“Our public money does not go to slumlords:” Common Ground speaks out against new Bucks arena

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- A local advocacy group says it will fight tooth and nail to prevent the state from chipping in funds for a new arena for the Milwaukee Bucks.

Earlier this week, Governor Walker proposed a plan for the state to contribute $220 million in bonds to help finance a new arena for the Bucks -- now, activists are speaking out against it.

"We will fight tooth and nail to make sure that our public money does not go to slumlords who leave junk like this in our neighborhoods," said Lloyd Johnson, withCommon Ground.

You may be wondering what foreclosed properties have to do with the Milwaukee Bucks. The connection is one of the Bucks' owners, Wes Edens.

"Wesley Edens is the majority holder of a company called Nationstar Mortgage, Nationstar owns this place Wesley Edens' company has 300 places like this throughout the Milwaukee area," said Jennifer O'Hear, with Common Ground.

The group Common Ground wants the blighted areas fixed up, and it doesn't want the state chipping in to help finance a new arena for Edens' team.

"The three all of them billionaire owners paid for this arena themselves, then that money would go into the general fund where it belongs," said O'Hear.

But the signs and allegations the group is circulating about Edens aren't true, according to a spokesman for Nationstar Mortgage.

"Nationstar and no one connected with Nationstar owns those properties first and foremost we're a service, our job is to service those accounts and manage those accounts on behalf of the owners," said John Hoffmann, Nationstar Mortgage spokesmen.

Hoffmann says all but about two dozen of those properties still have people living in them. He also says senior members of Nationstar have traveled to Milwaukee to meet with Common Ground leaders to address their concerns.

"They are at a point now where they have decided at this point not to proceed with some of the proposals we've had, so we would love to hear from them saying we want to continue to talk," said Hoffmann.

Common Ground leaders want to meet with Edens himself.

Hoffmann can't confirm whether or not that would happen.

"If Mr. Edens does not meet with us, we will go to the Nationstar shareholder's meeting in Texas in May," said O'Hear.

Hoffman says Nationstar does not own the homes Common Ground is talking about. However, in an online search, FOX6 News did find records with the Department of Neighborhood Services -- that indicates the home where Thursday's event was held does list Nationstar as the owner.

7 comments

  • chris

    Maybe these places wouldn’t be so run down if the residents took a little pride in their homes. Instead they destroy the places then cry about poor living conditions. Then again you can’t take any pride or care in your home when the state and other taxpayers pay the majority of their rent and utilities.

    • don

      You call black people dirty, filthy animals yet you root for a basketball team predominantly black. Obviously your comments show why Milwaukee doesn’t deserve a team. I’m all for building a new arena but ignorant comments like the one you made just proves why Milwaukee will always have a bad reputation. Yet you are probably the same person who gets their feelings hurt when people outside of the midwest stereotypes Wisconsinites like being called red necks, hicks or slow white people who like to get drunk and hunt.

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