MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Protests at the Wisconsin Capitol over public workers’ collective bargaining rights cost more than $7.8 million for police, and damage to the Capitol will cost about $270,000 to repair, a state official said.

Department of Administration Secretary Mike Huebsch said during a news conference Friday that local law enforcement incurred $3.9 million in overtime costs from Feb. 14 to March 13. Another $3.5 million was spent on overtime for state agencies that helped cover security such as the Capitol Police, Wisconsin State Patrol, Department of Natural Resources and the Division of Criminal Investigation. Huebsch said that the state has not paid any claims yet, but will pay overtime and some justified food expenses incurred by local law enforcement once they’ve been audited.

DOA officials also say a Capitol damage report written by restoration expert Charlie Quagliana found that protesters caused “3-5 years of wear” on the building in the course of two weeks that will cost $161,050 to repair. About $112,000 should be spent repairing damage to stonework, while another $30,500 will be spent on cleaning. Quagliana’s assessment cost about $13,000.

The damage was related to nearly monthlong protests that saw daily demonstrations of tens of thousands of protesters in and around the Capitol.

Several thousand protesters flooded the Capitol rotunda daily, with many setting up camp under the dome and staying the night. The Capitol walls were filled with signs affixed with blue painters’ tape, which protesters used to avoid damaging the marble. Despite a handful of arrests over the course of the demonstrations, protesters maintained a peaceful presence and made efforts to clean parts of the building nightly.

In his report, Quagliana said that the most significant damage was chipping and nicks to stones on the ground and first floors, which would have to be repaired through a process that includes trying to match the color of the stones.

Quagliana noted residue left by tape from protester signs and oil damage from cardboard pizza boxes hung as makeshift signs. While he recommended a full cleaning of surfaces in public areas to remove the tape and residue, he also noted they have not had a full cleaning since the late 1990s’ and were covered with layers of dust and grime.

Another $108,500 will be spent repairing damage to the Capitol lawn and its shrubs that were damaged by rallies of thousands held outside.

Huebsch said there was no evidence of “malicious destruction” of the Capitol by protesters, but only “carelessness.”

“I think $270,000 in damage to the Capitol is a huge amount,” Huebsch said. “That being said, it could have been much worse.”

Huebsch initially estimated during a court case regarding access to the Capitol that the damage to the building would cost $7.5 million to repair. Huebsch said he did not regret making the estimate, which he says was the best information available at the time.

“The DOA staff responded in the best way they could, and you’ve certainly seen the memos as to the ground work that they did … and just basically went back to what the restoration costs were 15 years ago when the Capitol was renovated,” Huebsch said. “So I don’t think it was a mistake because we were specifically asked that question in court.”

Huebsch said that DOA will work with the Legislature to fund the reimbursements, but that they would likely come from taxpayer dollars.

Sen. Fred Risser, D-Madison, who has been a critic of Capitol access issues since the protest, decried the cost to taxpayers.

“The costs of these excessive security measures are still being incurred and remain in clear violation of a court order,” Risser said.

Huebsch said that although security around the Capitol is being constantly evaluated, the extra security would likely remain in place until after the collective bargaining issue has been resolved in the Legislature.

DOA is also waiting on a report from the Department of Military Affairs that would detail the Capitol protests and security concerns arising from the event.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (21)
  1. MNTP says:

    Once again we see the work of DemocRAT traitors. When will this anarchy be ended? The Democratic Party should be outlawed immediately, its leaders, members and supporters jailed, its offices closed and its property confiscated.

    1. Jim says:

      Ah yes, these are the kinds of American values that Republicans support. Also known as fascism. Thanks for posting it for all to see. There are no better friends to Democrats than outspoken Republicans.

      1. MNTP says:

        Spoken like a true atheist socialist traitor. When the Tea Party takes the White House in 2012, you won’t think you’re so smart, Liberal Jim.

        1. Jim says:

          So if I don’t advocate outlawing one of the two major political parties in this country and jailing them and confiscating their property like a true fascist dictator would do, I’m an “atheist socialist traitor?” The fact is I’m none of those three things, but I don’t expect an honest response from you.

          “When the Tea Party takes the White House in 2012…” LOL

        2. Irv says:

          The day the tea baggers take the oval office will be the day we see all democratic processes crushed. Exxon and Koch will be seated neatly beside this person and we will quickly become a fascist country where the rights of the people are crushed under the rights of big business. Read the article. Get educated. Start offering solutions instead of rants that make no sense. To stand and point fingers doesn’t solve problems. Coming together to discuss, and yes debate, does. Problem in WI??? neither of these things happened. It was a one sided crushing of years of hard work. Today public empoyees, tomorrow could be you.

          1. David says:

            Finger pointing Irv? Rants Irv? A few words into your reply and YOU with the name calling Irv. You know what Irv??? I think your mother, daughter, sister, and wife are all “tea baggers” ! How is that for finger pointing ? Grow up and show some respect !

        3. WHAT????? says:

          Rusty Shakelford, I mean Patroit, I mean MNTP give it a Fing rest already, you are a whack job and even the people that you say are on your side do not come to your defense. Mark from MN tax or w/e that is has not even said anything for a while now. You should really take your idiot statements to a different site as this is not make believe land and nobody asked if you would be their neighbor.

  2. Murph says:

    They should just demolish the place.It no longer serves the citizenry.Have the Koch brothers build a new place for them to dictate from!

  3. Give me liberty says:

    Notice once again the liberal spin on the impact. The cost was $8 million, but that fact was buried in the story with a head line implying the cost was $270k.

    There would be total outrage by the headline writer if the protesters were conservatives.

    I say send the entire $8 million bill to the unions to pay.

    1. Jim says:

      Got a link to that $8 million figure? Where do you get that? (Honest question, I’d like to know.)

      “There would be total outrage by the headline writer if the protesters were conservatives.” You’re familiar with the headline writer’s political beliefs? That’s interesting considering I don’t even see the author’s name listed here. ESP?

      1. pat says:

        Come on jim, everyone but you knows wcco is all about liberal, look at their stance on everything. for you to take the stand of golly gee whiz where’d you get that, just takes away from any credibility you may wish to present

        1. Mike says:


          The article was written and distributed by the AP, not WCCO, but facts are never that important when your trying to spin a conclusion based on falsehoods.

  4. Live by the Sword.... says:


    Hey Whack job: Walker the Governazi caused the outrage, he can pay for it from the $$$$ he gets from the Koch (sounds German, doesn’t it?) brothers.

    Heil GOP!!!!

  5. Mike says:

    I sincerely doubt that the costs to repair the Wisconsin Capital are $207K and Walker has more shared responsibility than any other individual or group for inspiring the rally of thousands of citizens. Republicans should take responsibility and clean up the mess THEY created!

  6. worryfree says:

    I find it interesting that the $7.5 million damage estimate is actually $270,000 and that is for wear and tear of thousands of people demonstrating in the capitol. Geez they used blue painters tape to hang their signs to protect the marble! The extraordinary security Walker felt he needed was his choice and his expense.

  7. Darren says:

    Make the Union pay for it.

  8. lawls? says:

    Does anyone else find it funny that the people who are part of a political movement named after the destruction of property to make a political statement, are deriding people who were not trying to destroy property in their effort to make a political statement?

  9. GOPSUX says:

    All repukes are evil filth.

  10. alan says:

    Democracy happens.

    And someone not directly involved needs to make the estimate.

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