Walker’s WEDC foots taxpayers with $1 million loan given to conman in exchange for zero jobs

Jul 11, 2018

WEDC’s mismanagement casts more doubts on Foxconn deal

MADISON — While Wisconsinites continue to raise concerns over Foxconn’s long history of broken job promises and the mounting $4.5 billion taxpayer giveaway to bring them here, Scott Walker’s troubled jobs agency, which also approved the Foxconn deal, has decided to write off a $1.1 million debt owed by a fraud convict.

“If your agency can’t enforce a $1 million loan, why should Wisconsin taxpayers trust you with a $4.5 billion giveaway to a foreign corporation with a bad track record?” asked Martha Laning, chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. “While Scott Walker and WEDC have been playing it fast and loose with taxpayer money, the needs of hardworking Wisconsinites have been left behind. Wisconsin families need fully-funded classrooms for their children and safe and dependable roads to drive on, not more of Scott Walker’s costly broken promises.”

Green Box LLC and its owner Ron Van Den Heuvel were supposed to use the taxpayer-funded loan to create 116 jobs, but records show that the funds were instead used on a number of luxury expenses like golf memberships and a new Cadillac Escalade. Walker’s WEDC has been plagued by scandal since its creation seven years ago — the agency has lost track of millions of taxpayer dollars and even gave subsidies to companies that outsourced Wisconsin jobs.

Many companies granted WEDC loans have failed to be held accountable, including Kestrel Aircraft which defaulted on its $20 million award and created only 25 of the 665 jobs after five years of operations in Wisconsin.  

“We could have invested a fraction of this giveaway in hundreds of Wisconsin entrepreneurs and innovators across our state and given our local economies a much needed boost. Instead, Walker lavished an unaccountable foreign corporation with $4.5 billion of taxpayer money.”