Terry McAuliffe and the Greentech Automotive Scandal…A Mississippian’s Perspective

terrymcauliffeBack in the days after the Civil War, Mississippi, among other states, in what was formerly the Confederacy, was invaded by a bunch of  scalawags, known as “carpetbaggers”, because of the kind of luggage they carried with them.

Well, y’all, recently the Magnolia State got suckered by another one of “them critters.” Pull yourself a chair up, get cozy, and let ol’ KJ tell you all about him.

Terry McAuliffe is an American businessman, fundraiser, politician, and former chairman of the Democratic Party. He served as chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 2001 to 2005 and served as co-chairman of President Bill Clinton’s 1996 re-election campaign and as chairman of Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign. He was an unsuccessful candidate for the Democratic nomination in the 2009 Virginia gubernatorial election and is the Democratic nominee in the 2013 Virginia gubernatorial election.

McAuliffe recently served as President of the Greentech Automotive Company, from 2010 until he resigned in December 2012..

The Washington Free Beacon presented the following five points to remember about Greentech Automotive, in an article published last week:

1. GreenTech fell short on job promises multiple times

McAuliffe told Virginians in 2009 that the new car company would create 1,500 jobs for the state.

McAuliffe did not tell Virginians that the company was also in talks with the state of Mississippi, and would soon opt to move its operations there.

However, things have not panned out with GreenTech in Mississippi either.

McAuliffe projected that GreenTech would be churn out 10,000 cars in its first year and employ thousands.

At this point it is unclear whether GreenTech is producing any jobs. Further informationBelow.]

GreenTech is still operating at what was supposed to be a temporary facility in Horn Lake, Miss.

Although McAuliffe claimed that ground was broken at the company’s planed permanent facility, local investigators found that there was nothing but overgrown grass covering the plot on which it is supposed to be located.

2. GreenTech relies on a foreign “visa-for-sale” investment scheme

At the center of GreenTech’s fundraising operation is the controversial EB-5 visa program.

The program allows foreign nationals to get a visa if they invest $500,000 to $1 million in a project or business that provides U.S. jobs.

GreenTech partners with Gulf Coast Funds Management (GCFM), a company that is authorized by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to collect EB-5 investments for GreenTech.

GCFM has collected at least $45.5 million from foreign investors for GreenTech through the program. Anthony Rodham, a close friend of McAuliffe who also happens to be the brother of Hillary Clinton, runs GCFM.

Many have been skeptical about whether the visa program was being used properly.

Virginia officials labeled the company a “visa-for-sale scheme” and feared that doing business with GreenTech could eventually “give the Commonwealth a black eye.”

3. GreenTech is being investigated by the SEC

Both GreenTech and GCFM are targets of a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) investigation.

Although the details of the investigation are still unclear, both companies have confirmed that the SEC subpoenaed them for documents in May of this year.

Documents made available by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) make clear that the investigation centers around the use of the EB-5 visa program.

McAuliffe, who quietly resigned from the company in December, claims that he had no knowledge of any pending investigation at the time of his resignation.

4. GreenTech is at the center of a Homeland Security investigation

GreenTech and McAuliffe have also found themselves involved in a Department of Homeland Security investigation.

USCIS director Alejandro Mayorkas allegedly assisted Rodham and GCFM win approval for an EB-5 visa application, even after the application and the subsequent appeal were rejected.

Documents revealed that Rodham directly contacted Mayorkas and urged him to approve pending visa applications.

Concerns were also raised that Mayorkas expedited the approval of applicants that were held for “fraud/national security.”

5. GreenTech’s parent company is based in the British Virgin Islands

GreenTech is owned by Capital Wealth Holdings, an investment company incorporated in the tax haven, the British Virgin Islands.

GreenTech president and Chinese businessman, Charles Wang, owns the investment company.

Wang is an expert on the EB-5 visa program and has coached other U.S. companies on how to effectively make use of it.

Of course, Terry McAuliffe sees things differently.

According to McAuliffe, in an op ed piece he just wrote for the Washington Post:

I’ve not been contacted in any way by those conducting the investigation and have no knowledge of it beyond what has been reported. From what has been reported, the investigation appears to be looking at a document allegedly prepared for potential investors — something I was not responsible for as chairman.

Republicans have also criticized the company for employing only about 100 people. Of course, that’s about 100 jobs that would not have existed if we had not taken a risk on this company. The company has taken longer to develop than many people expected, including me, but taking a risk on an innovative company is a critical part of the American system, and most business leaders I speak with agree that it’s not uncommon for a company to face challenges meeting its goals.

GreenTech was started because those involved invested their own money in high-tech manufacturing. In this case, it was manufacturing a small electric vehicle that had already won an annual award. Like every start-up during the Great Recession, the company faced headwinds. Those included a bureaucratic slowdown in a bipartisan visa program known as EB-5, which brings capital from overseas to create jobs here in the United States for many companies. I joined a variety of business and political leaders from both parties who expressed frustration to officials at the agency overseeing the program.

A further headwind is that manufacturing isn’t easy, and manufacturing a new kind of car is even harder. The company has invested in research and development, testing and safety to perfect the design. While Nissan worked to develop electric vehicles for about 18 years before launching the Leaf, GreenTech made progress in just a few years during a more challenging economic time. If GreenTech succeeds, it will be a step forward for innovative manufacturing.

I have an interest — both personally and financially — in the company succeeding, and I believe that it will. As a minority shareholder, my return will be determined by the success of a long process of testing, manufacturing, marketing and selling vehicles all over the world.

The “temporary” Greentech Automotive Plant sits just a few miles down the road from where I am writing this post. The fact is, according to both current and former employees, fewer than 100 workers are producing no more than one car every two or three days.

Meanwhile, further down Highway 61, overlooking the casinos in Tunica Mississippi, sits a weed-covered piece of land, once presented to job-hungry Mississippians, as  “a Field of Dreams”, which has wound up being a “a Lot of Empty Promises”.

Hey, Virginians…Caveat Emptor.

Until He Comes,

KJ

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6 Responses to “Terry McAuliffe and the Greentech Automotive Scandal…A Mississippian’s Perspective”

  1. yoda Says:

    McAuliffe reeks of ick!!!! I hope the good Virginia people don’t get fooled by this snake oil salesman.

  2. KOOLAID2 Says:

    …you think the papers are pounding his butt checks about this?
    …and another “investigation”…going nowhere!

  3. ewe turn Says:

    another “green” company down the drain, is old news. A123 battery, near me in MI, promised similar, delivered nothing. Visa for sale problem is disturbing. Quick search – seems to be creating jobs for law firms specializing in immigration. Brother Rodham involvement ensures the stink wafts up to big sis.
    Thanks for writing about this topic.

  4. Gohawgs Says:

    Anything the Clinton’s are involved in will suck. Not to mention, probably illegal…Not to mention part 2, and probably deadly…

  5. Why Obama is Still Wasting OUR Money on “the Fight Against Climate Change (Global Warming)” | Kingsjester's Blog Says:

    […] from washouts like Solyndra to GreenTech Automotive, millions of taxpayer dollars have been sunk into these so-called green projects, since the advent […]

  6. Dim...err...Dem. Senator From California Grills Future CIA Director Pompeo as to Whether He Believes in "Climate Change". Really? Why? - Sparta Report Says:

    […] from washouts like Solyndra to GreenTech Automotive, millions of taxpayer dollars have been sunk into these so-called green projects, since the advent […]

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