..a couple hours ago. I’ve had a chance to read more in the DNT. First paper in a long time with so much read meat.
On the boondoggle up north…
Earlier I blamed all of this on Republican big wigs but there is one DFLer completely up to his neck in it. Senator Tom Bakk. As the Chair of the Tax committee in the Senate everyone defers to him especially the IRRRB which pumped in $9.5 million in their little pot-o-gold.
Bakk has earned my ire for making sure the Red Plan would go through without a vote. He’s the figure you can be sure made sure that the St. Louis County Schools would build their own Red Plan and cause a second civil war. Its jobs, jobs, jobs for Tommy. Sadly on his Excelsior shenanigans there are no jobs to speak of just lots of bills. including apparently an unpaid salary of $2,49,000 (as of 2006) for the Micheletti duo who brought excelsior to life with a $60,000 personal investment. Don’t grieve for the Michs…As of that same date they apparently had been paid $535,000. which is a handsome profit on the original investment.
2006 (when I first posted my complaints about their project on this blog) was a long time ago. The Trib says that there are no financial reports since then to spell out where money went or what the President and CEO were paid. For the hell of it I’ll assume that they kept their salary at $600,000 annually since then which would put their total earnings up to the end of this year at $6,025,000. If we also assume that they have for the sake of the project continued to defer their salary at the same rate as from 2001 t0 2006 then they would have only been paid $1,070,000 for the decade. Peanuts. However, they would still be owed $4,955,000 which I gather from the story they expect to be paid. I presume they have a contract.
The difficulty for the Trib and the public is that no one knows what the public money spent on the project has been used for since 2006 and the Micheletti’s aren’t talking. It seems that a law was passed last year just for them excluding them from having to report what they spent public money on. Tom Bakk says he had nothing to do with it. The IRRRB is covering for the Senator saying that they did it (to hell with the Tax Chair) Bakk is covering them by saying its a dang good law even though he had no idea is was passed.
I have my doubts about the legality of this law. It may be superceded by the state statute which requires companies spending public money to make their records of its spending public. Unless someone challenges this law we shall ever remain clueless how the money was spent. I doubt, however, that this law would apply to federal dollars which constitute half the spending.
By the way, the whole project proceeded with the plan of sticking Xcel Energy customers with the cost of the project should it fail. Xcel and its customers selfishly fought being the goat and so the taxpayers will end up losing the money. If there is any justice the dreamers (or schemers) who gave us this boondoggle will not get paid any more.
Oh, and a side note: At the Sam Solon funeral Tom Micheletti, who’s main skill after hockey has always been lobbying, was seen vigorously schmoozing with all the legislators in attendance.