A wonderful couple of days for Milwaukee County Board Chair Lee Holloway. First, the Ethics Board is denied funding to continue its investigation. While much of the area is outraged at this, the spin among opinion leaders in the African-American community is that the witchhunt has gobbled up enough money already and somebody had to end it. Now 2/3 of the counts pending against him have been dismissed. Here is how the Journal-Sentinel characterized what remains:
Some 30 counts accusing Holloway of failing to disclose a business relationship with a social service agency that he also voted to approve county funding for remain valid, Hogan's ruling stated. Holloway received about $165,000 in rent and mortgage payments from the now-defunct Opportunities Industrialization Center of Greater Milwaukee Inc., in connection with a Holloway property at 2100 W. Atkinson Ave.
Several counts related to Holloway's failure to publicly disclose his ownership of the Atkinson property also were deemed valid by Hogan. Holloway has said he didn't view the property as his after the mid-1990s when OIC and an affiliate began negotiating for it. However, the sale of the building was never completed and OIC never took possession of it.
This, I think, is the crux of the Holloway problem, although the summary doesn't capture how problematic this is. Hollway got 165,000 from an agency that was supposed to be helping poor people. And whose funding (in part) he voted on. In return for that $ 165000, he provided that agency with - nothing. The money was for - what? Rent for a building the agency never occupied or payments for a building it never purchased. That's bad enough but when you add in the fact that Holloway forgot to mention that very property on his disclosure forms, the thing gets really rank. The notion that he thought he no longer had an interest in property he was getting paid $165,000 with respect to is silly. If Holloway really thinks that, he's too stupid to be on the County Board.
I drove down to Marquette this afternoon listening to Holloway's attorney repeatedly imply that his client "just forgot" to disclose his interest in that building. But how can you forget to disclose a building for which you are getting $ 165,000 from an agency that you vote to fund and for which you are providing no value. Putting all of that aside, how can you take that amount of money from someone for nothing and call it a misunderstanding?
It may be that Holloway can dance around this, but, if that happens, I don't know why anyone should think another dime from any source should be entrusted to Milwaukee County government.