Sup. Michael Mayo
Press Release

Milwaukee County Supervisor Michael Mayo, Sr. Criticizes “Lack of Transparency” in Courthouse Fire Fund Transfer

Milwaukee County Supervisor Michael Mayo, Sr., today criticized officials from the Abele administration for a “lack of transparency” about the actual costs of the Milwaukee County Courthouse fire in July, and he called on the County Board to require more answers about the costs.

By - Jan 22nd, 2014 04:01 pm

Milwaukee County Supervisor Michael Mayo, Sr., today criticized officials from the Abele administration for a “lack of transparency” about the actual costs of the Milwaukee County Courthouse fire in July, and he called on the County Board to require more answers about the costs.

Mayo, who is Chairman of the Transportation, Public Works and Transit Committee, said officials from the administration did not adequately explain the need for a fund transfer of $7 million from the County’s contingency fund to cover costs of repair for the fire. The Committee took testimony from the officials about the fire and the fund transfer on Wednesday.

“There’s a certain lack of transparency in this administration regarding payment for the actual costs of the fire,” Mayo said. “They’re asking us to cover costs of repairs, but they haven’t adequately explained why – if the insurance companies are covering all fire-related costs as they said – that they need $7 million to cover those costs. This is the equivalent of voodoo economics.

“They want $4 million from the 2013 contingency fund and they want us to write a blank check without the funding resources for $3 million in 2014.”

Mayo also questioned whether the County’s insurance companies have stopped paying for repairs because the cause of the fire has yet to be determined. He said media reports indicated key components of the electrical system disappeared after the fire, making it difficult to determine the cause.

“Are they trying to cover for the fact that these components are missing and the insurance companies turned off the money spigot?” he said. “They say they want to pay small vendors who have worked to repair fire damage, but what they are really doing is making sure the big boys get paid. In the past they’ve never shown concern for small business. But when they owe big contractors, they want to make sure they pay them.

“I question the need to make these fund transfers, and I hope the Board will demand more transparency from this administration before we approve them. I want to make sure taxpayers are not on the hook for the costs of this fire.”

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