This Just In ...

Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely young daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.

Franklin, you remember Joseph Cincotta, don't you?

Of course you do.

You don’t?

You don’t remember what you had for lunch so how are you supposed to remember Joseph Cincotta?

You do recall the debate in Franklin about Meijer’s?  You know. Typical Franklin business story. Big development wants to come to Franklin. Jobs would be created. More retail choices would be created (Our new mayor says we need those). The business puts forth a good faith plan and effort. Franklin looks for ways to kill the deal. The deal is killed. Meijer’s looks elsewhere.

In Franklin, that’s  a scenario that occurs over and over and over and over…one more time…and over again (Even after the recent stadium discussions, I’m convinced the powers that be still don’t get how serious a problem our business climate is. They base their decision to reject the stadium on too many unknowns. They also base their decision on possessing all kinds of data that the general public doesn’t have. In other words, they’re much smarter than you and me. We couldn’t possibly make a rational decision like them. Could be. Arrogant? Maybe. But I digress).

Back to Joseph Cincotta. From a Business Journal article in November of 2012 that was written during negotiations between Franklin and Meijer’s:

One delay Steve Taylor focused on is a city approval needed to fill some wetlands for the Meijer store. The wetland proposal requires approval from both the city and the state Department of Natural Resources. City elected officials in September gave Meijer all of the needed local approvals except for the wetlands.

The city held a public hearing on the wetlands approval in July, said Joel Dietl, Franklin planning manager. However, officials in October decided to hold a new hearing on the same issue after receiving a letter from Milwaukee attorney Joseph Cincotta, who is representing Franklin property owners, he said.

Cincotta was not available for comment.

Cincotta argued the July hearing was invalid because people who spoke were not formally sworn in, something required by city law, Dietl said. Cincotta has sent several letters regarding the Meijer project, and Franklin officials had not agreed with any of them previously, Dietl said.

“The city attorney did say it’s better to be safe than sorry in regards to the public hearing,” he said.

The Meijer letter sent on Oct. 18 requested the city cancel its rescheduled hearing, which was to be held Oct. 25. There has been no contact since then, Dietl said.

The Meijer proposal in Franklin from that point forward was essentially dead.

Fast forward to May 4, 2014. Again, the Business Journal performs a blatant act of journalism:.

In an unusual turn for a courtroom proceeding, Judge David Hansher asked whether a corporation is providing a behind-the-scenes push for the numerous local lawsuits challenging Meijer store developments around the Milwaukee area.

The brief exchange over Drexel Town Square occurred April 30 in Milwaukee County Circuit Court. It came before Hansher dismissed a lawsuit from Oak Creek resident Daniel Vitek challenging city financial support for the Drexel Town Square project, which includes a Meijer store as its anchor. The development, at East Drexel and South Howell avenues, is a partnership between Oak Creek and developer Wispark LLC that includes apartments, retail, a hotel and a city hall and library.

Before issuing his decision, Hansher noted the three lawsuits that Vitek’s attorney, Joseph Cincotta, has filed against Meijer developments in Grafton, Sussex and Kenosha. Hansher, according to the court transcript, asked “is there some type of concerted effort to keep Meijers out of Milwaukee here?”

“These people are not straw individuals being used by some other corporations that want to keep Meijer out of Wisconsin, and are bringing these motions, and they’re being supported financially by these corporations?” Hansher said. “I mean, it’s just sort of suspicious, to be truthful.”

Hmmm…Have Meijer's, Will Sue?



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