— Two Democratic members of the board that runs Gov.
Scott Walker's troubled economic development agency called
Wednesday for the CEO to resign, citing critical audits
and "stonewalling" the release of requested
information about questionable loans.
Minority Leader Rep. Peter Barca and state Sen. Julie
Lassa said they no longer have confidence that Reed Hall
can continue serving as secretary and CEO of the Wisconsin
Economic Development Corporation, a position he's held
since October 2012.
call for him to resign follows Friday's release of nearly
1,000 pages of documents in response to a request from
Barca and Lassa that showed the agency in 2011 and 2012
gave out more than $124 million to companies without a
proper review. The awards were made before Hall took the
in response to questions before the Democrats' statement,
defended the agency and said it "didn't cut
corners," but "obviously there's been a few
cases where they weren't as highly effective as we'd
spokeswoman Laurel Patrick did not address the call for
Hall to resign directly Wednesday, but instead said Barca
and Lassa's demands were "both disingenuous and
unfortunate that they are deciding to continue playing
politics rather than working together to spur economic
development in Wisconsin," she said, also noting that
Barca and Lassa both voted to approve $95.5 million of the
awards identified that did not have a staff review, as
well as for tougher new policies in place now.
Democrats said WEDC has not been forthcoming in
information to board members. Lassa said the release of
the documents "was a clear attempt by WEDC to
frustrate and subvert the ability of board members to
receive complete information and factual answers to
spokesman Mark Maley said the agency's staff has
"responded promptly and thoroughly to numerous
requests for additional documents" from Barca and
Lassa. But the lawmakers said the documents were
"haphazard" and did not contain key pieces of
information they had requested, including approved loans
for less than $200,000.
the loan beneficiaries, the now-defunct Milwaukee
construction company Building Committee Inc., was given
$500,000 even though the company was collapsing at the
time and created no jobs. That was among several loans
questioned by state auditors that led Walker in May to
call for scrapping the loan program.
to BCI came after its owner William Minahan had given
Walker's 2010 gubernatorial campaign a last-minute $10,000
donation on Election Day — the maximum individual