Thursday, March 8, 2012

Pay to Play? Scott Walker Increasing WSOR Subsidies by Tens of Millions!

Those that have followed VOICES Newspaper this year have seen a 2-part series on WSOR, the second largest railroad in Wisconsin.  Now there is more breaking news.  The first story documented how Wisconsin & Southern literally met the FBI's definition of a "criminal enterprise".

The second exposed how WSOR's convicted felon CEO was profiting from a secret sale to an out-of-state transportation holding company from Pittsburg, KS, WATCO Transportation, which is owned by WATCO Industries; the largest transportation holding company in the world.  The deal appears fraudulent because there are contractual agreements involved that WSOR and Gardner appear to have breached by violating federal laws.>

The first series, in our January, 2012, print edition, was titled:  Was a Criminal Enterprise Under the 2011 Capitol Rotunda Christmas Tree?  The second was in our February, 2012, print edition titled: WSOR TO WATCO: Koch Asset?

The short version is this:  Walkergate's first charges and convictions came when Bill Gardner pleaded guilty to 2 felonies, excessive campaign contributions and bundling.  He coerced employees to give donations to Scott Walker, the anti-high-speed-rail candidate, and then paid them back from the railroads operating income.  He is a convicted felon serving 2 years probation - he got off very lightly.

But then he made untold millions selling what is reported to be a 90 percent share in the railroad in a secret sweetheart deal to what is directly or indirectly a Koch brother’s asset, WATCO, which does 70 percent of its business with Koch Industries.

The sale is likely illegal because WSOR currently operates on more than 500 miles of publicly owned tracks and has leases that prevent WSOR and Gardner from committing crimes.  Please follow the links to our previous stories to learn the shameless details and what you can do to fight this gross injustice and misuse of public monies.  Gardner, WSOR, and WATCO are directly profiting from the railroad’s criminality.

Evidently, everyone involved is too embarrassed to make details of this sale public.  Well, Billy is on probation...

With Walker's "help", WATCO/Koch will reap huge financial rewards via Walker’s planned state purchase of 70 more miles of track from Union Pacific for $40 million or more (out of next year's budget).  The State of Wisconsin will then subsidizing the costs of improvements, maintenance, and operations on top of those millions!   Sauk Prairie Eagle and Reedsburg Times-Press have more:

The last time the state was in negotiations with Union Pacific to purchase that line was in 2010.  Back then the DOT had planned to buy the line using federal stimulus funds, but the plan fell apart once Walker took office and returned the $810 million in stimulus money that was earmarked for the construction of a high-speed passenger train between Milwaukee and Madison.

This all leads to some interesting questions which include:
  • Does "Walker's help" explain Gardner/WSOR's criminal support of the anti-high-speed-rail candidate?
  • Did they think that de-railing high-speed would leave $810 dollars of stimulus monies in the public trough for them to belly up to?  BUMMER - the feds pulled those monies and now the state is on the hook for the entire cost of this purchase.
  • Is this pay for play?
  • Is this a pay back WATCO and Koch Industries for the millions David Koch has invested in Walker in Wisconsin
  • Do more subsidies to WATCO encourage Koch to keep dumping in more millions into the recall?

We are talking many tens of millions of dollars here and many times more than that over the years, all underwriting WATCO rail costs in Wisconsin and fully-subsidizing profits.  WATCO is directly tied to Koch Industries.  What a deal!  Can David Koch spell R-E-B-A-T-E?

Pretty sweet if you can get it, but then, you have to pay to play with Scott Walker.  Just ask Milwaukee Realtors.

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