Crony capitalism is alive and flourishing in the City of Lake Geneva with Good O’ Boys Gage Marine and McCormack & Etten getting juicy contracts for government work on the taxpayer’s dime.
Gage Marine once again got the job of adding more boat slips to the municipal pier on the West End of Library Park. Gage Marine was the only pier company to summit a bid, the Lake Geneva Utility Commission which is ruled by Dan Winkler handles all the city biding. Gage gets all Lake Geneva’s pier work so local contractors have stopped even trying to get the jobs.
The additional slips will be added to the West end pier for $59K, which Gage recently built for the city with TIF funds. When that contract was put out for bids a few years ago for that pier by good o’ boy Dan Winkler, local pier construction firms refrained from bidding again because it was to be installed by June 1st and they are busy in the Spring installing piers for their regular clients. After Gage was awarded the contract the City Council changed the terms of the contract so Gage had till the fall to build the new pier. A year before that project Gage replaced another boat slip pier on the East end of the Riviera, it is that fiasco bidding process that put a bidder taste in the months of potential pier contractors trying to get work from the City of Lake Geneva. Gage not only got to build that pier also but rent the boat slips and run the only gasoline outlet on this side of Lake Geneva for song. Gage also has a contract to install and maintain these piers, he charged $16,661 for pier and fence removal.
Former Alderman Terry O’Neil spoke out against one bid contracts at the meeting, he pointed out how twice Mr. Winkler came before the Council trying to get it to approve a one bid contract for replacing the city tennis courts at a cost of $230K and was turned down, when competitive bids were acquired the third time the price was approved at $160K. At the Council meeting big spenders Hill and Kupsik made the motion to accept the one bid contract (though the city council members were not provided a copy of the contract ). Hill expressed “confidence” that Gage Marine submitted a competitive bid for the project.
The second Good O’ Boy firm of McCormack & Etten once again nuzzled their snot into the public trough and were awarded a contract for design of a new bathroom building at Dunn Field for $15K . This RFP was competitively bid and Etten submitted the lowest bid on its face, but it did not include a”project management” fee. According to Administer Jordan that added fee is usually 10%-15% of the total cost of construction; estimated at $200K.. Alderman Tolar said the city should not have to pay for a project manager, he said “for the size of this building I don’t see if you need a consultant to go in and see if it is built right or not. To spend that money on it would be foolish.” The city has personal to see a bathroom construction meets specifications. Alderman Hill once again express “confidence” that Mr. Etten would stay within budget and made the motion along with Alderman Kupsik to approve the contract with Etten. The contract approved was for design and a “project management fee”, but it is not clear if he will be charging the city more than the $15K. Mr. Jordan said Etten & McCormack “are not providing project management” but then talked about ” 10-15% of total construction costs” for final inspection. Since 2009 the city has paid $111,942.86 to McCormack & Etten. Alderman Wall voted against the contract ,he would like to have a better idea what the construction will cost before approving $15K.
The last no bid work was with the mysterious Humphreys Contracting, Mr. Winkler’s preferred contractor for almost all the city projects in the last four years. They use a post office box in Lake Geneva. The work was a change order of $16,986 for additional concrete work on sidewalks on the north area of Broad Street with the property owners forced to pay a part of the work. Once again Hill and Kupsik made the motion to spend the money.
The Dunn field restrooms, the sidewalks and most of the general maintenance within a half mile of downtown Lake Geneva for the last 4 years is paid for through TIF . TIF is supposed to be used for rehabilitating “blighted areas” if no other funding is possible. The City of Lake Geneva uses TIF money to get around Governor Walker’s and his fellow Republicans levy cap for municipalities. The Lake Geneva City Council sends a big FUCK YOU to Walker and gang. LOL