The "Alleged" Corruption
Before he resigned as chairman in December 2012 –– although as documented earlier, we know he's still quite active –– McAuliffe helped raised plenty of private money from foreign investors, but GreenTech Auto also received its fair share of government assistance.
With GreenTech's 2009-promise to build a $2 billion plant in Mississippi, the poorest state in the U.S, "some 100 acres were donated by Tunica County's economic development foundation, at a cost of $1.8 million, and in 2011 the state gave a $3 million loan toward site preparation," as documented by the Huffington Post.
"Breitbart News confirmed with the Mississippi Development Authority [MDA] on July 22  that these loans have been completely disbursed." However, Mississippi’s Economic Development Authority says the taxpayer subsidies are contingent on GreenTech raising $60 million by Dec. 31, 2014. If GreenTech fails to meet the capital requirement and hire 350 full-time workers, local and state authorities can “claw back” their investments. Good luck with that...
What's not widely reported is that the MDA got stimulus funds: The Mississippi Development Authority, Energy Division received approximately $40 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding from the U. S. Department of Energy (DOE).
Also, I have found conflicting reports on how much taxpayer money GreenTech snagged: it ranges from $5 million to $8 million, and even McAuliffe himself puts the price tag at $18 million. Not to mention for every car purchased, taxpayers again pay –– for example the MyCar NEV states, "...find state and federal incentives to make your MyCar even more affordable."
But the worst part comes from the fact that the private funds for GreenTech involves a program here in the USA called the Immigrant Investor Program, also known as “EB-5,” which was "created by Congress in 1990 to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investment by foreign investors." What's relevant here is that "GreenTech has sought overseas investors through [this] federal program that allows foreigners to gain special visas if they contribute at least $500,000 to create U.S. jobs," documented The Post last month.
The other twist here is that "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." And, Anthony Rodham, a close friend of McAuliffe who also happens to be the brother of the former secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton, is the President and CEO of GCFM. According to an August 12, 2013 report by the Washington Free Beacon, "GCFM has collected at least $45.5 million from foreign investors for GreenTech through the program."
With so many numbers floating around –– $37.5 million in cash investments, says Breitbart.com, with $32 million from the "green cards for sale program" –– it's difficult to track just how much foreign cash McAuliffe and Co. raised for GreenTech Automotive. However, there is strong evidence –– not yet proven beyond a reasonable doubt –– that the USCIS gave them special treatment.
At the core is Alejandro Mayorkas, who currently serves as director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (UCIS), an agency within Homeland Security, and is also the Obama administration's nominee to become the next Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security. This is where it gets even more convoluted. As stated earlier, this "visas for sale" program has caused quite the controversy. Last month, the National Review Online reported that "the Homeland Security Inspector General is investigating to see whether officials gave special treatment to GreenTech because of McAuliffe’s political connections," of which NRO notes that "McAuliffe was central to GreenTech’s effort to get DHS to reverse decisions on visas."
That accusations was preempted by the Daily Beast July report: "in December 2010, McAuliffe wrote to Napolitano on behalf of GreenTech and asked her to expedite the company’s EB-5 requests and reopen consideration of requests that had been previously denied." Moreover, we find via the New York Times: "Frustrated by government red tape slowing his electric car company, Terry McAuliffe repeatedly sought a meeting at the Department of Homeland Security."
The Times gives a few more details...
He and his lawyers sent a stream of e-mails to a senior official in charge of approving foreign investments that Mr. McAuliffe sought, and he went up the chain of command to Janet Napolitano, the secretary of homeland security... Finally, a 2011 meeting took place, and Mr. McAuliffe and Mr. Wang met with Alejandro Mayorkas [my words here]... As their meeting was wrapping up, Ms. Napolitano popped into the room to say hello, Mr. Wang said. Later, Mr. Mayorkas issued a favorable ruling that cleared the way for GreenTech to recruit more foreign investors.
The Times goes on... "In 2011, Mr. Mayorkas overruled two lower officers in his department, Citizenship and Immigration Services, which allowed GreenTech to recruit more Chinese investors."
In the Daily Beast piece we also discover that "this past January, Rodham wrote to Mayorkas directly and pressed him to speed up approval of EB-5 visas for GreenTech."
This past July NBC News reported that this particular IG investigation, "was opened in September 2012 based on a referral from an FBI counterintelligence analyst," and they gave some key points:
The probe is based on allegations that Mayorkas personally intervened to win an approval for Gulf Coast Funds Management, a financing company headed by Clinton’s brother Anthony Rodham, after USCIS officials rejected its application, according to an aide to GOP Sen. Charles Grassley, who had received internal USCIS emails about the matter from a department whistleblower.
