Tag: loan

Criminal proceedings into loan given out by Wisconsin corporate welfare agency underway

Once again, a major political scandal is brewing in Wisconsin. This time, it involves loans given out to a company called Green Box NA by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), a corporate welfare agency in Wisconsin:

An indebted De Pere business owner will provide as detailed a list of assets and debtors to his former company’s court-appointed receiver within 10 days.

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., Montreal-based Cliffton Equities Inc. and De Pere-area physician Dr. Marco Araujo sued Green Box NA and its president, Ronald Van Den Heuvel, on May 20 seeking repayment of more than $5.7 million in loans. They claim Green Box is near insolvency, worry it cannot cure its many defaults and suspect the company offered the same collateral to multiple financiers.

“Van Den Heuvel’s casual commingling of assets and collateral among his many entities gives rise to a real concern that he will dispose of plaintiff’s collateral improperly or that collateral may not exist,” the plaintiffs’ initial complaint states.

On Monday, Van Den Heuvel’s attorney John Petitjean told Circuit Court Judge Thomas Walsh that Van Den Heuvel cannot provide many documents court-appointed receiver Michael Polsky has requested because Brown County Sheriff’s Office deputies executed a search warrant at Green Box’s De Pere offices and removed five truckloads of documents and computer equipment from Green Box’s offices in the last month.

(emphasis mine)

Green Box NA received nearly $1.2 million in taxpayer-funded awards from the WEDC, including a $1.1 million loan and a $95,500 job training grant. Green Box NA has not made any payments on its loan since 2013, and the WEDC officially declared Green Box NA to be in default earlier this year. Green Box NA claims to be a sustainable energy company, but, in reality, it’s actually a waste gasification scheme.

Let’s not forget that:

  • Republican Wisconsin Governor and presidential candidate Scott Walker chaired the WEDC’s board at the time Green Box received the awards (Walker is no longer the WEDC board chairman)
  • Walker and Republicans in the Wisconsin State Legislature created the WEDC in 2011
  • Green Box NA received a $1.1 million loan mere months after the WEDC was created by Wisconsin Republicans in 2011
  • Van Den Heuvel refused to disclose previous lawsuits while filing the loan application
  • The WEDC failed to identify the lawsuits in a background check

Ron Van Den Heuvel, Green Box NA, and multiple other Van Den Heuvel companies have faced multiple civil lawsuits over, among other things, failure to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in back taxes and failure to pay both public and private creditors. Now, there’s apparently criminal proceedings into the Van Den Heuvel/Green Box NA ripoff of Wisconsin taxpayers. This could have all been prevented if it weren’t for the WEDC giving out corporate welfare to businesses, and doing a downright horrible job at it.

Oneida Eye has very detailed blog posts about Ron Van Den Heuvel’s long track record of financial troubles, legal troubles, and ripping off taxpayers here and here. They’ve been publishing great blog posts on the Green Box NA scandal for quite some time.

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Wisconsin legislators to Scott Walker: YOU’RE FIRED FROM YOUR OWN CORPORATE WELFARE AGENCY!!!

It’s official…the members of the Republican-controlled Wisconsin State Legislature’s Republican-controlled Joint Finance Committee (JFC) have effectively fired Scott Walker from the corporate welfare agency he helped create, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC):

The state’s Republican-led budget committee Thursday retained legislative oversight of Gov. Scott Walker’s troubled job-creation agency, removed the governor from its board and pledged further changes later this fall in the wake of a recent critical audit and a (Wisconsin) State Journal investigation.

The Legislature’s powerful Joint Finance Committee voted along party lines for the changes to the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., but only after rejecting a series of Democratic ideas to reform the agency and more than an hour of debate during which even Republicans conceded that the agency needs fixing.

“We know that it’s time to reform this,” said Rep. Dean Knudson, R-Hudson. “We can’t do it in the middle of the budget.”

Knudson even made the sobering admission that he didn’t believe in the mission of the agency – to leverage state tax dollars to help create jobs.

Walker has been the chair of the WEDC’s board of directors since it began operations in 2011. It’s not clear who would replace Walker on the WEDC board, although it would all but certainly be another Republican.

For those of you who haven’t been following the WEDC debacle in Wisconsin, I’ll provide a quick refresher. Since its creation in 2011, the WEDC has, among other things, mismanaged money, violated laws, has had officials spend taxpayer money on items like college football tickets and alcoholic beverages, handed out tax breaks to companies that have shipped American jobs to foreign countries, and has given loans to companies that haven’t paid back a single penny of the money that was loaned to them. In fact, State Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) and State Senator Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point) have both called for a federal criminal investigation into the WEDC’s activities. For U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch to not launch an investigation would mean that Lynch and the Obama Administration are complicit in a cover-up of at least possible violations of federal law at the WEDC, so Lynch better launch an investigation, preferably right now.

For the JFC to fire Walker from his own corporate welfare agency is an obvious example of damage control by the Republicans in the Wisconsin State Legislature. Preferably, I’d like to see these state-level corporate welfare agencies replaced by North Dakota-style state economic development banks, but Republicans and corporate Democrats are never going to support anything like that.

New Hampshire GOP Congressman Frank Guinta should resign immediately

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) has ruled that U.S. Representative Frank Guinta of New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional District violated federal campaign finance laws by accepting $355,000 in illegal campaign donations from his parents.

It’s 100% clear to me that Guinta should resign before you finish reading this blog post.

I have zero tolerance for those in positions of power who abuse the trust of the people they represent, and Guinta has abused the trust of the people of the 1st District of New Hampshire. That’s because he violated federal campaign finance laws by accepting $355,000 in campaign cash from his parents and claiming that the money came from his own pocket in the form of a loan to his own campaign, when, in reality, it came from a bank account in his parents’ name. What Guinta did is a form of money laundering.

It’s not just Democrats who are sick and tired of Guinta’s Chicago-style corruption. Kelly Ayotte, the far-right Republican U.S. Senator from New Hampshire, is also calling for Guinta’s resignation, likely because she knows that she already has little chance of winning re-election next year without the Guinta scandal dragging down the GOP in her home state, but would have nearly zero chance of winning re-election if Guinta were on the same ballot as her in half of New Hampshire.

If Guinta resigns from office, that would result in a special election for Guinta’s House seat, which includes much of eastern and southeastern portions of New Hampshire, including places like Manchester, Portsmouth, and Laconia. I would love to see Carol Shea-Porter run for her old seat in Congress again, as she’s a wonderful, progressive-minded person who has staunchly opposed the culture of big-money politics that Guinta has long been a part of.