The Milwaukee County Board overplayed its hand in dealing with Northwestern Mutual Life and the selling of O'Donnell Park. By a vote of 9-8 they stood on the assumption that they had the upper hand on one of Milwaukee's finest companies.
During the hearing we had supervisors tell each other how smart they were and how NML should listen to them on how to spend their money. Hopefully something the Board learned was to have a backup plan, like NML did.
Shortly after the vote NML announced they would move forward by announcing that they would build a mixed use facility including a parking structure on property they already own in the downtown area.
During the hearing there was a slew of pontificating including from Sup. Jursik explaining how she spent an hour talking to NML CEO John Schlifske telling him how her idea for the use of the parking structure and park would be a better choice than his. We had John Weishan saying that Milwaukee County is good partner to work with and NML should take them on as a partner in the project with Theo Lipscomb getting up right after Weishan saying that this relationship is buyer-seller one and that the County should get the most money it can, wanting NML to pay more than the $14 million dollar assessment.
The saving grace presented for Milwaukee County and O'Donnell - a coffee shop and beer garden, thanks to Jursic and Jason Haas. I'm not kidding.
One Supervisor, Deanna Alexander, talked not about her desire but that of her constituents and that she surveyed them and 80% wanted to sell the O'Donnell. She voted for her district. I don't remember one other Supervisor mentioning a survey of their districts, probably because they were afraid of the answer.
The question that will hang over the board is will any supervisors suffer consequences for this poor decision.