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.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.
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?
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.