Sunday, August 17, 2008

Can I Have A Witness?

Things aren't looking to good for Scott Walker and Milwaukee County's chances to recoup any money regarding the pension scandal.

Scott Walker has dedicated county staff and money to a lawsuit against the Mercer Human Resource Consulting Inc. to try to get some money back from the pension scandal. (I should specify that this is the first pension scandal, with the large backdrops, etc. The second pension scandal, involving buybacks of time, is still on the shelf to the best of my knowledge.) The premise is that Mercer failed to adequately notify the County that the pension enhancements were going to cost a lot of money.

Even though the hearing isn't scheduled until January, there have been lots of action going on, and none of it looks good for the County.

Gretchen Schuldt, at Milwaukee Rising, has been doing a wonderful job of keeping us informed of issues surrounding the case. She has pointed out that Stuart Piltch, who was supposed to be a key witness for the County, has made some apparently untrue claims that he was secretly trained by the CIA, even though he was not supposed to tell anyone about this supposed training.

Now that it came out that the CIA has denied having anything to do with Piltch, he has suddenly succumbed to "health concerns" and has removed himself from the list of witnesses for the County.

To make things even worse, Ms. Schuldt reports that Mercer has filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit. The rationale for the motion is based on a number of key depositions that contradict previous statements made by the witnesses. Those who are having their testimony challenged include County Board Supervisors Borkowski and DeBruin, as well as members of the Pension Study Committee.

This weekend, the County has yet another new problem. The untimely death of Gary J. Dobbert, who had been accused of being the master mind behind the whole pension debacle.

Now, I am no lawyer, nor do I play one on TV or in the blogs, but it would seem to me that if there is any discrepancies in any of the testimony that Dobbert gave during various depositions and interviews, this would open the door for Mercer's lawyers to jump all over it, and discredit the whole case.

Obviously, no one is to blame for the unfortunate passing of Dobbert. But one must wonder who thought that it would be a good idea to hire a person to be your star witness without vetting the person first.

And for my 2.3 readers, who are already aware that I am by no means a fan of Scott Walker, I am not blaming him for this. At least not directly.

He gave the order for the lawsuit to be approved, but I doubt that he is trying to micromanage the case. After all, as Mike Mathias and Dan Cody point out, he's been a real busy fellow.

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