UPDATE: Foxconn contract to remain secret until after it is sign - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: Foxconn contract to remain secret until after it is signed

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MADISON (WKOW) -- The head of the state's economic development agency says he will not make terms of the final $3 billion Foxconn contract available to the public before it is signed.

That's despite pressure from lawmakers to do so at a public hearing in front of the Joint Legislative Audit Committee Tuesday.

Just last week, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) Board of Directors delayed approving the Foxconn contract.

About $1.5 billion would be set aside to reward the company for job creation at its future LCD panel factory in Racine County.

A third straight state audit of WEDC shows the agency is still not following the law when it comes to verifying job creation numbers submitted by companies receiving tax credits and other awards.

"In fact, we believe that they (WEDC) don't verify the information submitted. They presume that it is accurate and complete, and they calculate the amount of tax credits based on what they receive," said Dean Swenson, performance evaluation director for the non-partisan Legislative Audit Bureau (LAB).

WEDC officials admitted they haven't figured out exactly how to do that yet.

"So, we're confident that something will happen, but we're working through the process right now," said WEDC Secretary Mark Hogan.

"Can the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation be trusted to oversee a $3 billion dollar deal with Foxconn?," asked Sen. Kathleen Vinehout (D-Alma).

That is the question Democrats on the committee pushed in various ways, with some saying it isn't just because of problems with job verification, but also past issues with drafting contracts as well.

"I'm not going to comment on the Foxconn contract, because we're currently in negotiations," said Secretary Hogan.  

Democrats said that due to what is at stake with Foxconn, that particular contract needs vetting by the taxpayers first.

Secretary Hogan disagrees.

"You're not gonna reconsider your stance, in allowing that to be available for review by the legislature, or members of the public before it is signed?," asked Rep. Melissa Sargent (D-Madison).

"That is correct," replied Secretary Hogan.
The earliest the Foxconn contract could next be voted on by the WEDC board is at its November 8th meeting.


MADISON (AP) -- Secretary Mark Hogan says he will not reconsider and publicly disclose Foxconn contract terms to public before it is signed.

The head of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation made the comment today during the Wisconsin Legislature's audit committee hearing on a report that found continued problems with the job creation agency.

WEDC has faced scrutiny since Walker formed it in 2011, failing to recover loans to troubled companies, handing out $126 million without formal review and experiencing high turnover.

The Legislative Audit Bureau released a report in May that found the agency continues to struggle, failing to accurately track jobs its awards are supposed to create and retain, handing out nearly $10 million in bad loans over the last two years and failing to turn over millions in tax credit repayments to the state.

The agency is in the spotlight as it comes closer to signing a contract with Foxconn, the manufacturer that was given a $3 billion incentive dealt to build a plant in Wisconsin.

A Democratic lawmaker on Republican Gov. Scott Walker's jobs creation agency's board wants to see a contract before voting on the deal.

The WEDC is finalizing a contract with Foxconn to execute the incentives. When the deal is done the board will enact it by voting on a staff review of the contract.

Sen. Tim Carpenter, who sits on WEDC's board, voted against the incentives. He said last week that the agency had discovered an unspecified problem in the language and issued a news release Monday demanding to see the contract before the vote.

WEDC spokesman Mark Maley says the agency is following the same process as it does for any incentive award.

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