Saturday, May 23, 2015

Walker's WEDC tied to several troubled loans, practices

[Updated, 1:55 p.m.] Yes, there is a politically-tainted $500,000 bad loan in the news made by the state jobs agency Walker created and chairs, and yes, we are learning that the the agency - - Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, is now throwing six figure sums of the public's money at private lawyers to try and collect the debt - - but it's hardly the only loan or internal practice about which questions have been raised and documented.

I point you to this 2012 story:

MADISON (WKOW) -- The chief financial officer of the state's flagship jobs agency resigned, as state leaders vowed better accounting practices, after the agency lost track of more than $7 million in unpaid loans.
This second of two 2014 WEDC postings on the same day:
Working my way through the full text of the jaw-dropping state audit of the operations at the Scott Walker-conceived-and-created Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation. 
Virtually every page documents an agency not meeting rules, standards or law or failing to provide documentation, accurate data or procedural follow-through - - as state funds were disbursed willy-nilly.
Or this 2014 story: 
One of the high profile companies to receive backing from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. is again delinquent on its loans with the state. 
Superior-based Kestrel Aircraft Company — a firm touted by Gov. Scott Walker as an example of his business recruitment efforts — hasn’t made any payment on its $4 million in loans since October. It is supposed to pay $6,600 monthly and is now over $26,000 in arrears.
And this 2014 story: 
MADISON (WKOW) -- A liberal advocacy group reports that nearly 60 percent of the financial assistance money awarded by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) has gone to businesses whose owners or employees have donated money to the campaign of Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wisconsin) or the Republican Governors Association (RGA)...
One Wisconsin Now found that 192 donors associated with businesses receiving WEDC grants donated a total of just over $1 million directly to Gov. Walker's campaign and another $1.1 million to the RGA.  The RGA is a special interest group that spent $13 million to help get Gov. Walker elected in 2010 and then defeat the recall effort in 2012.
One Wisconsin Now reports that $570 million of the $975 million in funds awarded by the state's leading economic development agency went to the companies of those donors.
(Disclosure: I sit on the One Wisconsin Now C-3 board but was not involved in the group's work on the WEDC portfolio.)


Anonymous said...

James, has anyone examined the Kestel company more closely? They have bigger loans and they have a history of promising jobs in Brunswick ME under similar conditions, then seemed to have switched to Wisconsin, and after that they have joined with another company out west, who posted that they were working on improving their brand. This could be bigger than the $500,000 loan because it's millions and they don't seem to have delivered the 600 jobs they promised.

Anonymous said...

Fantastic work, Rowen!