Michael Horne
The Roundup

Lottery Takes a Gamble

By - Jun 6th, 2005 12:00 pm
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The Wisconsin Lottery has at least one vending machine in the Milwaukee area. You can see the unarmed bandit at the Jewel Osco store on E. Garfield St. at N. Humboldt Ave.

It is the unattended thing near the unstaffed customer service counter. Something seems un-right about the machine, especially when you consider that lottery sales are not permitted for those under 18. A similar situation prevailed with cigarette vending machines, which have since disappeared from those locations open to minors.

There was also the lingering feeling that lottery ticket vending machines, jammed full of scratch-off games, was not in the original intent of the founders of Wisconsin’s game of chance.

The Wisconsin Lottery responds, quite over-vehemently, that the machines are just fine.

“The sale of Wisconsin Lottery tickets through vending machines is not prohibited by the Wisconsin Constitution or statutes,” writes Lottery Director Michael Edmonds, via his aide Andrew Bohage.

He goes on: “The vending machines do no more than dispense lottery tickets.  A person using a vending machine is not using the machine to “play”, but rather simply to purchase tickets.  In other words, the vending machine performs the same function as a clerk standing at the cash register selling tickets.”

Say what? The clerk standing at the cash register selling tickets is obligated by law to ascertain that prohibited products not be bought by minors.

Vending machine technology, the engine of progress that it is, has not sufficiently evolved to allow gambling devices to ascertain the age of their players. Teenagers, however, continue to evolve, particularly in their powers of outwitting complacent adults, particularly when vice is involved.

Grocery clerks, who seem always harried, can hardly be expected to monitor vending machines, so it seems like the lottery is opening itself to abuse.

I talked to John Tries, who used to run the lottery. “We did a study of machines early in the lottery, but there was concern about underage people getting access to the machines. The legislature had some concerns, too, as I remember, and I think something came up during budget time. We decided not to go ahead with the machines.”

I think it would be a good time for Chief Hegerty to hand a couple of crisp dollar bills to some underaged police aides and see how easily they can buy tickets at the Jewel-Osco. Then she should write some tickets of her own, and the Wisconsin Lottery should get these machines out of town, especially since they will most likely be located in economically-challenged areas of the city, you can bet.

MAC Plans Construction

It is the men’s time at the Milwaukee Athletic Club, where the women’s athletic facilities have already been remodeled. Management of the downtown institution brought the news to members in a May 13th letter, saying, “while we have a first class women’s athletic department, the men’s department does not necessarily represent the top level of service and appearance that we are striving for as a premier private club.” The changes will cost a half-million bucks, and should be completed by fall.

Management has also decided that the club can no longer operate two kitchens, so Phase II of the renovations will be focused on the bar and restaurant operations, including the Bali Room, President’s Room, Doolittles and the Elephant Room. The 1948 Elephant room will be turned into the lounge for the club, including a baby grand piano. The Bali Room will become a dining room, and Doolittle’s will become the casual bar for the facility. The pool tables in the Bali Room, which are among the finest in the city will move down to Doolittle’s. The pool cues, which apparently date to the time when Arthur Bremer worked there, should be tossed in the fireplace. Phase II will cost $2 million.

The busy management of the club is also addressing the issue of a new parking structure. Three development companies have expressed an interest in the existing parking structure, which presents a blank face to newly-invigorated Milwaukee St. As always, a complication for the site is the existing fire house, which ideally would be moved, perhaps to the corner in a real estate swap. The developers also suggest that the MAC consider retail for the new parking structure (mandated by law) and condominia, which would put the MAC on a par with the University Club, which is constructing a condominium building next door to its facility.

If the board of the MAC is scrounging around for funds to finance the extensive improvements planned, they might want to look around the clubhouse. There are several rather valuable paintings in the MAC collection, including a significant Richard Lorenz, a giant Carl von Marr that should probably be in the West Bend museum and a Henry Vianden painting that has been damaged and is in a particularly inappropriate location, subject to food stains and further damage. There are also a couple of Fernekes scattered about and maybe a few other treasures I haven’t yet scoped out. The club could sell some or all of these, and leave its other paintings in place, including a number that are above mediocre, including the Civil War Generals’ portraits (on loan).

Shepex Archives Trashed

The Shepherd Express newspaper, in full-page advertisements, tells us that the paper is now available worldwide, thanks to the internet. Somehow, though, the paper’s archives, which had been on the internet for a number of years, have disappeared entirely. I wrote the Shepherd Express to find out what happened, but the publisher, Louis Fortis, did not respond.

Whether the deletion of the archives was intentional (I could think of many good reasons why Fortis would like to see much of his writing eliminated from cyberspace) or if it was just another example of incompetence, I cannot say.

Joe Klein is inclined to believe the latter possibility, calling the deletion of the archives an act of “data barbarians.”

Sources have told us recently that the archives will be restored. We will be watching.

Other Shepherd-Express News

Publisher Fortis is under investigation by the Department of Workforce Development Unemployment Insurance Bureau of Legal Affairs which has challenged the common Fortis practice of treating employees as independent contractors. This is a ploy which employers like Fortis and his Alternative Publications, Inc. use to avoid paying unemployment insurance premiums and the employer’s match of Social Security and Medicaid contributions as required by established principles of law and human decency.

