Bruce Murphy
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Consultants Make $5.3 Million on Foxconn

Consultants and firms paid millions by state, county and village governments.

By - Jan 13th, 2020 12:00 pm
Foxconn. Photo courtesy of Foxconn Technology Group.

Foxconn. Photo courtesy of Foxconn Technology Group.

When state and local governments are subsidizing a massive project like Foxconn, you can bet that various consultants will be scrambling to win contracts and get aboard the gravy train. To check out just who has been hired and how much they are getting paid, The Journal Times of Racine “asked Mount Pleasant, Racine County and [state] WEDC officials how many tax dollars were spent on consultants for the Foxconn project” from 2017 to October 2019. 

The total as of October was more than $5.3 million for services “ranging from communications to finance and legal advice,” the story reported, including four payouts by the Village of Mount Pleasant:  

  • $2.26 million to the law firm of von Briesen and Roper, s.c., which has been working on land acquisition for the village and other legal matters
  • $684,000 to the Milwaukee PR company Mueller Communications LLC, the village’s communication consultant
  • $534,700 to Kapur & Associates, the village’s project director on the Foxconn development
  • $114,000 to Ehlers, Inc., financial adviser to the village on Foxconn. 

There have been five payouts by Racine County: 

  • $575,000 to Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren, s.c., more than for legal services
  • $545,000 toward an underwriter discount related to bonding the county did on the project
  • $259,000 to PFM for financial services
  • $138,000 to Quarles & Brady LLP for legal services
  • $18,500 to Moody’s Corp. for financial services.

And three payouts by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation: 

  • $177,000 to Foley & Lardner LLP, for legal services
  • $16,500 to Baker Tilly for “third-party analysis”
  • $2,500 to Display Supply Chain Consultants, LLC for a “display industry tutorial.”

“Not included” in these figures, the story notes, “is the cost associated with the man-hours that regular staff members from each of the governmental entities dedicate to the project.”

Typically these kind of consulting costs paid to private entities are included in government projections of the likely costs for a project. But the Foxconn project’s size and specifications have changed so many times that it may be difficult to determine whether some of these costs are an add-on to the total cost. 

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