Politics and packaging: Uline at the center of controversy in governor's race

PLEASANT PRAIRIE (WITI) -- Uline, a Pleasant Prairie packaging supply company is at the center of a controversy in the campaign for governor. Democratic challenger Mary Burke says she helped bring the company to Wisconsin from Illinois -- but the company's owner says she's exaggerating.

In ads and campaign appearances, Burke is touting her role in bringing Uline across the border.

In 2008, Uline -- a packaging supply business, announced it would move from Waukegan, Illinois to Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin.

Company owner Dick Uihlein says Burke is over-stating her involvement in the process.

"We didn't even know Mary Burke, so she had no influence at all," Uihlein said.

However, Burke is standing by her assertion. Her campaign has released a statement, reading:

"Mary Burke was proud to have played a central role in attracting Uline to Wisconsin during her time as Commerce Secretary.  Her commitment to improving Wisconsin's economy, which is lagging at 9th out of 10 Midwestern states in job creation under Scott Walker, isn't about politics."

There is evidence of Burke's involvement. She wrote a letter to Uline, saying: "The Wisconsin Department of Commerce is prepared to offer an aggressive package" to help attract the company over the border.

"Honestly, I apparently met her. I don't remember," Uihlein said.

Burke's campaign calls that "selective amnesia" from Scott Walker donors.

On Tuesday, June 3rd, the company announced major expansion plans that will bring 500 new jobs to the state.

"Liz and Dick and Brian feel that what we've done in this state has been a positive for them and their business," Gov. Scott Walker said.

Gov. Walker points to Wisconsin's unemployment rate of 5.8 percent -- substantially better than the national average, as evidence that his job creation policies are working.

"The only time in the last 25 years when Wisconsin was at worse unemployment than the federal level was during the time that Mary Burke worked as the Secretery of Commerce," Gov. Walker said.

The Uihleins say they are big supporters of Gov. Walker -- and campaign finance records show they have given more than $300,000 to Republican candidates since 2010.

    CLICK HERE to learn much more about Uline and its history.