Monday, March 16, 2015

Rick Esenberg - Man of the People

By Jeff Simpson

Rick Esenberg, using the Purple Wisconsin forum, recently wrote about the "lack of candor" of certain people who were fighting the recent wage theft bill that the Republicans in Wisconsin quickly rammed through the legislature.

However, Mr. Esenberg had the unmitigated gall to write the following:

But no one paid me to be there either and I am a public interest lawyer and legal scholar who goes where the evidence leads me. I truly believe that and try to conduct myself accordingly.

Seriously Mr. Esenberg wrote that.  Apparently legal ethics does not transfer over to statewide blogs.

Lets break this down.

*  But no one paid me to be there either

That is actually flat our lie.  As "executive director" of W.I.L.L., which is amazingly classified as a "non-profit", Mr. Esenberg makes a minimum of $210,000/yr.  For those scoring at home, that is more than four average teachers salaries combined.  

Let's also not forget who is paying this exorbitant - Michael Grebe.  Scott Walker's campaign manager is also the man funder of W.I.L.L. (Mr. Esenberg refuses to reveal other funders).  Does anyone really think that Mr. Walker's campaign manager did not want his well funded political gopher groups there at the forefront of the battle to pass the Diane Hendricks bill?  

 *  I am a public interest lawyer and legal scholar who goes where the evidence leads me.

Mr. Esenberg recently sued the Kenosha School district using new union boss Kristy laCroix as a prop.   Thanks to Ms. LaCroix's step father, he was voted a huge settlement of public education tax dollars to be split between himself and Ms. LaCroix.  

Feeling empowered, and well funded by Mr. Grebe, he also grabbed a new tool - David Blaska, and sued the Madison Metropolitan School District because they actually sat down at the table and negotiated with the Madison Teachers to agree on a new contract(while ACT10 was stayed).   

They were incensed that MTI was able to negotiate a .025% raise for its members.  Yes you read that right .025%.  After two years of wage freeze, now teachers in madison will be getting about a $60 salary increase for the year.   

Apparently, the "evidence led" to Mr. $210,000 yearly non profit director. who lives in Milwaukee to find that unacceptable in Madison.    

Mr. Public Interest lawyer, felt it was in the public's interest to force MMSD into court where they will spend a needless few thousand dollars, and win in the end.   

 I truly believe that and try to conduct myself accordingly.

If that what it takes you to tell yourself to sleep at night, so be it.  However we have show that you have a high propensity to mislead if not flat out lie.

It amazes me that David Haynes would allow such misleading and dishonest tripe in his newspaper.

 Image result for rick esenberg


  1. It doesn't surprise me that David Haynes allows such misleading and dishonest tripe in his newspaper -- he's been doing it for some time now, to the detriment of Wisconsin citizens.

  2. He is one of the drivers of Walker's clown car.

    1. Try to post that at The Political Environment blog. MJS hack James Rowen won't allow it.

  3. both rick and the paper he writes for are losers.

    embarrassments , both, to the people of the state of Wisconsin.

    when will the people learn.

    1. Well said. Why does Sleaz-enberg and Schneider get regular column space from Haynes, but someone like Graeme Zielinski or Scot Ross or some other liberal get similar space? At least the liberal guys would have their columns be somewhat connected to reality.

      This is yet another reason why a "Balance in media" rally is far overdue outside of the Bradley Center, with the loudspeakers blaring at the right-wing rag printed across 4th Street.

      Haynes is a gutless embarrassment that's not up to the job

  4. Anon: 9:11

    Try to post that at the Political Environment blog. Anything that does not worship Rowen's MJS is not allowed there even though this is the biggest pro-Walker propaganda rag in the state and leads the Wisconsin right-wing echo chamber.

    It's funny how he posts anti-walker stuff all day but stands up for MJS. Makes one wonder if he is really on our side. After all, being part of the propaganda network that created our divide-and-conquer governor and not allowing any comments to be posted that point out MJS's role in creating one of the most divisive political climate in is the most important story in Wisconsin.

    But its not allowed at the Political Environment Blog (and James Rowen boasts to be a journalism-kind-of-guy!).

    1. well, I posted it here.

      sorry that the paper does not like posting the truth.

      it says a lot about the press.

  5. It seems that Mr. Esenberg is a worthy successor to the John McAdams Chair of Silly Academic Sock Puppets.

  6. For the record, in addition to the overall 0.25% pay increase, Madison teachers get another 3.0% increase based on longevity. Pretty nice. You might want to talk to former Dem legislator and orange shirt-wearer Joe Parisi about the legality of union contracts. Now Dane County executive, He terminated his union's contracts upon advice of corporation counsel. Since George Washington's time, American law holds that if a lower court ruling has been overturned, it is as if that ruling never occurred. You may not like Act 10 but it is the law.

