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Doyle admin helps biggest campaign donor

Gov. Jim Doyle's biggest campaign donor got some help from the administration, after his trucking firms built up a $1 million in tax bills.

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Frank Busalacchi, the state's transportation secretary, met with Kenosha businessman Dennis Troha in 2004, and then told two employees to help him out.

And in an almost unprecedented move, the state sent an attorney and an auditor to Illinois to urge officials there to give Troha a break.

The lawyer also went to Pennsylvania to do the same thing, both times to no avail.

The case is still before the Wisconsin Tax Appeals Commission.

Last week, a federal grand jury indicted Troha, 60, for allegedly using one of his businesses and family members to funnel more than $100,000 to the governor's campaign.

At the time, he needed Doyle's approval to build a huge casino but he pulled out of it just before being indicted.

Madison TV station WKOW first broke the story of the WisDOT's involvement in the Troha case last weekend, but it only mentioned one of Troha's firms, with a tax obligation of more than $200,000.

The Journal Sentinel report said three Troha trucking firms owe much more.

State officials and Doyle's office insist such help is not unusual.

Robert Jambois, a WisDOT attorney, said officials went to Georgia in 2001 to help Schneider National of Green Bay in a tax dispute in that state.

Matt Canter, a Doyle spokesman, calls those efforts "totally appropriate."

Troha refused comment on the matter.