Paul Jadin: Scott Walker 'defamed' economic development agency to shift blame for failed jobs pledge.
Paul Jadin was the first CEO of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), which was created in one of Scott Walker's first acts upon taking office in 2011. Matt DeFour's in-depth, detailed story in the Wisconsin State Journal begins with Jadin telling Governor Scott Walker that he was considering leaving WEDC in 2012 to take a new position with a Madison-area economic development organization.
Originally, Jadin said that Walker wanted him to stay on, but Scotty had a change of heart when he realized how it could help the Governor avoid criticism.
But the next day, Jadin said, Walker’s chief of staff and then Walker himself called back with a surprising message: Jadin should take the job because WEDC and its secretary would be blamed for the state falling short of Walker’s campaign promise to create 250,000 jobs in his first term.But when has Scott Walker EVER taken responsibility for anything going wrong? This "Unintimidated" grifter always tries to pawn his many failures off on others while taking credit for good things he has little to nothing to do with, and never cares about any results beyond politics and campaign donations.
“I hope you understand that I cannot be accountable for the job numbers,” Walker said, according to Jadin.
Jadin said he told the governor it was foolish to blame an agency the governor had created to carry out his pledge and at the time led as board chairman, but Walker, Jadin recalled, didn’t respond to that concern.
And by the way, more than 6 years after Jadin left WEDC, Wisconsin is STILL short of 250,000 jobs added in the Age of Fitzwalkerstan. If we had merely kept up with the rate of growth in the rest of the nation, Wisconsin would have added nearly 400,000 jobs in the last 92 months. And that gap has grown in every year.
The State Journal article also reminds us of a major WEDC corruption story which helped lead Jadin to want to get out of that crooked slush fund.
Jadin said friction with the governor’s office began after an internal dispute with then Department of Administration Secretary Mike Huebsch over what turned out to be a bad $500,000 loan made in late 2011 to a Walker donor, which the State Journal first reported in 2015.That's the loan to the infamous William Minahan, who had a scam where the money was allegedly designed to improve the energy efficiency certain commercial buildings. As we found out in 2015, that's not where the money went, but the Walker Administration wanted to keep giving Minahan money anyway.
Huebsch had originally urged the agency to give a $4.5 million loan to Building Committee Inc., whose owner had given $10,000 to Walker’s 2010 campaign. Jadin ultimately signed off on a half-million dollar loan to the company, which never paid it back and has since folded. Jadin said Huebsch ultimately pushed for an additional $1.5 million loan and didn’t drop it until Jadin said he would only agree to it if Walker himself signed the contract, which didn’t happen.
Top officials in Gov. Scott Walker's administration pushed to get Building Committee the initial loan and worked to get more for the company. But the jobs agency had to pass on giving the company more funding from state taxpayers after finding numerous problems with the firm and being told that owner Bill Minahan was promising some of this second proposed loan to pay a leasing debt on cars such as a 2010 Maserati and a 2011 Nissan 370Z luxury sports car ....
WEDC officials' alarm didn't stop them from persuading three counties to allocate $4.5 million for Building Committee from a federal program meant to spur energy conservation, according to hundreds of pages of emails and other documents recently released under the state's open records law. Those federal incentives were never used because, even with the subsidies in hand, Building Committee was unable to get the financial backing it needed to proceed with its project.
WEDC officials never told those counties about the concerns that had made them email each other with statements like "Yikes!" and "I can't believe we are actually going to do this" about earlier proposed help for Building Committee.
And does anyone believe WEDC isn't pulling a similar routine today, as it hands out tens of millions of dollars with little oversight or open discussion of the projects? Even more alarming, WEDC is actively promoting Foxconn while they are supposed to be verifying Foxconn is actually creating jobs and investments before they get their billions of tax dollars, and making sure Foxconn is living up to the terms of their contract.
But this cronyist sketchiness has always been the intelligence of WEDC's design. Go back to the September 2014 article at PR Watch that discussed WEDC's sleaziness and tax-funded failures at length, and recall the words of former WEDC Chief Compliance Office Molly Regan.
When she approached the WEDC vice president who approved the expenditures, she says the list of receipts was plucked from her hands: "I don’t know how you got this," the official said. "I am just going to take it and shred it." When she complained about this incident to WEDC legal counsel, she was chastised for not "trusting" her co-workers. Regan submitted her resignation that day.This weekend's story with Paul Jadin is a stark reminder of the combination of pay-for-play corruption, awful results, and excuse-making that have defined Scott Walker's time in office. And we will continue to underperform and waste taxpayer dollars in the WEDC slush fund unless this incompetent grifter is tossed out of the Governor's Office in 16 days.
Reflecting on what went wrong at WEDC, Regan points to the prevalent attitude there of serving Walker’s needs and the needs of his top lieutenant, Mike Huebsch.
As she explains:
I was once told by an administration higher up, 'We have one customer, and our job is to make him look good. . . . Huebsch is the prince, Walker is the king.'