Thursday, June 4, 2015

WEDC official did not review troubled, politicized $500,000 loan, gets NB promotion

Call it landing on your feet, two states to the West:

A senior Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation official who said the agency was too busy to formally review a $500,000 loan made under political pressures to a firm which cannot pay the money back was hired in January to head the State of Nebraska equivalent of the WEDC.
Gov. Pete Ricketts has chosen Brenda Hicks-Sorensen, an economic development manager from Wisconsin, as director of the Nebraska Department of Economic Development.
Ricketts announced the appointment on Friday, describing Hicks-Sorensen as an innovative leader who will "look for new ways to strengthen our economy, add jobs and grow Nebraska for the next generation..."
Hicks-Sorensen recently served as vice president of economic and community development for the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. in Madison. 
The Wisconsin State Journal's investigative reporting on the loan included this information:
State auditors confirmed Tuesday that Gov. Scott Walker’s flagship job-creation agency failed to conduct a financial review of a struggling business that received a $500,000 state loan that is now in default and has not been repaid...
Emails obtained by the State Journal under the state open records law show Department of Administration officials forwarding the BCI loan proposal to [underwriting manager Steven ]Sabatke and his boss, Brenda Hicks-Sorensen, WEDC’s then-vice president of community and economic development, on Sept. 3, 2011. 
That same day, David Jenkins, a manager in DOA’s Division of Energy, offered to conduct a staff review, to which Hicks-Sorensen replied: “We have several other high priority projects with promises made for feedback this week so the underwriting team is swamped. As such we greatly appreciate the offer and will keep you posted.” 
A DOA spokesman said DOA did not conduct a staff review.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What is absolutely amazing about WEDC IS NOT JUST THE MONEY IT HAS LOANED BUT THE TAX CREDITS THAT TOTAL INTO THE MILLIONS FOR BUSINESSES, COMPANIES AND CORPORTIONS THAT HAVE SIGNIFICANTLY CUT THEIR TAXES PAID TO THE Wisconsin TREASURY. Many appear to be highly profitable enterprises but for some reason are entitled to substantial tax breaks. If the total annual tax credits were compiled I suspect the citizens of Wisconsin would be shocked to see how much lost revenue is involved.