotBanned must be short bus special to madison.com.

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