Who is being held accountable for causing the city of Milwaukee’s pension disaster? All we hear Democrats doing is trashing legislative Republicans, who disagree over how or whether to fix it. But why is no one being held accountable for causing the underlying mess? Tom Barrett… pic.twitter.com/Z2sojod9oU
— Wisconsin Right Now (@wisconsin_now) May 24, 2023
2002 Milwaukee pension scandal primer:
The pension scandal that broke in 2002 brought county government to its knees, forcing politicians from office and saddling taxpayers with massive unexpected costs that harmed parks, transit and social services.
Now, in a final chapter, a major civil lawsuit will put major players on the witness stand for the first time.
Here’s a roadmap for understanding the trial:
What’s at stake?
- Money: Milwaukee County claims up to $900 million in higher costs linked to the 2000-’01 pension deal. A big win could alleviate some of the county’s stressed finances. The county claim comes as Mercer Inc., the county’s pension numbers cruncher, and its parent firm Marsh and McLennan Companies face another huge pension lawsuit by the state of Alaska. Also, Marsh and McLennan carry no insurance to cover employee errors – making a loss even more painful.
- Careers: A win would help County Executive Scott Walker build political capital that could come in handy for his run for governor. A win would also help former County Executive F. Thomas Ament and some current and former county supervisors claim vindication, after years of public scorn over the pension scandal.
- Closure: After six years of angst, political turmoil and public opprobrium over the county pension deal, the case could shed new light on the deal’s origins, who deserves blame and an ultimate accounting of its costs.
The stage: Federal Courthouse, 517 E. Wisconsin Ave.
The basics: Jury selection begins Monday, May 4. Testimony expected to last about four weeks. No photo, video or audio coverage is allowed under federal rules.