Falls leaders show ignorance or worse with Kohl's contract

Jan. 6, 2014

Public Forum:

Certain members of our Village Board are victims of who-wrote-what-when-to-whom in the $2 million Kohl's fiasco which is why a former county exec who became governor had a private email system immune to Open Records requests by journalists.

Denying email contents is a bit tricky. Explanations of our village president and village manager would have been laughable were it not for the appalling ignorance revealed — not knowing/understanding a contract which they approved.

Suggesting Kohl's (with annual sales of $19 billion) keep $2 million of their $12 million gift from our Village Board has an appearance of bribery. Mr. Newman explains: "...They are part of our community and we want to work with them on future development."

Was he paying attention summer of 2013 when the Michigan Police and Fire Pension Fund with Kohl's investments sued the corporation for misrepresenting financial assets in both 2010 and 2011, forcing the company to readjust figures? Kohl's second and third quarter revenues were down this year.

Kohl's sensibly concluded it couldn't afford a $250 million expansion at present. The company promised 3,000 additional local jobs by 2024 — 10 years into the future. What crystal ball are they using? Is that even a valid promise in the current economy?

Let's not forget this board gave us that $18 million hotel on the edge of town when legitimate banks refused the loan in 2008. Collateral included a pair of jet skis, a diamond ring and a condo in the Caymans.

Board members are not volunteers. Trustees are paid $5,500 annually, the president, $7,500, and village manager $154,020. Are they really representing our best interests? Or theirs?

Politicians rely on voter short-term memory. It didn't happen during the last trustee election. It can't happen in the next. Who fires Mr. Fitzgerald?

Sandra Seymour

Menomonee Falls

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