Farmers, happy or not, reap millions from Foxconn purchases

Rick Romell, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on

Published in Business News

MOUNT PLEASANT, Wis. -- A few months back, Thomas Fliess Jr. was harvesting field corn and soybeans. Now, in the dead of winter, his land has sprouted a bumper crop of greens.

Meet one of the first Foxconn millionaires.

He's a trim 55 (he works out at a gym every morning) with close-cropped hair, a shy smile, five grown daughters and 11 grandchildren. Number 12 is due in July.

Between the kids, the demands of farming some 1,500 acres of owned and rented land, and a part-time job preparing UPS trucks for delivery runs, he stays busy.

And that, he said, is what he plans to keep doing after selling 147 acres of cropland for Foxconn Technology Group, at a price he never dreamed he'd see, and pocketing nearly $7 million.

Fliess is among several property owners who last summer agreed to let go of their Mount Pleasant farmland at $50,000 an acre -- more than five times the going rate in the area pre-Foxconn -- and now stand to walk away with millions.


"I'm too old to start over but too young to retire," he said, laughing.

"Oh yeah, if you wanted to you could, but you know, I've got a big family, too, and I want to help all them out eventually as much as possible.

"And then, what do you do? What do you do if you just quit? You sit there and get old. So I keep on working."

'Don't congratulate me'


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