November 20, 2003
The November 16 Sunday Wisconsin State Journal editorialized that we should "Have faith in prison plan." WSJ was praising the loopy Doyle/Bob Welch faith-based prison scheme whereby a Milwaukee for-profit entity, created by a non-profit W-2 agency, OIC, would purchase a state-built prison then lease it back to the state whereupon the state would pay all upkeep, utilities, and, oddly, taxes. At the end of 20 years the faith-based for-profit entity would own the prison, the taxpayers would have paid $450,000 more than if they had not sold it, and the state would not have control of the prison. Confused? Read on.
Yesterday, Senator Gary George was indicted for an illegal kick-back scheme involving our would-be prison partners, OIC. The indictment reads, in part: "Opportunities Industrialization Center (OIC) is a non-profit organization involved in social welfare issues...[received] millions of dollars each year for W-2". Between October 1, 1997 and August 30, 2002, George received kickbacks on legal fees paid by OIC...Between October 1, 1997 and December 30, 2002, George received $4,676 in monthly payments...George received approximately $270,000 in this fashion."
It should be made clear that OIC was not indicted. George and his lawyer, former Democratic Party chair Mark Sostarich, were. But before the state plunges into a cockamamie privatized prison plan with a faith-based entity or, indeed, any entity, WSJ might want to look before taking the leap of faith with our tax dollars. And Bob Welch might check out his former colleague before suggesting taxpayers take a ride on his faith-based express. As for Governor Doyle? C'mon.
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