The company proposing a new building in the Menomonee Valley already has its share of fans in city government.
Rishi Tea — a Milwaukee-born company that imports, manufactures and distributes tea — got a nod of approval from the Redevelopment Authority’s board of commissioners to put a 48,000-square-foot building in the Menomonee Valley.
There were a few quick comments about the company creating jobs and utilizing local contractors following the Menomonee Valley Industrial Center’s design guidelines.
But more people wanted to talk tea.
Laura Bray, executive director of Menomonee Valley Partners Inc., said she’s a big fan of Rishi’s teas, which Rishi co-owner Benjamin Harrison said are mostly organic.
And there was an “aye” of a different color come voting time: RACM Commissioner Lois Smith voted, and then continued with an endorsement of the teas.
It went something like, “Aye, I’ve been a Rishi tea drinker from the beginning.”
Board Chairman Bill Schwartz also voted aye, then joked that the committee is not averse to getting samples.
But the diligent commissioner, Alderman Willie Wade, made sure to chime in and let Harrison know that it couldn’t amount to more than $49.99 worth of samples, and as everyone laughed this reporter sat there with a blank face as the joke flew over her head with blinding speed.
Lucky for me I’ve got sources on the inside: Dave Misky, RACM’s assistant executive director, kindly explained that gifts to elected officials that are worth more than $50 must be reported.
I ought to thank him for clearing that up. I wonder if Rishi Tea offers gift cards in the amount of $49.99.