Channel3000 originally featured this story as just another land owner simply getting screwed by the DNR. That was until the land owner connected the dots to Gogebic's unique deal and special favor from the Walker administration. Gogebic Taconite is getting the law rewritten to lesson their fine, while this poor guy has to pay a $1,000 fine under the old law.
WISC's Adam Schrager shows us all who the Walker Authority really serves:
This whole sordid mess is explained by Cap Times reporter Jessica VanEgeren:
Prior to purchasing 200 acres of land in Iowa County in June 2012, Jim Kostohrys knew the land was part of the DNR’s Managed Forest Land program. Kostohrys recently received word from the DNR that it made a mistake. Of the 200 acres he purchased, three were in a separate … To add the three acres to his plot would require pulling the land out of its current managed forest land tract, then turning right back around and putting it into his. And here's the problem: By law, removing land from the managed forest land program obligates the property owner to pay unpaid back taxes from the time the land was entered into the program. In this case that amounts to about $1,000.
“It’s not about the $1,000,” Kostohrys said. “It is about the total disregard from a state agency that is supposed to be working on our behalf.” Kostohrys’ frustration with the DNR grew when he read Republican lawmakers were crafting a bill that would let mining company Gogebic Taconite remove roughly 3,500 acres of its land, which like his are in the managed forest land program, without paying roughly $900,000 in back taxes.
Kostohrys said the state coming after him for $1,000, when his goal is to keep the land in the program, and letting Gogebic temporarily close its land without collecting nearly $1 million is an “outrageous double standard.” “If my name was Koch and not Kostohrys, things would be a lot different,” he said … “If you are a big donor or you are a big business, you get the royal treatment in this state. You don’t have to worry about laws.”
“We need to have a list of registered environmental offenders,” Kostohrys said. “And the DNR secretary should be on it. Cathy Stepp shouldn't be allowed within 500 feet of a tree."