In Wisconsin Supreme Court race, Kloppenburg has anti-business history

Matthew Boyle Investigative Reporter
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Labor unions are attacking Gov. Scott Walker by proxy with their unwavering support for JoAnne Kloppenburg over Justice David Prosser in Wisconsin’s April 5 Supreme Court election. But, their support for Kloppenburg may be a support for a pro-far-left, anti-jobs agenda by proxy as well.

Constitutional attorney Jim Troupis, the private lawyer for Wisconsin’s Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, said Kloppenburg is “a political activist from the left, there’s no doubt about it,” while appearing on Madison and Milwaukee local conservative radio host Vicki McKenna’s show.

As an attorney for the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Kloppenburg has a history of launching unrelenting attacks on local business owners for what she perceived as environmental hazards. Tony Pipito is out of business after Kloppenburg launched a campaign against his restaurant, Porticello, for being what she perceived as too close to the city of Oconomowoc’s waterfront.

Pipito had obtained all the proper paperwork variances from the city and the DNR to allow the building to be within 75 feet of the waterfront before he opened the restaurant, and was shocked when both flipped on him. He said the city caved into the DNR’s agenda-driven litigation campaign because the “liberal left decides they can’t stand up for anything because they can’t go after the liberal left.”

Appearing on McKenna’s show, Pipito said Kloppenburg and the DNR’s campaign cost the community 34 jobs and cost him more than $2.3 million.

“As far as my family, we can’t rebound from something like this because we’re not a huge corporation,” Pipito said. “But, the pressure and the money and the slandering and the fines from the city, because the city knew they weren’t going to fool with the DNR, that’s why we contested it and we won. Not even three months later, the DNR came back to city and said ‘we’re going to go after him again.’”

Courts have upheld Pipito’s claims time and again, but legal costs drove him out of business, mostly because Kloppenburg’s DNR kept going after his business. The local government also made several threats against his liquor license, before finally taking it away last summer. Pipito’s claim was upheld again in mid-March, and the city of Oconomowoc will tabulate its litigation costs soon. The city will get reimbursed from the state, but Pipito will still be bankrupt.

“Now, in the next couple of weeks, the city will count up all the money they’ve spent on this nonsense,” he said. “They’ll get paid from the state and leave Tony Pipito broke.”

Troupis called into question Kloppenburg’s ability to maintain an impartial view on anything from the bench, especially when she’s pursued her environmental agenda via cases like this against local business owners throughout the state.

“The whole point is, what you were subject to, and I’ve been involved in a number of cases involving Ms. Kloppenburg,” Troupis said to Pipito. “What you just said, I can guarantee you there are a dozen others who would repeat exactly the same story.”

The Wisconsin Supreme Court currently has a 4-3 conservative majority — a Kloppenburg victory on Tuesday would turn the tables on that, favoring the left.