Friday, March 9, 2012

Call for Action: Demanding Surface Transportation Board Stop Walker's Pay-to-Play

Madison VOICES readers are rightly upset about how William Gardner and Wisconsin & Southern illegally bundled monies for the anti-high-speed rail candidate Scott Walker.  While now a convicted felon, he has been allowed to directly profit from his criminality with a secret sweetheart deal that reportedly sells 90 percent ownership in WSOR for many millions of dollars - a sale to an private international holding company with ties to the Koch brothers!

But it gets worse, Walker now wants to spend 40 million dollars from next years budget to purchase a 70 mile rail line from Union Pacific and then pay WATCO/WSOR huge amounts of monies to upgrade and maintain that track.  This is pay-to-play and just a preview of what's to come if we don't fight back.  Pleases join us in demanding Surface Transportation Board revoke the approval that was railroaded through over the Christmas holidays in a manner that prevented any meaningful objections or facts to be brought into the process.  For a list of people to start contacting, please CLICK HERE.

Below is the full-text of an email sent to STB today that:
  1. Demands no further publicly-funded purchases be approved that directly or indirectly benefit WATCO and WSOR.
  2. Begin to lay the groundwork for a future petition to revoke approval of Gardner's secret sale of his ownership in WSOR to WATCO as outlined in Cynthia Brown's December 15, 2011, decision.
Sent to STB & commenters on-record February 8, 2012 to
  • Cynthia Brown, Chief; Section of Administration. Office of Proceedings, Surface Transportation Board
  • Andrea Pope-Matheson, Paralegal Specialist (Brown’s assistant) Surface Transportation Board, Office of Proceedings 
  • Rep Brett Husley, 77th Assembly District
  • Kathleen Chung, Attorney. Wisconsin Department of Transportation
  • Karl Morell, Ball Janik LLP (representing WATCO)
It has been publicly announced and I demand you block an upcoming State of Wisconsin purchase of 70 miles of track from Union Pacific for WATCO/WSOR. As all have been informed, the secret sale of WSOR to WATCO is wholly-fraudulent.
Convicted felon Bill Gardner has no right to continue to profit from his (and WSOR's) criminality much less continue to hold and sell agreements that he, as WSOR operator, breached. A petition to revoke (per Cynthia Brown's December decision) is in the works and will be submitted at an appropriate time. Surface Transportation Board cannot approve any additional transactions involving WSOR given:
  1. The operator of tracks owned by public entities and leased to WSOR has breached contractual obligations and should actually be considered in default - the sale of last year is not legitimate and must be overturned.
  2. WATCO fully-knew it was purchasing contaminated agreements yet proceeded to rush this process through and is still hiding terms of this sale from the public. STB has, unknowingly, been hoodwinked. 
  3. Attorney Kathleen Chung inappropriately send misleading comments that omit critical details that needed to be part of any WATCO/WSOR agreement and STB approval.
I demand that the document linked below be part of any upcoming decision on any state-funded purchases that will directly or indirectly benefit WATCO via WSOR.
I demand that this request be part of the record related to the unjust and unfair sale (WATCO Transportation and William Gardner/WSOR) that was approved in December 2011. STB has no choice but to stay any further approval of any action that directly or indirectly benefits WSOR/WATCO until issues intentionally hidden from STB are resolved.
The record needs to show that a phone call to WATCO's attorney was less-than-helpful and I was actually directly sworn at by counsel when I tried to politely inquire why this business-savvy organization and a highly-qualified attorney would pursue a purchase of this nature in a secret sale when there were legitimate questions about the operator's failure to abide by contractual agreements material to the rights to continue holding said agreements.
WATCO would not return my call - this organization has had adequate opportunity to address any and all concerns via an informal process and mutual agreement, but chooses not to. Citizens of Wisconsin now have no choice but to demand STB intercede with appropriate authority. I demand that I be fully-informed of everything that must be done to:
  1. Ensure the damages done by the original decision of STB to approve WSOR sale to WACTO are not compounded by uncalled for state subsidies that amount to nothing less than "pay to play".
  2. Be informed and updated as to any and all proceedings that compound damages that directly and indirectly stem from what appears to be an illegal sale. STB has a duty to protect the public and shippers from fraud, cronyism, and political manipulation.
Please let me remind all parties that an ongoing John Doe investigation indirectly or perhaps wholly relates to activities at the heart of my complaints outlined in this email, previous communications, and the linked statement above. One can reasonably question the very legitimacy of the Walker administration while that process unfolds - it is unjust and unfair to allow any action to proceed until salient issues unresolved are addressed.
STB has no right to help WSOR/Walker continue to railroad their criminal disbursements of public assets to their political donors and supporters and actually has a duty to:
  1. Stop any and all future actions of this type
  2. Overturn any and all decisions which were based on misinformation/omissions that enable disbursements of public assets

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

nice posting.. thanks for sharing.