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Bo Black

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Content referencing Bo Black

Mayor Tom Barrett released the following statement regarding Bo Black:
Bo Black Was My Lighthouse In the Storm
Murphy’s Law: Should Summerfest Pay Higher Rent?
Murphy’s Law

Should Summerfest Pay Higher Rent?

Harbor House pays at least 7 times more than Summerfest per acre of lakefront land.

Murphy’s Law: The Arrogance of Summerfest
Murphy’s Law

The Arrogance of Summerfest

Why the tax-exempt, city-supported non-profit should be transparent about its director’s salary.

Plenty of Horne: The Governor’s Party
Plenty of Horne

The Governor’s Party

Governor Jim Doyle was the guest of honor at a fundraiser at Mocean's on September 16.

The Roundup: Taxes Due on Site of Suspicious 2002 OIC Fire
The Roundup

Taxes Due on Site of Suspicious 2002 OIC Fire

On March 10, 2002, a five-alarm fire destroyed the plant of Opportunities Pallet Recycling and Manufacturing Co, Inc.

The Roundup: More OIC – George Connections
The Roundup

More OIC – George Connections

Although the Gary George – OIC-GM connections are well documented, particularly those that have led to the convictions of George, Mark Sostarich and Carl Gee, recently-released audit information and other source documents indicate that perhaps the OIC-George connection needs to be further investigated. Nobody is accusing anybody of wrongdoing, but perhaps investigators should dig a little deeper into the dealings of George and those connected with him, if only to remove any hint of suspicion from settling on the mantle of the innocent. Take, for instance, the relationship between Todd Robert Murphy, OIC-GM and Gary George. Murphy was recently relieved of his Public Relations contract with OIC-GM, and was replaced by Martin Schreiber and Associates. The recent audit of the OIC-GM accounts indicated that payments made by OIC-GM to TRM Marketing Consultants, Murphy’s firm, were “unallowable expenses,” according to Paul Steiber of the State of Wisconsin. His review included two months during which Murphy received $4,000 per month from OIC-GM. Was this a “cushy consulting job,” as Leon Todd has suggested? Todd said the Murphy-planted cover story about OIC-GM that appeared in the Shepherd Express (and, interestingly, in newspapers in the African-American community) was “not enough” to save him his job. According to the audit, OIC-GM was not authorized to hire a public relations consultant with W2 funds. The Ethics Board did not have a complete accounting of the amount of money Murphy’s firm was paid over the years. The board was investigating “direct” payments, and Murphy’s were considered “indirect.” According to John Becker of the Ethics Board, the payments to Todd Robert Murphy’s firm “were not something we focused on.” Nor has the board “seen any checks,” from OIC-GM to Murphy, he said. One wonders if the State of Wisconsin Ethics Board should have done a better job reviewing its own documents, for the Statements of Economic Interests filed by George for the years 1999-2001 show that George received more than $1,000 per year from Murphy’s firm. It would be interesting to know how much exactly per year Murphy sent to George, and what he got in exchange. George also reported receiving funds from Petrie and Stocking, the firm that employed Mark Sostarich, who gave George kickbacks from OIC funds. George also received money from Coleman & Williams, Ltd., an accounting firm. Coleman & Williams also received money from OIC – to conduct an audit of the OIC books. Isn’t it odd that an accounting firm that received money from OIC-GM would also, coincidentally, be sending more than $1,000 per year to George, who was systematically swindling OIC-GM out of money, with the connivance of Carl Gee, the group’s director, and Mark Sostarich, the Petrie and Stocking lawyer? Bill Coleman, of the accounting firm, said the relationship was quite innocent, and that he had hired Gary George to do unspecified legal work for his firm. Since many aspects of attorney-client relationships are privileged, we’ll have to take his word for it. Still, workers at the Ethics Board, the United […]

The Roundup: “Groundbreaking” for Bridge
The Roundup

“Groundbreaking” for Bridge

It’s not really a groundbreaking without a shovel, so Cecelia Gilbert of the Department of Public Works brought five well-used, albeit ceremonial, spades to the Thursday 27 May event celebrating the beginning of construction of the Holton Marsupial Bridge. Obliging dignitaries, sensing a photo-op, grabbed the shovels and pantomimed digging them into the asphalt pavement below the Holton Viaduct. The ceremony was scheduled to accommodate Mayor Tom Barrett, who was present at the event before racing off to his daughter’s piano recital. Other guests included Ald. Michael S. D’Amato, Ald. Michael I. McGee, Jr., Supervisors Gerry Broderick and James White, and former State Senator Brian Burke. Julilly Kohler served as master of ceremonies for the event, and she kept her remarks sparing, yet managed to name all of the many individuals who have helped to make her dream a reality. This included “the former congressman from the fifth district,” as Brian Burke called his old elementary school chum, Tom Barrett, who, as Mayor was able to yield the ceremonial shovel on a public works project for the first time. Architects James Dallman and his wife Grace La were also on hand as were Mathew P. Tharaniyil, P.E. and Yakov N. Nenaydykh, another P.E. They are, respectively the president and the vice president of Bloom Consultants, the engineers of the project to span the Holton Viaduct with the suspended “marsupial’ bridge – a bicycle and pedestrian path that will provide grade-level access between the Brady Street neighborhood and the Lakefront Brewery and its surrounding Beer Line “B” neighborhood. Missing from the event was Frank Busalacchi, the Wisconsin Secretary of Transportation or any representative of Lunda Construction, the Black River Falls outfit that won the bid to construct the bridge. Lunda appears to be a publicity-averse organization. The firm has expressed a reservation about having webcams at the construction site, saying they might reveal some “trade secrets” of the mysterious, arcane art of bridge building. Good heavens! It’s a bridge, not a plutonium refinery. Also missing from the event was Whitney Gould, although you wouldn’t have known it from the article she managed to write about it for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel the next morning. She reported, correctly, that the Mayor was there, in an otherwise generic story composed of previously reported items. Sonya Jongsma-Knauss and Vince Bushell of the Riverwest Currents were there. The sole representative of the electronic media was Channel 58. Afterwards, the crowd of 100 or so headed up to the Lakefront Brewery Palm Garden where owner Russ Klisch turned on the taps. Earlier that day, a stressed Russ was trying to get his new bottling machine to behave. Even so, it still chewed up a few bottles as it went through its shakedown cruise. Sales manager Paul Moebius said things are going well at the brewery – maybe too well. “We’re running out of beer!” he said. Last year’s sales were 5,000 barrels, and this year the brewery could hit 7,000 barrels. This is better than 2 […]

The Roundup: Art Dealer in Jail
The Roundup

Art Dealer in Jail

Don’t bother calling Kennedy Fine Arts in Northbrook, Illinois. Don’t even try to leave a message, because the voice mailbox is full. Of course, it is easy to see why – James F. Kennedy, the art dealer, has been sitting in the Milwaukee County jail without bail since May 7th, and it looks like he’ll be there at least until a hearing date on May 18th, according to a jail spokesperson. (According to the Wisconsin Circuit Court Access, Kennedy’s offense occurred May 10th.) He is charged with a felony under statute 976.03(13), “extradition – arrest prior to requisition.” Milwaukeeworld.com told you two weeks ago that an individual was trying to peddle fake Picassos in the Milwaukee area. Although Kennedy is held on an unrelated out-of-state warrant, he is the fellow who was trying to pass off the fakes in our community. Apparently police did not have enough evidence to charge him with a crime in the matter – mere possession of fake artwork is not a crime, and there was insufficient evidence he had tried to sell the works, they say – Kennedy’s van was seized along with some 300 works of art that were allegedly fakes. He was arrested on Milwaukee Street, and is from Northbrook, Illinois. It is doubtful that Kennedy was the author of the fakes, and it is likely that he is a player in a much larger art fraud ring. So, just to remind you once again, if you have purchased any “Picasso” drawings in the last couple of weeks, contact a reputable art dealer or law enforcement authorities. Kennedy was born on May 17, 1957, so it looks like he will be spending his birthday in jail. Concordia Gets Bush President George W. Bush visited the Ozaukee County megalopolis of Mequon Thursday to deliver the commencement address at Concordia University at the Lutheran school’s very secure lakeside campus. Milwaukeeworld correspondent Patrick C. Horne, a Mequon resident, was at the intersection of Port Washington Road and Highland Road where Bush supporters and detractors hoped the presidential motorcade would pass. Of course, it didn’t, since the president’s motorcade traveled along Lake Shore Drive, far removed from the supporters, detractors, and reality. “We’ve got protestors on one side and the republicans on the other side,” Horne said via cellular telephone while awaiting the motorcade’s non-arrival. “We’ve got TV people on the other side, we’ve got Secret Service, we’ve got Germantown, Milwaukee, Ozaukee County, all sorts of people, all sorts of squads, all sorts of everything. Now, the mystery is which way he’s going to come in. I hope they take our President on LSD.” [Editor’s note: LSD is Mequon slang for Lakeshore Drive.] According to Horne, there was a good deal of “ranting and raving back and forth” between the President’s supporters and detractors. “’Give him four more years.’ ‘No, give him five more months,’” they chanted, he said. “Lot of Republicans,” Horne said. “’Oh! I forgot my flag!’ ‘Oh! Don’t they have anything better to do […]

The Roundup: On the Fundraiser Trail
The Roundup

On the Fundraiser Trail

David Riemer held a fundraiser and art auction to advance his bid for County Executive. Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design was the place, and over a hundred people showed up to look at the art (a Guido Brink retrospective) and to meet with the candidate March 8th. Wine was served, and the food was perhaps the finest of the larger-scale campaign events this year. The snacks included hummus and all sorts of veggie-cheesy items nicely prepared and tastefully presented. Everybody had to shut up for a brief speech by the candidate. Riemer is getting better at these, and unlike certain other candidates for president or even for mayor, he is able to adjust the message to his audience with a reasonable degree of spontaneity. The crowd at MIAD learned that Riemer has two brothers who are actors, and mom was too. In college (as an undergraduate) he studied poetry. “Art is not just an add-on. Art is essential to a metropolitan area. It is essential to its success.” No argument from the crowd on that account. Marvin Pratt showed up, and that created a mild buzz for a while. Riemer campaign guru Bill Christofferson wants us all to know that his candidate’s “Last Blast” fundraiser will be held in Turner Hall on March 23rd, 5-7 p.m. The Riemer campaign sent out a news release encouraging its supporters to cast absentee ballots. Election Day, April 6th is Passover, he reminds us. It is also a time when many of us might be out of town on Spring break. Riemer would appreciate it if we voted before fleeing this miserable weather. It is all about turnout, at this point. Molly Christofferson, Bill’s daughter, did campaign work for Sandy Folaron. She now works for Marvin Pratt. Strange bedfellows. Bob Weiss held a fundraiser for Acting Mayor Pratt March 10th, at his restaurant, Shakers, 422 S. Second St. He sent me a note: “Clueless staffers, no signage, no promo materials, NO candidate, when promised 6-8 p.m. for His fundraiser.” Weiss said the event coordinator “sat by self in back corner, left after an hour. Some big hitter clients of mine left in disgust since Marvin not there. … Overall, hardly our greatest political experience.” Weiss is planning a solstice party this week (good timing), with plenty of food and booze. Forget the politics! Unopposed and Raising Money: Musings on the Common Council Presidency It is tough to draw a crowd in an election year when you have no opponent, and it’s nice for a candidate to not have to sweat his election. “I only hold one fundraiser a year and this is it,” said Ald. Michael Murphy at Derry Hegarty’s Pub, an event that perhaps saw about 75 people. The event was Thursday, March 11th, close enough to St. Patrick’s Day, which is appropriate since Murphy claims to be of Irish heritage. Since the money wasn’t absolutely necessary, and since the candidate seemed destined to win, the fundraiser easily lurched into its secondary […]

The Roundup: “Legacy, Schmegacy”
The Roundup

“Legacy, Schmegacy”

John O. Norquist, in his final days as mayor, talked about the things that mattered to him. (His legacy wasn’t one of them.) Also: the man who could have beat him in 1992 – and, about that new job in Chicago