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BREAKING: Sharkey out at Quantum Ventures

in Investigations/Wisconsin news

By Shereen Siewert

WAUSAU — Hours before a city meeting in which he was expected to speak, the CEO of Quantum Ventures has stepped away from a multi million dollar development along the city’s riverfront.

In a sharply worded news release, Quantum announced today that Mike Frantz, who had been listed as senior project manager, has purchased full ownership of the company that now leads the development of Riverlife Village.

“I want to thank Jason Sharkey for all he has done to advance the Riverlife Village project,” Frantz said. “Unfortunately, it has quickly become clear that the detractors of this project have chosen to make him the story versus what the project represents for the City of Wausau. Jason proposed the change, which I reluctantly accepted, so that Quantum Ventures and the City of Wausau can get back to focusing on the project itself.”

Wausau Pilot and Review first broke the story last week after an investigation revealed Sharkey had been embroiled in a $8.3 million Ponzi scheme while working and living in Denver.

The revelations prompted several city council members and Mayor Rob Mielke to propose changes to the way in which the city vets potential partners for economic development projects.

Quantum Ventures is not the city’s first partner in the multi-phase project. City officials in February 2016 chose Frantz Community Investors of Iowa to spearhead the development. Frantz had been competing with Mosinee-based S.C. Swiderski for the project.

But state records in Iowa show Frantz Community Investors LLC was administratively dissolved on Aug. 14, 2017. Three weeks later, Quantum Ventures registered as an LLC in South Dakota.

The registered agent named on those documents is Dakota Agent Services, which lists an address “where the company conducts its business” as 110 E. Center St., Madison, South Dakota. But that address actually belongs to a company called MyDakotaAddress, which offers mail forwarding services for companies and individuals needing to “establish South Dakota residency,” according to the organization’s website.

A search shows that at least 250 companies, mostly LLCs, are registered to that address.

The Wausau City Council approved Quantum as the new developer in early January as city officials announced there was a change in the financing structure of the project, which includes a $2.74 million aid package in grants and loans. All the funds will come from tax increment district financing.

Frantz, a principal in Frantz Community Investors, is the sole remaining partner still involved in the project.

Frantz will address the matter further on Tuesday evening at a meeting of the Finance Committee of the Wausau City Council. Terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

Photo: Mudrovich Architects

 

2 Comments

  1. In the past, Jason Sharkey was introduced to the city as the man with “deep pockets” to finance the deal. We later learn that he is paying monthly restitution to victims of a Ponzi scheme he was involved in and had no money. Now, he is gone, and we have to ask where the private capital for this deal is coming from?

  2. THe City of Wausau, and its partners, should celebrate an active and engaged media. The media is meant to be an oversight partner in some cases, and it is meant to be a tool with which things can be elevated. The fact is the Wausau Pilot has shown a positive light on dozens of things, at the same time informing the public about challenges that the City of Wausau should take. The criticism from the developer in this case is completely out of line, and he should rethink it as a media strategy. It reflects a real entitlement.

    Mr. Frantz has had every opportunity to speak to the Wausau Pilot as well as all the other media outlets in Central Wisconsin, and has chosen not to. This is a mistake on his part.

    I love the River Front project, and want to see it succeed. And I love that Wausau has active reporters and media outlets working to celebrate the cool stuff, and be critical of the City when it is called for.

    Good job Shereen.

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