This September, Citizen Action of Wisconsin announced a tour of companies that have outsourced jobs and received public money. Yesterday, we unveiled a live map of tour stops as we highlight where these companies are in our state. Click here for that map.
Today, we add a new company - Novation Companies Inc.
Novation Companies Inc, a Kansas City, Mo. company, owned Corvisa in Milwaukee's downtown Schlitz Park office complex. This site was first discovered by Citizen Action when we revealed to the public that Novation was one of the three companies misrepresented by the Wisconsin Economic Development Agency as having created jobs in Milwaukee's Sherman Park neighborhood. The company didn't exist in Sherman Park, and WEDC has since stop listing it as having created jobs in that neighborhood, the site of recent civil unrest.
But news of Novation continues. Novation announced plans to sell Corvisa off to a West Coast company "Shoretel" at the end of 2015. At the time Novation pledged that no jobs would be cut, but that it was losing money and must be sold. This is despite only a year early the company saying that the "cloud-based communications provider had been pushing capacity in its current space, and now plans to add more than 100 new employees". But the company only a week later reversed course and announced layoffs in Milwaukee.
All of this was public before Citizen Action revealed the Sherman Park WEDC scandal, highlighting that the company was awarded $750,000 by WEDC to create 88 jobs in Milwaukee. But immediately following the coverage of our Sherman Park revelation, WEDC announced that it would be seeking to "claw back" the over $664,000 in tax giveaways that the company had already received.
Our revelation took place in August, 8 months after Corvisa's sale was announced. Yet only once attention was brought to WEDC's bad policies did they announce efforts to get taxpayer dollars back. However, there is no proof that this "claw back" has yet occurred, that the public money was returned. In fact, because the company is being told it must return all of the tax giveaways it was returned, it is highly suspect that any job creation can be credited to deal at all. Instead, we have hundreds of thousands in lost public funds, job duties sent to other states and still no jobs created in Milwaukee's Sherman Park neighborhood.