During the course of the probe, the email states, the inspector general learned of other allegations "involving alleged conflicts of interest, misuse of position, mismanagement of the EB-5 program, and an appearance of impropriety by Mayorkas and other" officials within the UCSIS.
By the end of July, Republican senators, due to the ongoing IG investigation, boycotted the confirmation hearing set for Mayorkas, "Obama’s nominee to become the deputy secretary of Homeland Security, a job that could result in him running the department" since Secretary Janet Napolitano stepped down in September," wrote the Daily Beast. Mayorkas' confirmation has since been put on ice, but that was after the hearings proceeded in July without Republican participation, giving him an opportunity to plead his side of the GreenTech case: "I have never in my career used undue influence to influence the outcome of a case," Mayorkas testified in front of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
Even so, according to TribLive News, Senator Grassley, who is pressing for more information on Homeland Security's handling of the EB-5 program, recently charged, "We absolutely gave special treatment to Green Tech at the directive of D1" (“D1″ is an apparent reference to Mr. Mayorkas
). In an August letter, "Grassley told Alejandro Mayorkas that he has received a torrent of whistleblower reports that Mayorkas interfered continuously on behalf of GreenTech."
But a "homeland invasion" is not the only thing hampering McAuliffe and his eco-car's reputation: "in May , the SEC subpoenaed documents from GreenTech Automotive and bank records from a sister company, Gulf Coast Funds Management of McLean," reported the Washington Post last month.
Even though The Post admits that "the full focus of the SEC investigation into GreenTech and Gulf Coast is not known, we do know that "in recent months, the SEC has stepped up its scrutiny of companies that use the visa program, largely over concerns that investors may have been misled or defrauded by the companies seeking their money. The visa program has also raised national security concerns from some lawmakers worried that suspect individuals are using it to gain entry into the country."
Considering all that clout, there's a former Obama cabinet official by the name of Rick Wade, whom as Tori Richards (author at Watchdog.org and Human Events) puts it, "might be the insider who carries the most weight." Mr Wade, whose history includes "a founding partner of the Axelrod-Wade Group, a global business development firm," joined GreenTech Automotive in 2011, whereas his bio brags that he is currently the "Senior Vice President & Head of China Operations, following a distinguished career at the Department of Commerce."
Wade, while at Commerce, was involved in President Obama's trillion-dollar stimulus spending spree, yet he also had many other key Democratic positions, both during and after his time with Team Obama (see bullet point presentation). And as of late, Wade is planning on getting back into politics, and will be running for the United States Senate against Tim Scott, of which according to the Grio, "He is expected to announce his candidacy early next month."
- 2008: Senior adviser role for then-Senator Obama’s 2008 campaign
- 2008: Wade chaired Obama’s successful South Carolina primary in 2008 against Hillary Clinton
- 2009: Wade was a member of the White House task forces on Automobile Recovery (a $25 billion effort to prop up the failing U.S. auto industry), which was led by former treasury secretary Timothy Geithner and Economic Council Director Lawrence Summers.
- 2009: Within Commerce, Wade served as interim chief of staff during the presidential transition, and he contributed to all major policy and personnel decisions.
- 2009 to 2011: Wade was also the Senior Adviser and Deputy Chief of Staff for Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, who served that role from March 24, 2009 until October 2011. Gary Locke resigned as the 36th Secretary of Commerce on August 1, 2011 to become the U.S. Ambassador to the People's Republic of China. And then John Bryson, who became Obama’s Secretary of Commerce in October 2011, is another player inside some of this clean-energy dirt. Bryson resigned in June of 2012 following a series of mysterious auto accidents, and now we have Penny Pritzker, the mega-rich pal of Obama, who raised mega-bucks for both of his presidential campaigns and was a member of his so-called jobs council, whereas she is “related” to at least two large Green Corruption stories.
- 2009-2011: Additionally, while at the Commerce Department, "Wade worked diligently to ensure President Obama’s business and economic programs, including the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, were implemented effectively and efficiently." Some say that Wade even helped craft President Obama's massive stimulus package, of which $100 billion was earmarked for renewable energy. These taxpayer funds have been the centerpiece of the entire Green Corruption scandal, of which I've been tracking and reporting on since 2010 –– even the fact that billions of "green" tax dollars have been shipped overseas to aid production of green ventures in foreign countries.
- 2009-2011: According to Watchdog.org, "The Commerce Department job also allowed Wade to hone a skill that might explain his value to GreenTech: he became a U.S. envoy on Chinese and Asian trade."