    1. You should look up what a "stay" means since you are obviously getting really bad legal advice.

      Only certain teachers, who reach longevity marks get that increase and its not 3%. Even if it were a 3% raise is not that good. The troops travelng with walker, or our republican legislature sure wouldnt be happy with a 3% raise.

      You are going to lose this, and you know it. All you are doing is sucking valuable dollars from our kids to try and prove a political point.

      Its unfortunate taht ethics are foreign to you.

    2. well, well, well, blaska not only lies in his own column, he has to come here and do it too.

      aren't we lucky.

    3. Wisconsin State Journal 6-5-14:
      "A large majority of Madison school teachers (in past years it has ranged from 2/3rds to 3/4rs of educators) will get longevity raises averaging between 2% and 3%, according to the district. Add that to the 0.25% and the real raise for most Madison teachers will be about 10 times more than advertised.

      "In addition, a smaller group of teachers will get extra pay for completing higher education coursework toward advanced degrees. And ... teachers who supervise certain extracurricular clubs ... can earn more."

      Who is lying, teachers union apologists?

    4. Longevity increases are earned increases for loyalty and great service. Maybe you should google the costs of new employees v retaining your employees. You must be getting economic advice from the shark. As an economist, he makes a heck of a lawyer.

      However, lets look at the numbers 2/3 is not all and 2-3% is not 3%.

      With frozen wages for years, all the while having to pay out of their pocket to keep taking classes to keep their license current. Not to mention the increased cost in health insurance they are paying for.

      * as for higher degrees, who in the world would think that our educators do not need education? We have a college drop out Governor and he has been a complete disaster.

      FINALLY, did you really post -

      teachers who supervise certain extracurricular clubs ... can earn more.

      You do understand that that means more duties? Should we pay people more money for doing more work or would you prefer every educator work for free?

      I swear you are more simple than I originally thought.

    5. "However, lets look at the numbers 2/3 is not all and 2-3% is not 3%."

      And it sure as hell ain't the 0.25% you tried to palm off on your readers. ("You read that right: 0.25%.")

      Now to the challenge round: Name one other occupation that awards longevity pay increases ON TOP OF annual adjustments.

      As for Mr. Esenberg's legal acumen, I'll take his advice over yours any day, given his record of winning these cases in court. (Just ask Kenosha school district.) Weren't you among those who said I had no standing to bring suit?

    6. And what don't you understand about a legal "stay"? It is always temporary. It expires when the matter has been settled. To argue that the MTI-Madison collective bargaining agreement remains valid today because it was enacted during the temporary stay is to make permanent that stay. Lawyers for Dane County wrote last November, "“The effect of an unqualified reversal of a lower court is to nullify it completely, as if the lower court decision had never been rendered.” Based on that, county exec Joe Parisi (who wore the orange T-shirt of protest as a Democratic state assemblyman in 2011) invalidated the county's union contracts.

    7. And you are again incorrect to allege that "Longevity increases are earned increases for loyalty and great service."

      What's this? Merit pay in a union collective bargaining agreement. Nope. No way. Another falsehood promoted by our Jeff. Longevity increases are awarded for (wait for it) ... longevity.

    8. Gee Dave, waiting on the edge of your seat for the ETF annuity rate adjustment? Last year it was 4.7% for the core fund and 25% for the variable fund. That looks much better than that "exorbitant" 3% raise doesn't it? But I'll bet you've refused that increase in the interests of your conservative "purity" and well known abhorrence of raises for government "moochers"

    9. What is slightly disturbing is when someone uses somebody else's name and posts it on a blog. Then the comments posted are so ridiculously foolish that know one would believe said poster, such as Blaska, actually posted the comment. For example, how foolish is it to think that longevity is not rewarding loyalty???? Hey sarcastic guy pretending to be Blaska, you are funny to some extent. Now if you really were Blaska, I would expect you to at least admit that quality individuals will stick around when they are fairly compensated and paying them more for sticking around will make them want to be loyal.
      What really is the problem is the two belief systems. One is that if you pay someone for quality work and pay them for loyalty, you will get more of the same in return. The other, which fake Blaska is making sarcastic fun of because it is foolish beyond belief, is that there is this great system where you get paid for what you do, such as piece work in a factory, for people such as teachers. The second belief is based on the premise that an educated child is no more valuable than some part built in a factory.

