Monday, February 4, 2013

Brother can you spare a dime? Or perhaps $200 million?

If you had the chance to invest $200 million of your pension trust fund into a quasi-public economic development agency, would you do it?  What if that agency had a proven track record of epic levels of mismanagement, including losing track of a $56 million loan portfolio?  Of course not.  Thankfully, neither did the State of Wisconsin Investment Board.

Documents obtained by Wisconsin Reporter show that Reed Hall, CEO of Walker’s Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, recommended that the SWIB loan $200 million to theWEDC. 

"Walker serves as chairman of the WEDC board of directors.  Hall said WEDC would use SWIB’s cash to promote business growth through taxpayer-subsidized government investments in Wisconsin companies.  In a letter to SWIB, Hall explained that he was turning to the pension fund because his start-up program would likely find it harder to tap private investors “due to a lack of demonstrable track records.

Oh, there's plenty of demonstrable track record at the WEDC.  The problem for them is that it demonstrates rank incompetence at nearly every level.  The problems with the WEDC are myriad and have been covered here before.  Hall certainly has a challenge ahead.  How do you convince private investors to invest their money in an agency that has demonstrated nothing but failure, whose funds will be run by largely first-time fund managers, in a state that has failed miserably at attracting economic development?  Well, you don't.  If you could, Hall wouldn't be hitting up the SWIB for a fix from the pension fund.  These people need to take some personal responsibility and stop looking for a handout.  Isn't it about time the takers stopped begging from the makers?


  1. There's been talk that they will take over money coming to the state for job training...taking it from the Dept of Workforce Development who undergo continuous audits by the state and feds. They'll get it from somewhere no matter what it costs or who suffers from it. Just ask the people waiting for the foreclosure settlement. That money may have ended up in Walker's defense fund for all we know.

  2. Reed Hall, a fervent Tea Bagger and Walker crony, obviously knows nothing about financial management if he thinks that one of the best run pension funds in the country would have a lower standard of due diligence than a private sector investor.

    The private sector doesn't want to invest with WEDC because they can see it is a completely incompetent organization and they aren't looking to have their money vaporized by idiots.