- 2012: Wade, a member of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), was also a Senior Advisor to the Obama for America presidential campaign and the 2012 Democratic National Convention, which means that he helped run the president’s 2012 campaign while simultaneously serving as a Democratic Party executive and vice president of GreenTech
- Wade is (was) also part of the Advisory Board for Volt Energy
Now, I haven't found any clear evidence at this time whether Mr. Wade helped in any of the GreenTech dealings, but it's awfully convenient that Wade was not only involved in the 2009-Recovery Act, but worse, since joining GreenTech in 2011, he was actively part of President Obama's re-election bid –– thus he had "access and influence."
And, if you've been following any of my work, you'd know that I've published a series entitled "The RAT in the Recovery and the Gang of Eight”: those individuals and groups that were involved in crafting the energy sector of the 2009-Recovery Act, and who ultimately financially benefited from the $100 billion that was earmarked for renewable energy (with a summary installment coming in the near future). Keep in mind too, as mentioned earlier, the Mississippi Development Authority, Energy Division, –– the one that awarded GreenTech millions in state subsidies –– received approximately $40 million from President Obama's stimulus package.
"Fast Terry": Master Job Creator or Con Man?
Even though many news organizations, watchdog groups, and online forums have exposed the empty promises and debunked the claims in regards to GreenTech's factories, green cars and green jobs, I'll attempt to do my part, starting with a challenge: take the time to view "Fast Terry," a documentary by Citizens United. Besides being informed and infuriated, you'll discover that during the course of his traveling electric-car road show that began in 2009, McAuliffe promised hope, hundreds of thousands of green cars and thousands of green jobs –– all made in America
Two GreenTech Factories:
The Horn Lake Facility in DeSoto County, Mississippi and The Tunica Plant in Tunica County, Mississippi
According to the New York Times, in 2011, while presenting GreenTech as a catalyst of American job creation, McAuliffe was adamant, “I am sick and tired of seeing our jobs go to China...” Ironically, GreenTech has two manufacturing facilities in Mississippi, where the company has received state subsidies, and one in China, as well as some office locations.
- GreenTech Automotive Corporate Office: McLean, VA
- Tunica Office: Tunica, MS
- Horn Lake Assembly Plant: Horn Lake, MS
- Dongguan MyCar Electric Vehicle Technology Limited: located in China
Besides grants and loans from the state of Mississippi (totaling either $5 million, $8 million, or $18 million), GreenTech sometime in September 2011, received a sweetheart land deal as part of their location compensation: "The Tunica County Economic Development Foundation, a group in Mississippi headed by Tunica County Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Lyn Arnold, worked out a strategy to secure land [100 acres] for GreenTech without going through the state’s legislative approval process," reported The Daily Caller this past July –– which also emphasized that "Richmond’s Action News 5 recently reported there is no evidence GreenTech has produced any cars, green or otherwise."
Meanwhile GreenTech's website (GTA), with a grand picture of their plant –– the Horn Lake Facility in DeSoto County, Mississippi –– claims, "With 380,000 square feet under roof, GTA's first plant will be used for the production of GTA's first vehicle, a neighborhood electric vehicle (NEV) named MyCar. They also claim, "In late 2013, MyCar production will move to GTA's all-new, state-of-the-art manufacturing facility located approximately 20 miles away in Tunica, MS," and that the "groundwork has already begun..." for the Tunica Plant –– again promising "5,000 new direct and indirect jobs in Mississippi and the vendor base nationwide."
It turns out that for more than one year (July 2012 to July 2013), the Action News 5 Investigators have been asking questions about GreenTech Automotive, "and its promise of hundreds of new jobs in North Mississippi." Action News also gave us another McAuliffe promise, followed by evidence that something is wrong...
"If I can be successful and make 10,000 cars over the next 12 months here in Horn Lake and ship them over to Denmark, that's a huge win for me, the company, and most importantly, Mississippi," said McAuliffe in July 2012.
Twelve months later, the Action News 5 Investigators have uncovered no evidence of any major car production and a former Greentech employee raises new questions about the company's operation.
"We were told, you know, when we first went in the fall of '11, we were going to build a 100 by Christmas, didn't happen," said the former employee, who asked to remain anonymous. "Then we were told we were going to build X amount through the year 2012 and that didn't happen."
The employee says workers built cars then deconstructed and rebuilt them over and over again to appear as though they were working.
What was GreenTech's response on reassembling of cars? "Both the plant manager Trey Agner and GreenTech Vice President Marianne McInerney said workers break down and re-assemble the cars for training and quality control," reported Action News.
