Michael Horne
Plenty of Horne

Greedy Grebe — Bradley Foundation Pays Boss Big $

By - Nov 22nd, 2005 08:00 am

An article in the Journal of Philanthropy noted that Michael W. Grebe, the former managing partner of Foley & Lardner took an unusual approach to retirement, in that he did not. Instead, the man went right to work running the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, Inc., the Milwaukee charitable organization with 2003 assets of $579,976,984.

One thing he learned over the years at Foley is how to bring in the big bucks. Retirement does not appear to have sapped his earning power very much.

In 2002 Grebe received $292,246 salary from the foundation for his 40 hours of work each week in the Lion House on N. Franklin Place. He also received employee benefit plans and deferred compensation of $34,555.

Not bad pay for a retired guy — albeit one who worked forty hours each week in a mansion surrounded by artwork on loan from the Milwaukee Art Museum — artwork we have written about in the past that had been contributed to the museum, we had thought, for the benefit of the public and not for the benefit of retired corporate lawyers.

Grebe must be an indefatigable retired person, since his 2003 salary from the Bradley Foundation was raised to $529,333 and his benefits increased to $42,000. How to explain the $237,000 raise in just one year?

Well, according to the foundation’s IRS form 990PF, President Grebe now is listed as working 50 hours a week instead of 40. (Like we say, indefatigable.)

So, if you look at it this way, his raise is not that much — in 2002 he made $140.50 per hour, and in 2003 he made $203.58 per hour.
Let’s hope Foley and Lardner has a retirement program for its retired partners that will help guys like Grebe stay afloat in these difficult times.

Chipstone Foundation a Financial Bonanza for Milwaukee Big Shot Lawyers

Foley & Lardner partners don’t have to be retired to draw large outside incomes. Take the case of W. David Knox II, a descendant of the W. D. Hoard family of Fort Atkinson. (You know the people — they operate the National Dairy Shrine, an actual tourist attraction that has a nearly religious appeal for the lactose tolerant). He is listed as the President, CEO and Director of Milwaukee’s Chipstone Foundation in that organization’s IRS reports. In 2003, the foundation, dedicated to American furniture and English porcelains had assets of $55,358,295, not counting the furniture itself, which has been written off the books in accordance with usual accounting standards — although that has not stopped the foundation for selling millions of dollars of furniture whenever the trustees have a whim to do so.

Knox received $3,000 for attending 10 directors and committee meetings of the foundation, which is peanuts compared to retired Foley and Lardner partner Allen M. Taylor, who received $144,000 for 35 hours a week work at the foundation in that year. Taylor also received $162,842 in contributions to employee benefit plans that year. (Back in 1990, Allen M. Taylor, then an active partner at Foley & Lardner, was happy to be paid $1,500 for his services. By 1992, Atty. Taylor received $60,000 for 20 hours work a week at the foundation. Polly Stone died in May, 1995, and Taylor received $112,000 that year. How things change, once the boss is dead!)

Foley & Lardner, the law firm, received $309,547 in fees from Chipstone in 2003, and you can assume some of that made its way to W. David Knox, who did not respond to a request for information from milwaukeeworld.com

But — another entry on the tax form reads “Foley & Lardner — W. D. Knox –type of servce — consulting.” In 2003 that sum paid to Knox was $201,812.

In 2002, Chipstone paid Foley & Lardner $244,740 for its legal work, and “Foley & Lardner — W. D. Knox” another $234,315 in consulting fees.

In 2001 Foley & Lardner received $237,085 in legal fees, and Knox again got a consulting fee of $180,000.

The foundation owns a large home on eight acres in Fox Point, intended by the Stones to become a museum to house their collection. It also owns a home next door which is occupied by its executive director, Jonathan Prown, who was paid $164,500 in 2003.

The foundation has sold millions of dollars of its collection in recent years, averaging over $1,000,000 per piece of furniture sold.

Scores of priceless pieces from the collection have been hauled off to Williamsburg, Virginia, where it is exhibited to the public there. Prown was formerly affiliated with Colonial Williamsburg.

A few pieces are the stars of the American Collections at the Milwaukee Art Museum. The foundation also has office space in the adjacent War Memorial Building.

One thing for sure — the partners and retired partners of Foley & Lardner have a very desirable client in Chipstone.

