Talking Racine Episode 7 ‘Follow The Money’ Wisconsin DNR


Dr. Yorgan on the site of what was to be the largest development in Racine, Wisconsin history. Machinery Row development in downtown Racine WI. would encompassed 20 acres and cost 65 million dollars. The City of Racine and Financial District Properties (FDP) formed a public private partnership to develop Machinery Row. The City of Racine loaned FDP $4.5 million dollars of taxpayer monies to purchase the 20 acres (land and buildings) from three private sellers. After the developer FDP receives the loan to purchase the properties he then renegotiates the purchase price with the three sellers of these properties and receives $450,000 out of the $4.5 million-dollar loan from the city taxpayer loan. The development struggles over a 2 ½ year period to attract tenants or financing and the development fails. After the $450,000 is gone, (we will discuss the $450,000 on episode 8) more money is needed for the development to pay contractors, delinquent property taxes and interest payments on the city loan. To keep this from the public and having to use more taxpayer money the City then applies and receives $470,000 from a WI. DNR Knowles Nelson Grant. That money is used to purchase 2 acres of land back from the Machinery Row Developer to pay delinquent bills. (Remember, Taxpayer loaned $4.5 million to purchase the land -Taxpayer is now buying back its own property!) However, during this time the developer defaults on the $4.5 million-dollar taxpayer loan but the city gives the developer a loan extension so to capture the DNR grant before they received the property their buying back in foreclosure. Now let’s recap the development. The development is dead; the $4.5 million dollar taxpayers loan is in default and likely going to be foreclosed on. The city administration applies and receives a DNR grant for $470,000 to buy 2 acres of its own property with a DNR grant while knowing the development was going into default and would be receiving it back in foreclosure. The city does the switch- game on the DNR grant and pays the delinquent bills the developer should have paid. All while keeping the public, taxpayer, DNR, and some elected officials unaware of what was happening on the Machinery Row Development. But, what happened to the $450,000? And who hatched this plan? OK, now that you’re confused watch episode 8 for the breakdown of the moving money, there’s a lot more!
We bring the perspective down to the local level to discuss issues that affect our own City of Racine, WI


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