Action News, in the same report said, "McInerney refused to release the number of vehicles actually made at the facility or sold last year because GTA is a private company. She would only say there are pending orders for the new 2014 MyCar," and McInerney told them that they "would create 350 jobs by the end of 2014 and those are direct jobs."
This investigation also uncovered the fact that GreenTech "told its employees in Northern Mississippi to pretend to build cars to fool foreign investors."
Furthermore, in April of this year, Watchdog.org made a visit to the GreenTech office located at a Tunica strip mall, whereas their investigators exposed quite the encounter, "Silence, secrecy, cops follow GreenTech’s China deal." One of the most interesting conclusions came from a local police officer stating, “They’re pretty secretive,” he said. “Just like the Russians.”
In that same April 25, 2013 article, Watchdog.org documented the following Intel, which coincides with, and adds another layer to what I just highlighted from the Action News investigation:
Next door, in the Desoto County city of Horn Lake, it’s a different story — except for the secrecy and apparent lack of actual manufacturing. Locals said workers almost daily drive GreenTech’s tiny MyCars — two-seater, all-electric vehicles with a 25-mile range — around the facility in what looks like a test-drive caravan.
While some say that "Terry McAuliffe’s GreenTech has tried to import more Chinese Nationals than it has sold cars," on August 12, 2013, the Washington Free Beacon shed some light into what's going on: "Five Things You Need to Know About GreenTech Automotive." The number one issue being that GreenTech has fallen "short on job promises multiple times..."
At this point it is unclear whether GreenTech is producing any jobs.
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.
(NOTE: Both photos are by Dustin Hurst –– one of the GTA office and the other of GTA's proposed production facility at the site in Tunica County, Mississippi, which I wrote about in this section –– can be found at Watchdog.org, yet I placed them on my blog as well.)
As many are still pondering when GreenTech will build (or even begin to break ground) at their proposed $60 million Tunica plant in Mississippi, GreenTech jobs are even more puzzling. I must reemphasize that tracking both the number of cars and jobs –– promised, claimed, or even saved for that matter, versus reality –– has been a difficult task. It seems to be a moving target and depending on the day, what con tactics Terry has up his sleeve, or what the folks at GreenTech are smoking, it changes.
Now, I briefly covered this topic early on, but here is my bullet point presentation of what I found during my two-week crash course research project on GreenTech and all its shenanigans. (NOTE: big shout out to Bearing Drift: Virginia's Conservative Voice, for their list as well).
- October 6, 2009 / Memphis Business Journal: "Tunica County will become home to a new hybrid automobile development and manufacturing facility that will initially employ 1,500 with a $1 billion investment. The [Mississippi] plant will produce 150,000 vehicles annually in phase one."
- 2009: "McAuliffe predicted at least 10,000 cars a year would be manufactured by 2011," as documented by
Politifact.com this past August
- May 18, 2010 / Terry's Newsroom: “McAuliffe has announced his intent is to eventually create 4,500 new jobs for the electric auto manufacturing firm in Virginia as well as Tennessee and Mississippi.”
- May 20, 2010 / EVWorld.com: "GTA plans to create thousands of “'green collar'” jobs across Mississippi, Tennessee and Virginia. At full production, GTA will create over 4,000 new US jobs."
- October 7, 2010 / Bloomberg News: "GreenTech plans to buy parts abroad and assemble the cars in the U.S., creating around 5,000 jobs in economically depressed areas. Besides Mississippi, McAuliffe is looking at sites in Tennessee and Virginia and says he will go to the state offering the best tax breaks and other benefits."
- October 7, 2010, as written by Watchdog.org in Dec 2012: "In a 2010 interview, McAuliffe predicted that his company’s first-generation NEV would go on sale mid-2011. GreenTech initially pledged to hire thousands workers to assemble tens of thousands of vehicles a year at its new Tunica, Miss., plant by the end of 2012." At that time, "None of those projections has come close to fruition. The Tunica plant is still under construction, and the payroll barely tops 100 workers.
- February 2011 / You Tube clip (R): “I’m going to announce another major plant this year, which is going to be about 3,000 – 5,000 jobs.” – Terry McAuliffe
- August 6, 2011, but reported on September 5, 2011 / Automotive News: “We can achieve two important goals at once. We can provide China with clean technology and help reduce carbon emissions in the country,” said McAuliffe, chairman of GreenTech, in an Aug. 6 press release about the China factory. The China project will create 2,000 jobs for Americans, he said.