    10. David you might be the simplest person who comments here so lets address a couple things

      1. the shark should have more legal acumen than I. I didnt go to law school, but I am certain by the times it is all over Lester Pines will have the shark peeing his pants.

      2. Wins in court and the Kenosha school system are two different things. They SETTLED only after Esenberg's prop Kristy LaCroix's daddy was the deciding vote to settle. There was no win there for anyone but kristy and her daddy.

      3. thanks for you perpetual commentary on parisi's wardrobe. Kinda creepy though.

    11. The school board settled on advice from school district legal counsel, which had warned nine months earlier, when the contract was approved by a 4-3 vote, that the contract was illegal. The voters of Kenosha apparently thought so, too.

      Jeff, we're up to at least 4 corrections I've had to make of you in just this one blog.

    12. Kristy's daddy was the deciding vote to hand Kristy thousands of public education taxpayer dollars.

      You are being blatantly dishonest. he fact he did not have to recuse himself, boggles the mind.

    13. From the Milw Journal-Sentinel: "Legal rulings after that agreement resulted in WERC then informing Kenosha that the unions were not, in fact, certified collective bargaining representatives at the time, [school district spokesman Tanya] Ruder said. That meant the union didn't actually represent the employees in November when the collective bargaining agreements were reached, Ruder said. She added that the agreements were therefore void as a matter of law, and that was why the board decided to settle."

      That was in June 2014 -- BEFORE the state supreme court upheld Act 10 by a 5-2 vote.

      The school board by its illegal action incurred the obligation to pay $10,500 attorneys fees.

      One more thing, Jeff. The people of Wisconsin have twice re-elected Scott Walker after passage of Act 10.

    14. yes it is very unfortunate that h has won re-election three times. However, please feel free to post where he ran on ACT10 and its merits?

      It is unfortunate for all in the state that he did not run on the issues and the dems never pushed the issue.

      70 million dollars of propaganda ads and we think hat scott Walker created jobs and had a surplus, of course reality hit the next day and now we are trying to cut billions to over come the financial mismanagement of the republicans. Whatever it takes to win elections I guess.

      David, how much is Esenberg and Grebe paying you to be their prop? Be honest.

    15. Scott Walker didn't run on Act 10? What was the recall all about then? If it didn't come up in 2014 it was because Mary Burke knew it was not an issue. How much are Esenberg and Grebe paying me? $0. No Koch Bros, no ALEC, no "FAUX News," no Karl Rove. Sorry, Jeff, but hobgoblins are for kids on Halloween.

    16. The recall was about Scott Walker lying and taking away collective bargaining rights. Its unfortunate that his competition never made those things a campaign issue.

      Mary Burke's first hire was a republican lobbyist who ran a horrible campaign. We see how to beat Walker now by the way the national republicans are attacking him. He is vulnerable in so many ways.

      As for you not making any money for being Grebe's prop in filing a frivolous lawsuit against the children of Madison - I call Bullsh%t. Do not tell me you are doing this out of the kindness of your heart. There is something in it for you.

    17. Blaska, I'll start taking you seriously when you give up your pension, your Social Security and all the other benefits that the unions have won. Until then, you're just a hypocrite.

  7. Blaska...old,fat, impotent and consorting with and apologizing for neo-fascists. Dont know why he hates public school so much. I hear his best days were spent elbowing his high school underclassmen in the heads and hazing kids he thought might be "pansies" in gym class.

  8. Well, I think you partially got this correct. Did you read the argument that Esenberg was putting forth? It is the same LEGAL argument put forth in the John Doe II proceedings in front of Judge Randa.

    “There was a false narrative about disinterest being pushed by the opponents of right to work…

    a show of how no one had paid him and he …who goes where the evidence leads him.

    [But] Senators Wirch and Larson made a show of pointing out that certain of the witnesses in favor of Right to Work did - or have - received funding from the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation. Given the scope of Bradley's activities, all this means is that the speakers are active in the libertarian and conservative policy world. In other words, all it establishes is that they have a perspective that I, for one, am perfect willing to admit.”

    His legal argument is the same one being used to counter the John Doe II investigation—the same argument that Judge Randa bought into when he ruled that Walker and other politicians were not “coordinating” based on being bought, but rather that they have political beliefs and that the secret PACs were just exercising their Free Speech rights by financially supporting those with whom they already agreed.

    The argument being pursued here REVERSES the idea about corruption, that money drives the ideology. What Esenberg is arguing is that the political idea comes first and the money follows. That basic point in your post gets it right. But you missed the larger purpose behind WILLs post.

    But understand that his post was written to communicate to the O’Keefe’s and their attorneys to add more fodder to their legal briefs. Of course, they read his blog. But DAs likely don’t read yours.

