America Rising has obtained correspondence between the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe’s electric car company GreenTech Automotive.
The emails, obtained through a Virginia Freedom of Information Act request, provide new details regarding GreenTech’s decision to build the company’s plant in Mississippi rather than in Virginia where McAuliffe had promised voters 1,500 jobs.
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The emails provide further evidence that McAuliffe was not being truthful when he told reporters that VEDP had made it clear to him it had no interest in working with GreenTech.
GreenTech was provided with what the VEDP believed would be the five best locations for the company to build a plant in Virginia, the documents show.
These VEDP recommendations were made after GreenTech had already decided to build its plant in Mississippi. But GreenTech officials still went though with the visits to the recommended sites.
GreenTech also contacted the VEDP following the visits to tell it that a "#1 Site Preference" for its Virginia project had been chosen and that GreenTech looked "forward to continuing our work with all of you on the project."
Shortly after McAuliffe made his remarks in December, deputy campaign manager Hugh Keogh attempted to set up a meeting for McAuliffe with VEDP officials so that McAuliffe could say, "I’ve met with the leadership of VEDP" and "What occurred 3 years ago is water under the bridge."
The emails also confirm VEDP was highly skeptical of whether GreenTech was a legitimate business.
VEDP’s Director of International Trade and Investment Paul Grossman wrote on September 11, 2009, that he had "great doubts" that the project was legitimate, but was responding due to the involvement of political figures.
"I called you a few minutes ago to discuss the Greentech project. In short, it involves Terry [McAuliffe], Bill Clinton and of course Gov. Kaine. We have great doubts that it is a legitimate project, but because of the players involved are being responsive," Grossman wrote in an internal VEDP email.
The skepticism was rooted in doubts about the use of the EB-5 program, which VEDP officials labeled as a "visa-for-sale scheme."
One official wrote that he wanted the administration to do away with the EB-5 program altogether.
"Guess it’s too much to hope Obama will kill it. Too many special interests," wrote Robert McClintock, VEDP’s vice president of research.
Officials were concerned that doing business with GreenTech could eventually "give the Commonwealth a black eye."
The VEDP also was suspicious that the company would be a dud. Upon a review of GreenTech’s business plan, officials believed that the company's projected sales were unrealistic.
Among the many reasons cited were that the company had "no demonstrated automotive industry experience within the executive management team."
McAuliffe resigned from GreenTech in December of last year and kept the resignation secret for months, until it became clear the company was becoming a major problem for his campaign.