Attorney Michael J. Mathis of the state says that he met with Fortis and went through a list of employees and contractors for the Shepherd Express for the year 2002. Worker Status Questionnaires were sent to some former Shepherd Express employees to see if they were contractors, or indeed employees. As Mathis says, “Wisconsin has the oldest unemployment compensation law in the country, and it was the intent of the drafters of the legislation to see that it applied to as many workers as possible.” This could cost Fortis some money, and hopefully end the practice at many publications of treating regularly-published talent as independent contractors.

When Governments Sue

A lawsuit filed in December 2000 is still kicking around the courthouse, and is getting more and more complicated. The Plaintiff in Case Number 2000CV010373 is the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District, and the Defendant is the City of Milwaukee. Don’t you love it when governments sue each other?

The Sewerage District claims the city was negligent in December 1999 when a water main broke and caused the collapse of a MMSD interceptor sewer, causing $700,000 in damages. The city was liable, MMSD says, because the water main, with a scheduled life expectancy of 110 years was a mere seventy years old when it broke. A court ruled in favor of the city, but that was overturned on appeal. A Supreme Court ruling followed on January 29, 2005. In addition to the $700,000, MMSD has won a $7,896.54 judgment against the city, which is in no hurry to pay for it. This thing will go on and on, as things tend to do, when governments fight each other.

Letters to ED

We received a couple of letters from staffers involved in the abvortive Observer newspaper that made a brief appearance in the east side lately, having escaped South Milwaukee. We print them here for your edification.

LOGIC SLAMMED

If you’re looking for a more in-depth story about the paper and Jim Logic…email me back.  I was with the people who helped Logic “expand” his paper, but when I realized what a crook he was we (my fiance and I) walked.  I was with the two people who approached both Logic and someone named “Ralph” (who was with the George Watts foundation) for investment money…both men turned out to be crooks and the two people we started the venture with were also extremely unreliable.  Four days before we walked (which was the print date of issue1) we approached the two people we started the venture with (Mike and Will) and told them that the publisher was not acting as a publisher because we had not been paid in a month (I was the A&E editor, my fiance designed the “original” paper…not the nasty design that Jim’s henchman had after applying  fourth grade design skill to a master design) we told them that the publisher was obviously unreliable because I had to buy a monitor for the publication (with the promise of payback), I had to pay freelancers out of my own pocket so that I would actually have a few writers and I also had to hire a freelance photographer (who also had not been paid for both my articles and a few more that Mike had asked him to do, but failed to pay him).  The combination of Logic the crook and Mike the loser leader, made for a spiraling downward business. Did I mention the business plan that Mike and Jim knew about but never told the other people in the paper about? I had to drag it out of Mike.  Mike made a deal with Jim that the advertising revenue would pay for salaries and the paper’s expenses (mileage etc), and Jim would pay for the printing costs and mailing…which the mailing was $22,000 for five weeks.  Deal right?! Hardly, the ad rep that was hired didn’t get a single ad until two days before the first printing.  It was amazing that we finally received our one month worth of salary that was owed. Actually it really wasn’t too amazing, since as a modern girl I know the power of having friends in the law field!  I’ve got more details if you’re interested. Unlike my beloved, I harbor no ill will towards that group only because they all bought into the lie that Logic would provide for them. Well everyone but Mike. Mike knew all along that Logic wasn’t going to pay for salaries and expenses, so it could be said that Mike is either extremely naive or was power hungry (he and the “ad rep” were the only ones who Jim ever met with, even though they ran the paper from our house and we had invested more money in the daily operations then that pin head Logic).  Actually to answer why Jim wanted to expand up the lakeshore, it was part of Mike’s proposal and it could be construed that both Jim and Mike were power hungry for exposure for both their causes (whatever asinine issue came into their little minds at the moment).  It was a good idea before we met (or Mike) with Logic.  Logic is a bad man…but so  is Mike.  And Liz was warned about the bad operation before we left, but she was too simple minded and mentally “whipped” to leave the sinking ship.  I do feel bad for Lisa, and all the other freelancers that got screwed by Jim and Mike…they’re the real victims!  Know anyone who wants a 23 inch Apple monitor:)

Sunny A Rosch

LOGIC PROBLEM

Hey Michael,

I’m emailing you in response to you blurb about the observer . . . I was part of this startup newspaper, in fact, my wife and I started the paper with Will Pleas and Michael McGraw. Jim Logic was brought on board as the “publisher” by Michael McGraw, who together took over 2 months of hard work by a staff of creative individuals including Lisa and Liz as well as other freelancers and sabotaged it . . . . Jim Logic took my design, stripped it of its key design elements from it, and along with the content made his own paper, which obviously was a miserable failure. Jim Logic not only owes Lisa and Liz money, but myself and my wife, as well as numerous other freelancers who were left high and dry, all of whom are under contract, The mans a crook . . . we were told by McGraw that Jim wanted to fund our startup, but in reality he had nothing to do with this newspaper, except stealing & plagiarizing it for his own
political purposes. . . .

I’d be happy to provide more info on this . . . But I thought at least you should have the real story

Joe Shakula

(Last updated December 29 2005 16:19:06. )

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