Cronyism Continues in Terry McAuliffe’s Virginia

Former GreenTech Fundraising exec put in charge of Virginia Lottery

Va. Gov. Terry McAuliffe / Twitter

Virginia Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe has appointed the director of fundraising for GreenTech Automotive to be deputy chief of the Virginia Lottery, despite the company currently being the target of multiple federal investigations.

Randy Wright, a longtime political supporter of McAuliffe, will receive a state salary of  $115,000 in his new role according to Watchdog.org.

Wright, an 18-year Norfolk, Va., city councilman, served a central role in the controversial GreenTech Automotive use of the EB-5 visa program, which allowed foreign investors to receive visas in exchange for investment in the company, according to Watchdog.org.

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As a director at Gulf Coast Funds Management, Wright helps oversee investments in GreenTech. Under the federal EB-5 program, USCIS issues green cards to qualified foreign investors.

Based on figures in an email by then-Gulf Coast general counsel Simone Williams, GCFM raised at least $46 million for GreenTech by early last year.

Virginia officials working with GCFM and GreenTech feared that the companies were part of a "visa-for-sale scheme" and feared that doing business with them would eventually "give the Commonwealth a black eye."

The companies also came under a Department of Homeland Security investigation for directly lobbying officials to win approval for EB-5 applicants that were held up for "fraud/national security" concerns.

The appointment comes as no surprise to those that have continued to keep an eye on McAuliffe during his governorship. McAuliffe has already appointed a former GreenTech executive to be secretary of the commonwealth, and a target of U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to be his commerce secretary.