New Evidence Shows Johnson's PACUR was Created By His Father-In-Law as a Bemis Boondoggle | WisCommunity

New Evidence Shows Johnson's PACUR was Created By His Father-In-Law as a Bemis Boondoggle

In the late 1970s, under the direction of Bemis CEO (and Ron Johnson father-in-law), Howard Curler, the multi-national, publicly-held, corporation was looking to open a new plastics plant in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.  Here's how the Oshkosh Industrial Development Corporation (Chamco) explains it:

In 1965 Bemis acquired Curwood in New London and in the late 1970s they decided to add another facility. Curler says they chose Oshkosh because it had a good transportation network and a dedicated and highly skilled workforce.  As Bemis prepared to open the Oshkosh plant, Curler looked to the city and Chamco for help with site selection, to purchase land and to smooth out any problems along the way.

Meanwhile, at the same time, Howard Curler built a new, privatly-owned, plastic plant right accross the street from the new Bemis plastics plant.  The new company would be headed up by his son, Patrick Curler, and would also be named after his son: PACUR.   PACUR would be a "captive supplier" of Bemis and for the first few years, meaning that Bemis was their only customer.

Today, PACUR's relationship with Bemis is somewhat the same, with the vast majority of PACUR's business going to Bemis subsidiaries and Bemis being controlled by the Curler family.  In addition, Bemis has built several more plastic plants in the area, including Perfecseal, which is a backyard neighbor (and big customer) of PACUR, and headed-up by another one of Johnson's brothers-in-law, Robert Krostue.

In SEC disclosures, the Curler family has always dislosed these familial relationships and claimed that everything was "above board," but the creation and continued propping-up of PACUR, seems like an unjustifiably huge conflict of interest that should make any Bemis stock-holder angry.

For example, Bemis has opened up several plants overseas, including two in Suzhou, China.  In Suzhou, China they basically have the same medical device packaging set-up as they do in Oshkosh, with the equivelent of Bemis Flexible Packaging and Perfecseal in Suzhou. The missing piece they don't have in China is PACUR, which still ships plastic products from Oshkosh.

I'm, of course, glad PACUR is keeping the jobs in Oshkosh, but from a Bemis perspective, it seems like they are going to absurd lengths to steer business PACUR's way and if PACUR was not privately-owned by a member of the Curler extended family (Johnson), it would have been outsourced long ago like the rest of the Bemis subsidiaries.  

As an aside, this also underscores why Johnson's claim that PACUR "exports plastic, not jobs" is somewhat misleading.   A more straight-forward statement would be "we export plastic to China, because my wife's family is my biggest customer and China is where they shipped the jobs."

In any event, at a minimum, this new information from Chamco clearly shows that Howard Curler was not only the deep pockets behind PACUR, but he was in every sense the creator of the company.  And, as I've said before, if Johnson did not create the "job creator" PACUR, he has no right to claim to being a "job creator"-- especially considering that PACUR was not only created by his father-in-law, but has clearly been propped-up over the years by the Curler-family-controlled Bemis Corporation.


September 16, 2010 - 11:16am