The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has unearthed the source of Gov. Scott Walker’s (R-WI) administration’s claim, made in court, that alleged damage to the State Capitol from the massive protests against the new anti-union law would cost $7.5 million to repair. It’s a single sheet of notebook paper, prepared by state architect Dan Stephans on the same day the claim was made in court.
On March 3, as part of the litigation over the state’s attempts to restrict public access to the Capitol, the Department of Administration’s legal counsel claimed in court that repairing the damage done to the building — mainly from adhesive tape used to affix posters to the marble walls — would add up to $7.5 million. However, it was not clear how those estimates were made.
Nevertheless, Dane County Judge John Albert ruled later that evening that the daytime restrictions on Capitol access were to be lifted, while also ordering protesters to leave when the building closed at night — essentially an effort to restore the status quo of the Capitol before the bill and the protests happened.
Now, through open-records requests, the Journal Sentinel has obtained the single sheet of notebook paper that was apparently the basis for the request.
It reads as follows:
Condition assessment, recommendations, and cost estimate for work.
* Does NOT include any carpet replacement.
Soon after Judge Albert’s ruling, state facilities administrator Jeff Plale — a former moderate Democratic state senator who was defeated in his 2010 primary, and was then appointed to the Walker administration — backed away from the number, calling it a “worse-case scenario.”
In addition, the International Union of Painters and Allied Tradesmen released a statement at the time, saying that the estimates were “not accurate” and “yet another gross overreach” — while offering IUPAT’s union labor on a volunteer basis to fix any damage that may have occurred from protesters’ signs being taped to the marble walls.