Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate Lisa Neubauer's family business received 82 new state contracts worth millions of dollars shortly after Neubauer and her husband donated more than $7,000 to Governor Doyle's 2006 re-election campaign.
In 2007, Doyle appointed Neubauer to the Wisconsin Court of Appeals. According to her statement of economic interest from that year, her family business--janitorial supply company Kranz, Inc.--had 45 contracts with the State of Wisconsin. In 2008, its state contracts had nearly tripled to 127. From 2007 to 2017, when the Neubauers sold their business, the state paid Kranz, Inc. more than $15 million for its services.
It has now been learned that from 1988, when the business passed to Jeffrey Neubauer, until it was sold to Imperial Dade, his wife Lisa co-owned it with him and served as the company's vice president and secretary while Jeffrey was president, chief operating officer, and treasurer.
The Neubauer campaign has not yet responded to a request for comment.
The Neubauers donated a total of $9,800 to Doyle's various campaigns beginning in 1991. From October of 2003 until October of 2006, Lisa Neubauer herself donated a total of $7,250 to Doyle's gubernatorial re-election bid. Roughly a year later, Doyle appointed her to the Wisconsin Court of Appeals, and within a few months, Kranz began dramatically increasing its contracts with the State of Wisconsin.
After initially disclosing Kranz clients on her 2007 and 2008 statements of economic interest, Judge Neubauer abruptly stopped, saying that her husband refused to tell her who Kranz's customers were. This, however, raises questions since it is now known that Neubauer served as Kranz's vice president and secretary until she was appointed to the bench and co-owned the company until she and her husband sold it in 2017. Once the business sold, Neubauer resumed listing commercial customers, clients, and tenants on her 2018 and 2019 statements of economic interest.
As a Court of Appeals judge, Neubauer heard 101 cases involving past or current Kranz clients from 2008 to 2017, joining with the majority in ruling in favor of a Kranz client in 79 of those cases. In 31 cases in which she sided with the majority in ruling for a Kranz client, Neubauer herself wrote the majority opinion.
The Neubauer campaign did not return a request for comment on the potential conflicts of interest this may have presented. Because Neubauer stopped listing Kranz clients on her economic interest statements, it is unclear whether those businesses, municipalities, or state agencies were Kranz clients at the time Neubauer ruled in their favor.