Thursday, September 27, 2012

Walker's Clusterf@ck At WEDC

Remember when Scott Walker transformed the Wisconsin Department of Commerce into the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) and public/private hybrid designed to help him create 250,000 new jobs?

At the time, a lot of people had concerns over how a public/private "corporation" was going to absorb the Wisconsin Housing & Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) who coordinate federal HUD funding and Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds.

CDBG funds things like affordable housing programs in low income areas and help to establish economic opportunities in high unemployment areas...like Racine.

So the WEDC has been controversial since Scott Walker inflicted it on Wisconsin as a friendly way to repay campaign debts from big businesses who were ready to cash in with their boy in office. First, Walker hired a bunch of inappropriate people like Valerie Cass, the live-in mistress of recalled Senator and drunk driver, Randy Hopper and Brian Deschane, unqualified son of a big-time lobbyist/campaign contributor and also a drunk driver. Then Tom Nardelli (Walker's former Chief of Staff) leaves his cushy job there to become a regular contributor in the John Doe investigation.

Then there was the Skyward bid-rigging scheme where it was discovered that WEDC gave a WI company $12 million in tax breaks contingent on winning a state contract...that they would award. Convenient!

So if all that isn't enough to tell you something fishy is going on over there, the feds have stepped in and declared WEDC not a governmental agency - which it isn't.  The feds says no more HUD funding - like CDBG - until a whole bunch of questions are answered. We know this because they wrote a letter to them in May.

Just a small item the chairman of WEDC (Scott Walker) forgot to tell the board...for 6 months.

Oh, did we mention the $8.6 million in CDBG funds that were strangely shifted from one account to another on the last working day of a WEDC employee before she quit? AND the Director of WEDC, Paul Jardin resigned last week?!

So to get up to speed on what the Journal Times and others have left out of a story they let Scott Walker get away with saying was "routine" you must check out both Cognitive Dissidence and Badger Democracy.