Bruce Murphy
Back in the News

Does Tim Michels Live Outside Wisconsin?

Family of GOP candidate for governor owns $17 million mansion in Connecticut and kids have attended nearby schools.

By - May 2nd, 2022 02:27 pm
Tim Michels. Photo from Michels for Governor Facebook page.

Tim Michels. Photo from Michels for Governor Facebook page.

Does Republican gubernatorial candidate Tim Michels actually live outside Wisconsin?

Records show that Tim and his wife Barbara Michels have owned a home in Connecticut since 2017, as reported by Wisconsin Right Now (WRN).

“The couple first purchased a home in exclusive Greenwich, a bedroom community for celebrities and millionaires who commute to Manhattan.” the publication reported. An LLC traced to Michels “purchased that four-bedroom, five-bath home in December 2017 for $4.6 million…. The LLC then traded up, purchasing the $17 million house in Riverside, Connecticut, a neighborhood of Greenwich, in 2020. They sold the first Greenwich home in April 2021 for $6.5 million.”

The couple also owns a New York penthouse along E. 68th St that they purchased in 2015 for $8.7 million. “Barbara Michels listed the $17 million home as her ‘residential street address’ when she made a campaign donation in December 2021, and she listed the couple’s Manhattan penthouse as her address when she made a campaign donation in 2020,” the story reports.

The couple’s two youngest children “attended Connecticut and New York City high schools for their entire high school years. The oldest child graduated from Xavier High School in New York City in 2016 (he started attending that school in 2013); the daughter graduated from Marymount School of New York in 2019; and the youngest son graduated from Brunswick High School in Greenwich in 2021. A call to each school confirmed none of them are boarding schools… Dartmouth University lists the hometown for Michels’ youngest son, who graduated from high school in 2021, as Riverside, Connecticut.”

In short the Michels children have been attending schools on the East Coast since 2013.

The couple also own a home and lot in Hartland, WI, worth more than $5 million and are registered to vote in Wisconsin. But it certainly looks like the family has been living for years in another state. A story about a donation by Tim and Barbara Michels’ donation to Weill Cornell Medicine notes that “By 2017, the family was living in the New York area.”

The Michels campaign did not respond to requests for the couple’s voting and tax and records by WRN and seems to have been caught flat-footed by the issue. As the story notes, the lifestyle the couple has been living contradicts Michels’s campaign announcement speech, where he “stood before red utility vehicles and posed with construction workers. An east coast lifestyle full of yachting and polo clubs is clearly not the image the campaign is after.”

Michels has also run a campaign ad describing himself as a “self-made businessman,” but as Michael Horne reported for Urban Milwaukee, the company was actually built by his parents Dale and Ruth Michels, and then taken over by their children, including Tim.

This fine piece of reporting by WRN begins with a bizarre, three-paragraph “editor’s note” by Jim Piwowarczyk explaining why it reported this story on a Republican candidate. One would have thought the fact that it was newsworthy was sufficient explanation.

Update: On Monday afternoon Michels did an interview with conservative talk radio host Dan O’Donnell reported by the AP and confirmed that he has lived about half the time in Manhattan and Connecticut, where his children attended schools, since 2013, He said that for all but one of these nine years he lived at least 183 days in his Wisconsin home, to maintain residency, both for voting and paying taxes, even though the family was still living on the East Coast. “We probably could have moved back [to Wisconsin] a few years ago,” Michels said in the interview, but the family did not want to disrupt their daughter’s senior year in high school. However, she graduated from a New York high school in 2019. Has the family now moved back to Wisconsin? That’s not clear.

9 thoughts on “Back in the News: Does Tim Michels Live Outside Wisconsin?”

  1. Polaris says:

    What a rube.

  2. ringo muldano says:

    Gak! Knuckle-head Tim is a bigger POS than Ranthum, Becky, and Nicholson combined! How is that possible?

  3. 45 years in the City says:

    In the JS version of this story, Michels states the NYC residence was necessary to supervise his company’s work on a New York subway project. Can we dare to dream he supports public transportation (at least when his company gets a piece of the money)?

    Regardless of where the homes are, look at the values: $17mil, $8.7mil, and $5mil. This doesn’t seem like someone “in touch” with the common Wisconsinite – as his ads would have you believe.

  4. NieWiederKrieg says:

    Wearing a starched blue collar shirt with 5 days worth of bearded stubble on his face… That’s Michels’ impression of the unwashed working class…

  5. RetiredResident says:

    How does one “supervise” a project in NYC while “living” 1,000 miles away for 183 days a year?

  6. TransitRider says:

    He apparently didn’t work on the NYC subway, but instead on a piece of the “East Side Access” project for the Long Island Railroad. Yes, it is underground and it is in NYC, but it’s not the NYC subway anymore than Chicago’s Metra trains are part of the el trains.

    The East Side Access project (to bring some LIRR trains into Grand Central Terminal—today all LIRR trains into Manhattan use Penn Station which is HORRIBLY overcrowded) is outrageously over-budget (originally budgeted at about $4.3 billion, it’s now estimated to be over $11 billion and still not yet open) and behind schedule. Being part of this fiasco is not something to be proud of.

  7. kaygeeret says:

    I am confused about the voting registrations mentioned in the article.

    He claims to ‘live’ here for 183 days a year to maintain the right to vote. Apparently away from his family for 1/2 of the year and not available to ‘supervise’ his company’s work in NY. I don’t find that very credible.

    His wife is registered to vote in both NYC and Conn. – in different years.

    Does this actually make sense? Is this what the oligarchs do? Register to vote in, multiple places so they can vote where ever they are – or simply vote everywhere?

    I am a bit confused to be honest.

  8. mkwagner says:

    Michels wants us to believe that he knows what Wisconsin needs. He didn’t raise his children in Wisconsin. They graduated from schools in NYC. He works on the East Coast. What does he know about the schools our children attend? What does he know about our struggles? What does he know of our frustration and fears? Probably nothing but I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if he is convinced that he knows exactly what we need. Too many politicians like Michels–yes, he very much is a politician but not one who works for the greater good–believe they know best. Funny thing, these politicians always seem to profit handsomely at our expense.

  9. TransitRider says:

    Kaygeeret, perhaps the Michels family chooses to vote in Wisconsin in even-numbered years (like 2022) and in CT or NY in odd-numbered years (like 2021). Both Greenwich CT and NYC hold local elections in ODD years. Eric Adams was elected NYC’s mayor in 2021 and Greenwich elected its local officials (“selectmen”) that year as well.

    Thus it seems entirely legal (but unfair) for people with two homes to vote in two places.

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