    What you should be calling him out for is not what you have. What you should be calling him out for is the logical fallacy behind his argument, the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy.

    I am not an attorney, nor do I play one on tv.

  9. Today at 11;00 The Editor at the MJS will be having a Live Chat, Good time to ask questions!!

  10. Our favorite conservatrite got his drink on early today. Happy St. Pats David.

  11. Scott Walker's Palace Guard got a $4/hour raise.

  12. Jeff, first I am glad that you are feeling better and wish you well. Really, I do. Politics isn't everything.

    But you get so many things wrong and you do in such a nasty and clumsy way. Of course I am paid a salary. (Since you are so interested, its $ 228,000 which is benchmarked at 80% or comparable positions. It's about half of what I'd make had I stayed in the private sector.)

    But Lafer gets paid too and his work is supported by a union-funded think tank.He meant that no one told him or offered him money to testify. Well, no one told me to testify or offered me money either. I told the committee that WILL is a free market organization and that we get money from Bradley. I admit to being a conservative libertarian. Lafer acted as if he rolls out of bed in the morning with no preconceptions. That's preposterous.

    I sincerely believe RTW is a good idea. Lafer sincerely believes it is not. You should understand that people who disagree with you are just as sincere in their beliefs as you are. They are not hacks, charlatans or lackeys even if it pleases you to think they are.

    As to the LaCroix case, the position that we took was vindicated by the Supreme Court. The school board made a good call to give up. (And, btw, neither I nor Kristi got any money. The fees awarded to WILL, half of which were for an open meetings violation, were much less than we put it into it. We never take cases for the fees, although we'll take them if we are entitled. We set our budget based on donations.) As for Madison, the problem is not the salary increase, it's that the contract is not Act 10 compliant. (There was, incidentally, no "stay" (wrong term) or injunction in the case before Colas.)

    And Blaska is right. We've prevailed in about 85-90% of our cases to date. And, no, he is not going to get anything from anybody for being the plaintiff in that case. I may buy him a drink if I'm in Madison, but I would have done that anyway.

    The anonymous poster is right in that I think conservatives attract conservative donors and liberals attract liberal donors. But that has little to do with what we argued in the amicus briefs we filed in Doe related cases and I don't use my blog to send signals to people.

    Finally, I can assure you that Lester does not make me "pee in my pants" any more than I make him do so.

  13. Rick,

    Thank you for visiting and commenting and stating your case. Thanks also for the well wishes. I have always welcomed open and honest debate from everyone. ESPECIALLY people willing to use their name.

    Lets take a look at a couple of things.

    1. $ 228,000 which is benchmarked at 80% or comparable positions. _

    That fact that as a head of a "nonprofit" you make mor than what four teachers makes floors me. I would be curious as to what you considered comparable positions _ would you compare it to the heads of othr Bradley funded organizations or the heads of actual non profits doing actual public service. Im guessing if say the head of DAIS or say the local Komen Foundation made that much money there would be investigations and outrage.

    2. Well, no one told me to testify or offered me money either.

    isnt that really why the Bradley Foundation funds you> To be on retainer to back up everything Scott Walker does with a "legal opinion"? Have you ever once worked on a case that went against them? or is walker just batting 1000 in his work?

    3. WILL is a free market organization - a "free market" organization out of Milwaukee would NOT b suing the Madison Schools because they decided they wanted to negotiate with the Madison teachers. Free market as defined is a market system in which the prices for goods and services are set freely by consent between sellers and consumers,

    the sellers and consumers in Madison made that choice freely. For an organization out of Milwaukee to interfere is the furthest thing from the free market.

    I have no doubt that you sincerely believe that RTW is a good idea. I have no doubt that you think ACT10 was a great law. However the true sincerity gets a little shrouded when you get paid so much to have such an opinion.

    However I would also say when you have such strong beliefs on things that are proven to be false (we know that RTW has been a disaster in states that have enacted it. We also know that ACT 10 has sucked billions from our economy causing us to be near the bottom of pretty much every economic indicators since its been enacted, then that puts you in the category of hacks, charlatans and lackeys.
    As a matter of fact, I believe you are one who wrote a few columns on the ridiculousness that we were going to have a budget deficit this year and talked about our surplus. The question is did you know you were wrong when you wrote those columns? Did you know that we were headed to a budget mess after the election? that would put you in the lackey category. If you were misled and didnt know any better that just makes you wrong. its unfortunate i havent seen a mea culpa column.

    As for the laCroix case, As a school board member I can not even sub in my district for a day or be an assistant coach because of the conflict of interest. Yet kristy's step father was the deciding vote. That boggles my mind.