Other wealthy Milwaukeeans who feed at the Chipstone trough include John S. McGregor, a director who received $6,000 for attending 11 meetings, and got $2,280 in employee benefit plan contributions thrown in, Dudley J. Godfrey, Jr., of the Godfrey & Kahn law firm received $3,000 for attending 10 meetings, and Jere D. McGaffey, another Foley & Lardner bigshot who received $3,000 for his ten meetings (but no contributions to his employee benefit plan)

Too bad the Foundation has done so little otherwise to enrich the lives of Milwaukeeans of ordinary stock, for example, by building a suitable structure to house its treasures here, rather than in Virginia. — Michael Horne

Planted by Chipstone to Relieve the Monotony of the Drive to the Country Club

The Chipstone Foundation did plant the elm trees in the medians of Good Hope and Brown Deer roads in River Hills as a memorial to Polly and Stanley Stone in the late 1990’s.

According to a letter, which is precious in its pretension, from Allen M. Taylor to Richard J. Glaisner, then a trustee of the Village of River Hills (and a recipient of fees from Chipstone in his capacity as a financial advisor):

“Mr. Stone was, as you know, a dedicated arborist. He served for many years as the head of the tree subcommittee of the Grounds Committee at the Milwaukee Country Club … During his lifetime, he was perennially disturbed by the failure of the State Department of Transportation to provide a decorative tree planting scheme on the one mile stretch of median on both the Good Hope and Brown Deer Roads that extends from the Expressway to the Green Bay and Range Line Roads, respectively. This was the drive he made regularly when proceeding from his home in Fox Point to the Milwaukee Country Club.”

The foundation provided $60,000 to purchase the “disease resistant” American Liberty Elms.

“Actual planting of the stock and subsequent maintenance and succor would be the responsibility of the Village.” (Many of the trees were not succored and have died.)

As the letter concluded:

“This project, if implemented, would remind one of the Duke of Wellington’s foresight when, during the Napoleonic Wars, he caused the substantial planting of elm trees to be made on the formal carriage driveways leading into the Alhambra in Granada, Spain. when I saw this planting in 1968, the trees exceeded four feet in diameter.”

When Milwaukeeworld.com saw the Stanley and Polly Stone Milwaukee Country Club Memorial Parkway American Liberty Elms in 2005 they were parched and neglected by the Village of River Hills and those surviving did not exceed five inches in diameter.
–Michael Horne


In case you have been sequestered for the past decade or so, the night before Thanksgiving has become a hot one for clubbing. The college kids are in town, and they sure don’t want to hang around mom’s house while she’s cooking and coming up with chores to be done.

The rest of us wouldn’t mind an escape, either.Join all sorts of people Wednesday for the Seventh Annual “Nod to Bob” at Linneman’s Riverwest Inn, 1001 E. Locust St., where a number of Milwaukee’s finest entertainers like Sammy Llanas, John Sieger and Mike Fredrickson will perform a tribute to the timeless Bob Dylan.

Ten bucks will get you in the door. Another entrance option, since it is a benefit for the Hunger Task Force, is for you to show up with five cans of food and $5 in cash.

If you haven’t been to Linneman’s in a while, this would be a good time to check out the very well-done expansion Jimbo made to the classic Milwaukee brick tavern.

Here’s the set list:


2005 “Nod to Bob” Performers

In order of Appearance

7pm Denny & Josh Rauen Bagpipes “Blowing”, Song to Woody
Chip Cruz Watchtower Inst., Rainy Day Woman
Blaine Schultz Tell Me Mama, Blind Willie McTell
Hayward Williams Desolation Row
8pm Heidi Spencer Band 1 2 many mornings, 2 be alone w/you
Mike Plaisted Maggie’s Farm, Watching River Flow
Amy Rohan Lonesome When Go, Don’t think twice
9pm Blonde on Blonde It ain’t me Babe, I shall be Released
Al Kammen Subterranean Homesick Blues
Jim & Marty Masters or Sweet Marie, Hurricane
Lil’ Rev & Celia Man gave names, Knocking on….
10pm Dan Hanson You Angel You, Love is a 4 Letter Word
Joey Leal Don’t think twice, Baby Tonight
Matt Hendricks Time of Dying, Horris Brown
Mike Fredrickson Tomorrow is Long Time, Buckets of Rain
11pm John Seiger Wicked Messenger, Rainy Day Woman
Bill Camplin & Jason Like a Woman, Back Pages, Belongs to Me
melaniejane Things have changed, Tambourine Man
12pm Sammy Llanas Grain of Sand, Stop Crying, Released
The Up & Atoms Quinn, Make you feel my love
eVibe Cup of Coffee, If your gonna leave
The Form Thin Man, Leopard Skin

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