Until yesterday, I’d never really thought that much about the milk processing plant that had been fixture of my neighborhood since the 1950′s. It was always just…there. So when news broke that Golden Guernsey Dairy was abruptly closed down by armed guards on Saturday, it was a huge shock. Many people here, angry and looking for someone to blame, are pointing fingers at the federal government. I understand that people are upset, and rightly so, but it appears that the real villain here is not the federal government, but vulture capitalists.
True, the federal government did play a role in the process that eventually led to the closing of the plant, as did our state government. From Fox 6 Now:
Less than two years ago, the previous owners, Dean Foods, were forced to sell after Wisconsin’s Attorney General feared the company had a monopoly on Wisconsin’s milk market. The state of Wisconsin, the U.S. Department of Justice and the state of Illinois and Michigan sued in federal court.
Note that the Attorney General who sued to break up the perceived milk monopoly was Republican JB Van Hollen. If there really was a milk monopoly, and that was the only reason for the lawsuit, then he did the right thing in breaking up that monopoly.
But that also means the claims I’m hearing that the federal government alone swooped in to wreak havoc on Golden Guernsey are not factually correct.
In fact, the real trouble seemed to start when an investment company in California, Open Gate Capital, bought out the plant after the lawsuit. According to some workers, Open Gate did not have any experience in dairy, and may not have been a reliable company. From Fox 6 Now:
It is a lawsuit workers believe let an unreliable company purchase the plant and shut it down.
Hopefully more information will be released in the next couple of days, but given the evidence at this point, I think it’s safe to say that the real blame falls squarely on the shoulders of Open Gate, the self-described ”Global Investment and Acquisition Firm,” or, as some might call them, vulture capitalists.
CORRECTION: In the original text of this post Scott Walker was incorrectly listed as Governor of Wisconsin in 2010.