WEDC to write off loan to failed De Pere business

Ron Van Den Heuvel (WLUK file image)

(WLUK) -- The state’s economic development agency will write off a $1.1 million loan to a failed De Pere business.

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. loaned Green Box the money in 2011 for its recycling business. Since then, Green Box owner Ron Van Den Heuvel has been convicted in federal court on fraud charges, and has other charges still pending.

After a court ruling that it was unlikely company assets would be found, WEDC took action.

“Because there is little likelihood of collection on this debt, WEDC has decided to charge off the entire balance of $1.1 million. The loan has been fully reserved on WEDC’s books since April 2016,” said WEDC communications director Mark Maley. “The write-off does not prevent WEDC from collecting on assets discovered, which is why WEDC continues to pursue Van Den Heuvel’s guaranty.”

The decision resulted in criticism from the Democratic Party of Wisconsin -- and criticism of the Foxconn deal at the same time.

“If your agency can’t enforce a $1 million loan, why should Wisconsin taxpayers trust you with a $4.5 billion giveaway to a foreign corporation with a bad track record?” asked Martha Laning, chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. “While Scott Walker and WEDC have been playing it fast and loose with taxpayer money, the needs of hardworking Wisconsinites have been left behind. Wisconsin families need fully-funded classrooms for their children and safe and dependable roads to drive on, not more of Scott Walker’s costly broken promises.”

WEDC noted since this loan was approved nearly seven years ago.

“Since then, WEDC has made numerous changes to strengthen our award approval process and compliance procedures,” Maley said.

Van Den Heuvel was convicted of conspiracy to commit bank fraud for helping to arrange loans to straw borrowers to fund the business. He was sentenced to three years in federal prison.

In the still pending case, prosecutors allege Van Den Heuvel raised more than $9 million from investors, including WEDC, for Green Box, but used some of the money on personal items, including a car and Green Bay Packers tickets. If convicted of all 14 counts, he faces up 240 years in prison and more than $2.5 million in fines.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off