Cronyism and corruption boiling over with Walker’s pet project “Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation”

Let’s say you live in Wisconsin and wanted to start a small business and wanted information on what programs there were since you were interested in consultation, technical assistance and relocation assistance. Perhaps low income families needed assistance. Perhaps you were a concerned citizen who wanted to make sure your town is safe and safety and sanitation laws are enforced. You would go to the former Wisconsin Department of Commerce. Well, it’s been gone since Scott Walker corporatized it by turning it into The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC).

Scott Walker built his political career on using the Big C’s: corruption and cronyism. The continuing and expanding FBI John Doe investigation looking at how Walker improperly used Milwaukee County resources for political purposes while county executive lays the predictable template behind Walker’s disguise. So it would come as no surprise that the WEDC would be scandal-prone and transparently a charade where kickbacks for political contributions and bid rigging for government jobs was part of the Walker “brand”.

So when a March 22 letter offering $11.7 million in state tax credits to build their corporate headquarters in Stevens Point to a Wisconsin company if it won a $15 million contract to make a new statewide student information system was sent to Walker, the information systems company Skyward gladly accepted. Then comes the contradicting claims from Walker’s administration that no firm commitment was made.

Newly released records show a Stevens Point company accepted an offer of tax breaks contingent on it winning a state contract, appearing to contradict earlier claims from Gov. Scott Walker’s administration that no firm commitment had been made to the company.

Documents provided to The Associated Press under the state’s open records law Monday show the chief executive officer of information systems company Skyward signed an acceptance of the $11.7 million tax break offer on March 26, four days after it was proposed.

The signed agreement with the quasi-private Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation makes clear that its provisions are not binding until a final contract is executed. No such contract was prepared before the offer was rescinded, WEDC spokesman Tom Thieding said.

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Documents provided to The Associated Press under the state’s open records law show information systems company Skyward was asked to sign an acceptance of the March 22 proposal making $11.7 million in tax incentives available and a WEDC June 5 email states that Skyward accepted the offer. Now Walker is saying it never happened.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Gov. Scott Walker’s administration says the governor never received a March 22 letter offering tax incentives to a Wisconsin company if it won a $15 million contract, even though his office was copied in on the correspondence.

Walker’s Department of Administration spokeswoman Jocelyn Webster tells The Associated Press the governor never received the letter from Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation head Paul Jadin. In the letter to Stevens Point-based Skyward, Jadin says he and the governor were “firmly committed to doing everything possible” to award the incentives.

Jadin rescinded the offer on June 18 after Walker’s legal office raised concerns as bids were still being accepted to run the statewide information system.

Webster says from now on all letters from WEDC copying in the governor will actually be sent to him.


More scandals are developing and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation is shuffling the deck as quickly as possible.