- November 2011 / Charlottesville Tomorrow: “Denmark has bought GreenTech’s first year of production, about 110 cars, which will be manufactured at a temporary plant in Horn Lake, Miss. McAuliffe is opening a permanent factory in nearby Tunica, which will eventually employ 350 workers."
- 2012: "Terry McAuliffe claimed in 2012 that the plant would be churning out 10,000 electric cars this year," reported by the Washington Free Beacon June 18, 2013
- July 2012 statement by McAuliffe and reported by Action News 5 (July 2013): "If I can be successful and make 10,000 cars over the next 12 months here in Horn Lake and ship them over to Denmark, that's a huge win for me, the company, and most importantly, Mississippi."
- July 6, 2012 when GreenTech Automotive unveiled its environmentally friendly, energy efficient vehicle, MyCar / HR Professionals: “Former President Bill Clinton and former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour were on hand to help celebrate GTA’s relocation to the U.S. The company is expected to create 426 new jobs and support about 7,400 more.”
- July 9, 2012 / HybridCars.com: “Production of MyCar and its derivatives, plus the all-new vehicles to be added to the product portfolio will lead to the formation of 5,000 new direct and indirect jobs in Mississippi and the vendor base nationwide,” GreenTech boldly says on its Web site.
- April 12, 2013 / Mother Nature Network by Jim Motavalli: "I also talked to McAuliffe, and he said the company was planning on at least 400 employees in Tunica, Miss., with 3,500 indirect jobs. (The company launched with a temporary facility in Horn Lake, Miss.) “We have 14 job openings right now,” he said. “These cars will be made by American workers.” The 300,000-square-foot plant was supposed to be pumping out cars in mid-2013, which is now, isn’t it?
- July 6, 2012 / Wheels Blogs @ the New York Times: “Mr. McAuliffe said the venture would employ 900 workers in Mississippi by the end of the year, as well as create many jobs indirectly.”
- July 15, 2013 / TimesDispatch.com: McAuliffe promised GreenTech Automotive would create 2,000 American jobs and produce cars
- July 17, 2013 / PR Newswire: designed to have an annual production capacity of 30,000 vehicles in Tunica, Mississippi
- July, 2013 / Action News 5: GreenTech Vice President Marianne McInerney "refused to release the number of vehicles actually made at the facility or sold last year because GTA is a private company. She would only say there are pending orders for the new 2014 MyCar," and that the plant "would create 350 jobs by the end of 2014 and those are direct jobs."
- August 12, 2013 / Phys.org News: The company says it will be producing cars by April, but its plans have changed dramatically, from a goal of 250,000 a year to 30,000...
Quite the track record, but in an effort to simplify, here a few of the latest stats that I could find on GreenTech jobs, starting in July of 2012 with HR Professionals Magazine, which stated, "As of July, GTA has more than 840 employees enterprise-wide, and they are on track to employ more than 900 more by the end of 2012." Later they add, "As of July  there were 67 employees in the northern Mississippi sites (Tunica/Horn Lake) and eight employees in the McLean, Virginia office."
And July of this year, when Action News 5 Investigators attempted to get back inside GreenTech to check into the Horn Lake operation and its staff, the "GreenTech Vice President Marianne McInerney denied their requests each time, but claimed that 78 employees worked inside."
We also have (as presented earlier in this post) the New York Times, and its August 9, 2013 article that said, "GreenTech employs 80 people and that company officials would not say how many cars will be built this year."
Small Eco-car; Big Green Scam?
At what stage each of the two GreenTech plants are and how much money they snagged from the taxpayers of Mississippi ($5 to $18 million), is still unclear. Neither do we know the exact status of both investigations, and what they will conclude: the Securities and Exchange as well as the Department of Homeland Security IG. But as the residents of Virginia buy into his campaign slogan, "McAuliffe for Governor: Putting Jobs First," how many green jobs GreenTech has created in the state of Mississippi as well as the number of green cars they've assembled here in the United States remains a mystery.
Since Terry is leading the Virginia governor race, I can only assume that Virginians haven't done their homework or maybe they just don't care, because GreenTech has left many of us in the dark: instead of hope, cars and jobs, McAuliffe and his electric-car dream has perpetuated nothing but confusion and frustration for the folks at Tunica County and many in the state of Mississippi.
Obviously, GreenTech produces a small eco-car –– we've seen the flashy prototypes after all; like a high-end golf cart. Quite frankly, I wouldn't mind getting one for my teenage daughter (that way she can't go over 25 MPH); but the most critical question remains to be answered...is this a big green scam?
We report, you decide....