Terry McAuliffe has run his campaign for Governor of Virginia touting his business experience, specifically citing his chairmanship of GreenTech when talking about his history as a job creator. Unfortunately, the facts about GreenTech and McAuliffe’s role are bringing the basis for his entire campaign into question.
Last week Politico broke the news that Terry McAuliffe quietly stepped down as chairman of GreenTech Automotive on December 1, 2012. Yet for months his campaign has touted his Chairmanship and failed to correct any media reports continuing to cite him as Chairman of GreenTech.
This omission isn’t the first time McAuliffe has gotten in trouble with his claims concerning GreenTech. In December, McAuliffe took heat for GreenTech’s decision to build a factory in Mississippi instead of Virginia, pushing back by saying that Virginia’s Economic Development Partnership turned his pitch down. That statement quickly fell apart as it was revealed that GreenTech never finished the incentive application, with PolitiFact finding that not only was McAuliffe lying about the process, but that VEDP did not know that GreenTech has decided to go with Mississippi until they read it in the paper.
(Note, the Mississippi deal isn’t exactly a gain for the state as GreenTech has a delinquent tax bill due to lack of production in Tunica County.)
Now emails within VEDP have come to light showing concern that the GreenTech may have been an EB-5 scam:
In an e-mail dated November 17, 2009, Liz Povar, then the director of business development at VEDP, wrote to her colleagues:
Sandi et al. Even if the company has investors “lined up”, I maintain serious concerns about the establishment of an EB-5 center in general, and most specifically based on this company. Not only based on (lack of) management expertise, (lack of) market preparation, etc. but also still can’t get my head around this being anything other than a visa-for-sale scheme with potential national security implications that we have no way to confirm or discount. . . .
This “feels” like a national political play instead of a Virginia economic development opportunity. I am not willing to stake Virginia’s reputation on this at this juncture.
The e-mails were revealed pursuant to a Freedom of Information Act request filed by PolitiFact; 79 pages of documents were posted online in January.
The EB-5 program is under increasing scrutiny and concerns specifically over GreenTech’s use of the EB-5 program were brought up by Watchdog.org on April 1st (prompting contact from GreenTech’s attorneys):
Documents obtained by Watchdog.org show that, in their 2009 analysis of the project, Virginia officials warned Gov. Tim Kaine about the project. Allowing GreenTech to proceed with EB-5 funding in that state “would cause some to conclude that the commonwealth knew, or should have known, that there were problems, but proceeded nonetheless.”
“EB-5 is good for funding certain kinds of projects, but it’s not appropriate for this type of large-scale, long-term funding,” said Michael Gibson, managing partner of U.S. Advisors, a Florida-based research and investment firm knowledgeable about the program.
McAuliffe, the company’s founder and chairman, announced in 2009 intentions to build “neighborhood electric vehicles” that are little bigger or faster than golf carts. The GTA website touts “Green Jobs Made in the USA,” but, in fact, few U.S. jobs and fewer cars have been created.
“This project is a fantasy. It’s really a very poorly conceived project for EB-5 financing, and extremely problematic,” Gibson told Watchdog.
Questions about the use of the EB-5 program also prompted The Truth About Cars to call into question GreenTech’s practices in August, 2011 which go beyond McAuliffe and into GreenTech CEO’s Charles Wang’s past in China:
The right man in the picture wanted to be Governor of Virginia. He still does. The left man wants to be a tycoon.
The man who leans over that sign somewhere in the godforsaken desert of Inner Mongolia, China, is Terence “Terry” McAuliffe. Yes, the very same Terry McAuliffe who was a Democratic National Committee head and a close Bill Clinton adviser who, according to a United States Senate document organized the famous coffees and sleepovers that saved Bill Clinton from electoral annihilation.
According to one source, “McAuliffe’s soft money strategy was responsible for President Clinton’s 1996 scandal concerning the Lincoln Bedroom sleepovers and the White House coffees, two tactics employed to solicit huge donations from wealthy friends and patrons of the Clintons.”
Putting the Lincoln Bedroom up for sale for $100,000 a night (on average) was only a minor scandal compared to what was called “Chinagate.”
Al Gore, friend and beneficiary of Buddhist monks, praised McAuliffe as ”the greatest fund-raiser in the history of the universe.” Coming from Gore, that’s the best endorsement one can get.
Yes, you are looking at THAT Terry McAuliffe.
Yes, it’s the same and he is back in China, and back in the fundraising business. This time, he promises to bring 300,000 cars to China. Made in America by Americans. Assembled in China. In that new factory which is going up behind the two gentlemen.
Wait, there is more. A lot more.
The company that will perform the economic miracle is GreenTech. The man to the left of McAuliffe is Charles Wang. Ring a bell?
Remember this story? Remember how Ed Niedermeyer wrote:
“Greentech Automotive is the hybrid vehicle firm founded by the former CEO of Brilliance with plans to build a plant in Mississippi with funds raised through the EB-5 visa program. Not to be confused with Hybrid Kinetic Motors, the hybrid vehicle firm founded by the former Chairman of Brilliance with plans to build a plant in Alabama with funds raised through the EB-5 visa program.”
Yes, one and the same.
The whole thing is worth a read. Every link is worth a click. The further down the rabbit hole you get with GreenTech, the worse the venture looks.
Ultimately, as the article says:
Allegedly, if someone invests $500,000 in an underprivileged part of America, green cards for the “investor” and the immediate family beckon. There are a lot of Chinese who paid much more to enter the U.S. illegally, so that’s considered a great deal. Some killjoys claim the investment must be “active” and the investor must be involved in managing the company. Minor detail.
In September of 2011, Automotive News wrote that “Terry McAuliffe’s grand hybrid vehicle plan just doesn’t add up”:
“The powertrains, batteries, will be made here and shipped” to China, McAuliffe said Aug. 8 on “The Daily Rundown,” a talk show on MSNBC.
But even casual scrutiny of his vision reveals overwhelming obstacles. Let’s be plain: His plan is dead on arrival.
He casts himself and his company as part of the solution for a country struggling with 9 percent unemployment, unsparing global competition and gridlocked politics.
But McAuliffe, a born promoter who set eye-popping records as the Democratic Party’s fund-raiser in chief, glosses over the sheer magnitude of the task.
To understand the challenge, take General Motors. It invested more than $1 billion in the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid and its technologies, which will be spread over other upcoming vehicles.
In recent years GM has added nearly 2,000 engineers to support its various hybrid and electric-vehicle technologies. And it has spent $700 million in Michigan alone to support vehicle electrification, including test facilities, a battery manufacturing lab and special equipment at its Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant.
And what does McAuliffe’s company, GreenTech Automotive, have? About 50 employees, says Alan Himelfarb, executive vice president for strategic planning. Not even 50 engineers. Fifty total employees.
What keeps the vision alive is McAuliffe’s audacity. With confidence and verve, he spells out his job-creating optimism on friendly national cable shows such as “The Daily Rundown” and “The Ed Show,” also on MSNBC.
The industry sees GreenTech as “dead on arrival.”
Virginia sees GreenTech as a potential “visa-for-sale scheme with potential national security implications” and that it “‘feels’ like a national political play instead of a Virginia economic development opportunity.”
Terry McAuliffe, a self proclaimed “hustler”, has a lot of explaining to do.