Wisconsin Broke? Nah: Bought Adult Store for $1.4 Million

OSHKOSH, Wis.—To hear Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker tell it, his state is going broke due to all those unionized state and city workers having the power to bargain collectively—and it definitely has nothing whatsoever to do with the $117 million in tax breaks the Gov. pushed through the legislature last month to benefit corporations doing business in the state.

But even though that same union-busting bill Walker supports will also give the (Republican-controlled) legislature the power unilaterally to "cut eligibility, increase premiums and cut back on benefits" for families off BadgerCare, the state program which provides health insurance to "low-income, uninsured families with children under the age of 19 who are not eligible for Medicaid and who are uninsured," it still found enough cash in the budget to authorize the state Department of Transportation (WDOT) to pay Supreme Lingerie and Gift $1.4 million to give up its store on North Washburn Street and move three miles down the road ... to South Washburn Street.

According to an article on the JRLCharts website, the WDOT had been negotiating with Supreme's owner for several years to relocate the store so the state could finish widening North Washburn Street into a four-lane roadway. The street runs parallel to Rte. 41, a main transportation corridor and the only road that crosses Lake Butte des Morts to connect the two sections of the city. The deal was inked in January, and demolition of Supreme's North Washburn location is scheduled to begin in April.

Apparently, the main impasse to the sale was the fact that the WDOT couldn't figure out where to relocate the store which, with its line of video arcade booths, couldn't set up shop within 500 feet of a residence, church, daycare center or any other "sensitive use," thanks to the city's regressive zoning laws.

"If they could've just relocated, it wouldn’t have cost that much," said Darryn Burich, Oshkosh's director of planning services. "It would’ve been closer to the property’s assessed value." (That value, according to the local assessor's office, was $348,700.)

But the store's owner, Dan Boyle of Union Grove, managed to find a location nonetheless, at 1911 South Washburn Street, three miles directly south of its previous location at 945 North Washburn, and that location is currently open and doing business ... until, we assume, the state gets around to widening South Washburn.