Friday, December 9, 2011

In WalkerWorld, Workers Lose, Hedgefund Clients Win

Call it a win for the 1% at the expense of the 99%. Right here in rural Wisconsin.

In the Marathon County Village of Brokaw, WI, a paper mill that is 100 years old is being closed.

The Brokaw mill is owned by Wausau Paper, company, Mosinee, the last such company headquartered in Wisconsin, the company says.

450 workers will lose their jobs when the plant shuts down in a few months.

The Wausau Daily Herald reported that the plant had lost money for several years. 

There's a slide show of the plant, here.

Big plant in a very small town.

The Village of Brokaw has about 300 residents, with an average per capita income of about $30,000, and average home valuation of about $95,000, data show.

Things had been tough in Brokaw even before the plant closing announcement; the Village website says it nearly disincorporated.

Sounds like 99-percenters' territory.

In 2010, the top individual at the company, Wausau Paper President and CEO Thomas J. Howatt earned total compensation of $4,543,993, according to the proxy statement available at this company website.

And it's Board Chairman, San Orr, is also on the Board of Directors of the Bradley Foundation.
And no one doubts the position of the Foundation in the growth and impact of conservative agendas in both the state and country, as the Journal Sentinel recently cataloged.

Solidly 1% all-'round, I reckon.

The Wausau Daily Herald also reports that a hedge fund had pushed to close the plant.

New York-based hedgefund Starboard Value, Wausau Paper's largest shareholder, said in a letter filed with federal regulators this summer that the company should sell the printing and writing business.
Starboard was founded in March of this year.

It controls assets worth $251 million, manages 11 accounts and has 6-10 employees.

At the tippy-top of the 1%.

Here is the Starboard Value Fund home page content.

How many light years away is Starboard from the real world in Brokaw?
Starboard Value


Paul Trotter said...

Thanks James- great research!

Once again the wealthy money gamblers who create nothing but more wealth attack the middle class!

Anonymous said...

The JS buried this very sad story in their business section. Good to see this fine exposé!

Paul Trotter said...

All for the bottom line of quarterly earnings . Such short sighted unamerican actions against the workers of this small town.

Close it down for more profits and American greed.

James Rowen said...

Thanks for the comments. I had not seen the JS version. A lot of recent history summed up. A case study, and not a good one.

ed hammer said...

And remember, Brokaw is the home of Ruthelle Frank, the elderly Village Board member, who will have a devil of a time voting because of the Voter ID law. Maybe Brokaw can serve as just one example of what's wrong with Wisconsin, under Walker.

Anonymous said...

Brokaw is a company town--- 'Wausau' Papers IS Brokaw. No Wausau Papers, no Brokaw. It is a picturesque area, very sad.

Max Shelby said...

Good wathchdog reporting!

Bill Sell said...

Quote from Starboard page:

"Starboard invests in deeply undervalued small cap companies and actively engages with management teams and boards of directors to identify and execute on opportunities to unlock value for the benefit of all shareholders."

Sounds like a definition for parasite, going after the tender spot.

Jonathan Swift said...

"Sounds like a definition for parasite, going after the tender spot."
Mr Sell is correct hookworms to be precise. For those unfamiliar, hoks attach to to the gut lining and suck blood. Leeches on the inside.