    Its nice to know that Blaska gets nothing or being the plaintiff in a frivolous lawsuit suing he children of Madison. shows he is a worse person than I originally thought.

    I anxiously await to see how the lawsuit you filed ends up in Madison.

    finally yes right wing orgs get right wing money and Lefty orgs get a little (but immensely less money) . the difference is righty orgs use their money to push propaganda in as many ways as possible. which is why people like us do this for free for to correct the record.

  14. Rick,

    Now that we established that you "dont get paid" to show up to testify for the wonders of RTW. Then we look at the actual numbers and facts of RTW -

    Independent economists confirm that RTW lowers wages for nonunion workers. A new study by a team of economists from the University of Nevada and Claremont McKenna College (Eren and Ozbeklik 2012) estimates that the damage that RTW inflicts on nonunion employees is even greater than earlier research suggested. The authors estimate that wages of nonunion workers in Oklahoma fell 4.3 percent as a result of RTW. The wage losses of nonunion workers could even be higher in states such as New Hampshire, where a higher share of the workforce is unionized than in Oklahoma.
    Employers say RTW is less meaningful than ever. In the past year, Area Development magazine updated its annual survey of manufacturers—focused on small manufacturers, which make up roughly three-fourths of the survey sample. RTW, which had never ranked in the top 10 factors influencing location decisions, ranked 14th in 2009 and slipped to 16th in 2010 (Area Development 2011).
    Oklahoma think tank reports that RTW has failed to create the predicted jobs. The Oklahoma Council on Public Affairs, a think tank that played a leading role in promoting Oklahoma’s RTW law, reports that the state has lost manufacturing jobs (Moody and Warcholik 2011) and become a net job exporter (Moody and Warcholik 2010), with jobs leaving the state to almost all of Oklahoma’s neighbors, including non-RTW Colorado.
    Study shows RTW increases construction fatalities. A new study shows that, in addition to its negative impact on wages and benefits, RTW also makes for less-safe workplaces, including increased fatalities for construction workers (Zullo 2011). This fact is unsurprising given that unions spend significant resources on occupational safety and negotiate job safety procedures beyond those contained in OSHA regulations. Since both the stated goal and the clear impact of RTW are to undermine union strength, it is only logical that job safety would suffer as a result.
    Data show New Hampshire continues to outperform RTW states. As of December 2011, unemployment in New Hampshire was lower than in all but three of the 22 states that had right-to-work laws at that time (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2012).
    Signs of weakness appear in the “South Carolina model.” Both the American Legislative Exchange Council (Laffer, Moore, and Williams 2011) and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (Eisenach et al. 2011) issued reports promoting South Carolina as a model of economic development due, in part, to its RTW law, with the Chamber praising the Palmetto State for its “strong pro-employment policies” (Eisenach et al. 2011, 11). But at the end of 2011, South Carolina’s unemployment rate was 9.5 percent—nearly double that of New Hampshire. South Carolina’s poverty rate was also double that of New Hampshire, while its median household income in 2010 was almost $25,000 lower. The rate of new business openings was 25 percent greater in New Hampshire than in South Carolina. When it comes to “new economy” firms—the high-tech, high-wage employers that every state seeks—New Hampshire is ranked the 11th most attractive in the country, while South Carolina ranks 39th.

    Would you care to admit that maybe you dont get paid to testify for things like RTW because economics is not your strong suit? There really is no economic indicators that say its a helpful for a state to be RTW.

  15. Rick, I certainly hope you realize the irony in your comment that you want a free market system when you are actively working to keep it from being anything than a free market.

    RTW's sole purpose is to keep the free market from working by taking away the worker's voice and power to fairly negotiate their wages, benefits and workplace conditions.

    And bragging about the current Supreme Court confirming your arguments is not really a bragging point. This would be especially true considering that four of the justices are compromised by taking extraordinarily large amounts of campaign donations by the same people that pay your salary.

    But then again, a real lawyer would have know about the United States Supreme Court's ruling on these sorts of issues. That's why I am informing you about them.

    Let me say that I am happy that you are proud of your work for RTW and that you willingly admit that you think it's a good idea. It takes a lot of courage for a person to admit that they are fully square with an ideology based in the base racism. Um, you are aware of the history of RTW, aren't you?

    Oh dear, you do have a lot to learn, don't you, Rick?

  16. Kenosha teachers union loses in court. Can't blame this on Kristy LaCroix's dad.
    "Judge Bastianelli disagreed with the unions, stating he could find no case "supporting the proposition that a trial court’s decision is precedential and has statewide effect."