Friday, July 19, 2013

Abele Gets His Way On Park East Development, County Loses Out On $15 Million

Earlier this week, the Milwaukee County Board's Economic and Community Development Committee chose not to vote on approving a contract regarding the development of part of the Park East Development.

Zach Wisniewski immediately called it a conspiracy.  He accused Chairwoman of all sorts of unethical skulduggery, including bid rigging:
During the proceedings that led to the delay in finalizing approval for the development, County Economic Development Director Tieg Whaley-Smith noted that Wangard, by appearing at the meeting, was able to hear details on a rival proposal and then provide information beyond what had been submitted during the panel review process, something other bidders were unable to do. I’m told it was also suggested Stewart Wangard could amend his own proposal and re-submit it. Now I’m no real estate developer, but allowing one potential developer to hear the details of another developer’s proposal before allowing the first developer to re-submit his proposal certainly seems like a curious/improper way to go about doing business.

While Tom Daykin of the Journal Sentinel did a good job reporting on the story, one key detail his story left out is the fact that Brian Randall, the lawyer representing Stewart Wangard, just happens to be Marina Dimitrijevic’s campaign treasurer.

Anyone wanna take bets on how long it takes the County Board to approve the “new and improved” development proposal sure to be re-submitted by Stewart Wangard?
If Wisniewski had bothered talking to anyone besides County Emperor Chris Abele's people, he would have learned that the delay came from Abele's people refusing to release the results of the bidding process. Apparently Abele thinks that people should trust him on these things even though he has given us every reason not too.

Abele's people finally grudgingly gave up the information the supervisors requested and - lo and behold - a decision was made.

From Chairwoman Marina Dimitrijevic's Facebook page:
The County Board Finance Committee unanimously approved moving forward with the Opus proposal for the Park East today. It never was a delay, it was a request for more information to make an informed decision. I hope the media improves their accuracy when reporting these matters.
The Economic and Community Development Committee will be holding a special meeting to approve this and it will be going before the County Board as a whole next Thursday.

As a point of interest, the Stewart Wangaard proposal had offered $750,000 more, which would have translated to an extra $15 million over the life of the TIF for developing the land.

I wonder if Abele and/or Wisniewski will be offering an apology for their tantrums and false accusations.  I also wonder if they will be offering to make up that lost $15 million.  I also wonder if Abele will explain why he was so adamant about going with the poorer bid.

Something tells me not to hold my breath.


  1. Capper, thanks.

  2. Aw Chris, don't put words in my mouth just because you have an axe to grind. Show me where in my entry I called it a conspiracy.

    The fact is, you can't, because the only one who used the word conspiracy is you. If you're going to attack others, at least try to not invent things just to suit your agenda.

    1. It was pretty obvious you were alleging a conspiracy, unless the quoted portions were not from you, but then that would be a conspiracy.

  3. The County didn't give up any $15 million, because Wangard's proposal was never going to happen. It was requesting City of Milwaukee TIF dollars, which incidentally violated the RFP and the city has made clear there's no TIF funding for this site (the city was on the RFP board). Further the Park East TIF is maxed out right now (that could change but right now it pretty much is). Finally, supposing despite all of that Wangard somehow got TIF funding, it is pretty easy to pay the extra $750k when it is the city's tax dollars to pay for it.

    Further,the process was for the RFP board to choose 1 project and present it to the board.