The Macker -- deal maker, not a car maker (or even a job creator)
With the embarrassment the three "er"s -- Switzer, Wiener, and Filner -- have created for the Democratic Party, one would think they would want to steer clear of scandal-ridden candidates. But -- no. Terry McAuliffe is hoping to become the governor of Virginia when voters go to the polls next month. Among his friends, McAuliffe is known as The Macker -- which is a play on the Yiddish "Macher," meaning: "Big shot. A man who is (or thinks he is) really important. Usually refers to someone who is showing off in some way."
I don't cover campaigns. I write on energy issues. So, why am I writing about McAuliffe? Because, when I met him at the Democratic Convention a year ago, my friend told him that I write on energy issues -- specifically green-energy, crony-corruption. The Macker moved in, posed for a picture with me, and told me that I'd like his new green car project because it was being fully funded through private money. I looked askance at him, and told him that if that was really true, I'd be interested in hearing about it. He assured me it was -- and quickly slipped off to someone more receptive.
Government funding and favors
Apparently the "private money" was pure politicking. The Macker's MyCar -- a "neighborhood electric vehicle" with a 25-mile range and a top speed of 35 mph that Car and Driver reported: "isn't a real car" -- may have private funding that's scandalously acquired, but it also depends on millions in government assistance, tax exceptions, and rebates. The Washington Post says McAuliffe's GreenTech Automotive "fits into a pattern of investments in which McAuliffe has used government programs, political connections and access to wealthy investors of both parties in pursuit of big profits for himself."
A March 21 60-plus page "Confidential Private Placement Memorandum" document designed to solicit investors, states: GreenTech "will enjoy billions in government subsidies and tax credits."
To build the MyCar, The Macker scored loans and land donations from the state of Mississippi. Tunica County's economic development foundation donated 100 acres at a cost of $1.8 million and, in 2011, the state gave a $3 million loan toward site preparation. Where did the poorest state find this kind of cash to build cars? While we don't have records verifying the source, we do know that the Mississippi Development Authority's Energy Division received approximately $40 million from the 2009 stimulus bill that was designated for "stimulating the creation or increased retention of jobs" and "reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions." GreenTech's MyCar would fit the requirements.
Perhaps when Terry told me his car was being built with all private money, he was just showing off. Must be the same for the jobs he said GreenTech would create--after all he is running for governor with this slogan: "McAuliffe for Governor: Putting Jobs First."
As Christine Lakatos, my partner in the "Green-Energy, Crony-Corruption Scandal" that we've been reporting on for nearly 16 months, and I have found, all of these stories have several things in common:
• Government funding and favors;
• Inflated expectations of jobs created that never materialize; and
• Friends in high places.
Lakatos has a full report on McAuliffe and GreenTech available in her Green Corruption Files that covers far more than I have space to address. She summarizes: "He promised hope, hundreds of thousands of green cars and thousands of green jobs –– all made in America."
Inflated expectations of jobs created
McAuliffe has quoted many impressive figures touting GreenTech's job creation potential. On October 6, 2009, in the Memphis Business Journal, he promised 1500 jobs by 2011. Less than a year later, he announced his intent is to eventually create 4,500 new jobs for the electric auto-manufacturing firm. Memphis-based Action News 5 quoted GreenTech's Vice President Marianne McInerney as saying they "would create 350 jobs by the end of 2014 and those are direct jobs." The New York Times, on July 6, 2012, reported: "Mr. McAuliffe said the venture would employ 900 workers in Mississippi by the end of the year, as well as create many jobs indirectly."
HR Professionals Magazine points to 67 GreenTech employees in Mississippi in July 2012 and the New York Times, August 9, claims 80. Hardly the thousands promised.
Friends in high places
How has McAuliffe managed to pull this off? No surprise, he has friends in high places -- most notably the Clintons. Former President Bill Clinton appeared at a GreenTech launch party; McAuliffe was chairman of Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential run (reports claim that if you support Hillary, you'll donate to McAuliffe); her brother, Anthony Rodham, is responsible for fundraising for GreenTech (a scandal unto itself that I've not touched--but Lakatos has); Levar Stone, former director of the Virginia Democratic Party, served as GreenTech's director of public and government affairs; Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) has been pushing GreenTech's interests; and Rick C. Wade, who has served in the Obama White House, joined GreenTech in 2011.
You'd think with all the connections, The Macker could at least produce the MyCar. But, as Action News 5 found: "Investigators have uncovered no evidence of any major car production."
What does McAuliffe do well? He's a deal maker -- not a car maker. He's a big shot. He's been showing off in his election bid -- claiming to be a job creator when he's really been selling green cards (the scandalous funding), not green cars. It is a big green scam.
The author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens' Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE).