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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: Tower De Force
The Roundup

Tower De Force

Mandel’s Groundbreaking High Rise

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 […]