A museum donor accused directors of mismanagement during a budget meeting in Wisconsin Dells Wednesday, but the leaders of the Circus World Museum said that’s just more misinformation from supporters of a state takeover.
At the hearing at Kalahari Resort, museum stakeholders from both sides voiced their concerns. The hearing is the third of four, and the one that took place at a location nearest Madison and Baraboo.
“Our bottom line is we want the Circus World Museum to be there, to be here in the State of Wisconsin,” Gov. Scott Walker said after the hearing.
One attendee, a museum donor, expressed his support of a takeover and said an example of mismanagement included the museum’s decision to bring a circus wagon to the meeting.
"Out there in the parking lot is a priceless wagon out in the rain, transported in this weather," the man said. "None of us would transport our prized car or antique in an open trailer in this kind of weather."
Circus World Executive Director Steve Freese said the best avenue for the museum is to stay in its own control.
"We hope by providing correct numbers, accurate numbers and not misleading numbers as the Wisconsin Historical Society has given [Walker], will allow for him to see there is another path … to be able to accomplish what he wants to do, and that's save Circus World longterm," Freese said.
Sauk City democrat Fred Clark called for an audit of the relationship between Circus World and the State Historical Society, which would run the museum if the state took over management as proposed by the governor. Included would be an audit of Circus World’s operations.
There's one final budget hearing outside of Eau Claire, then lawmakers return to the Capitol to debate before the legislature in June.