If he succeeds in unseating Democratic Gov. Tony Evers on Nov. 8, Michels has pledged to divest from the Brownsville-based construction company that’s secured millions in state contracts over the last decade to avoid any conflicts of interest, as state law requires the governor to sign the state’s largest road contracts.
Tim Michels pledges to divest from company if elected, but questions remain over potential conflicts | Chippewa Herald
Feat. UW-Green Bay Prof. Emeritus Kraft
As the co-owner of Michels Corp., Republican Tim Michels has made his successful business — which has grown from a few hundred employees to more than 8,000 — a primary talking point in his campaign for governor.
“Tim will divest himself of interest in the company and there will be no conflicts of interest,” Michels’ spokesperson Anna Kelly said. “Unlike Tony Evers, he will work hard and with integrity and will be transparent.”
Beyond that blanket pledge, however, Michels has yet to provide details on how he would distance himself from the family company, such as putting his assets into a blind trust or selling company stock.
Michael Kraft, professor of public and environmental affairs at UW-Green Bay, said a common procedure would be for Michels to put his assets into a blind trust.
“The extreme position would be, I roll all of my assets, or as many as I can, into a blind trust, over which I have no control whatsoever,” Kraft said, though he noted such a move would be challenging, given Michels’ direct ties with the company. “That’s a family business so it’s kind of hard. It’s not like selling stocks. It’s your own company, so you can’t really divest your name or the company’s name.”