An electric car company founded by Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) failed to deliver on its economic promises and should repay nearly $6.4 million to the state of Mississippi, that state’s auditor said in a report issued Thursday.
The GreenTech manufacturing facility, announced with great fanfare in 2009 after McAuliffe fell short in an earlier bid to be Virginia’s governor, never lived up to the promises it made as a condition of receiving public funding, said Mississippi State Auditor Stacey Pickering.
Pickering, a Republican, said last week that the company should repay money to the state and issued the report Thursday to back that up. His demand was first reported by the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
In Thursday’s report, Pickering said the company missed a number of targets. It defaulted on its loan agreement, making only one payment, and invested $43 million after promising to invest $60 million. The auditor said he determined that the electric car plant, built in one of the poorest counties in Mississippi, at its peak created 94 new, active, full-time jobs — but had promised to create 350.
And the report said that GreenTech didn’t submit proper data that would allow the state to determine whether it lived up to a promise of providing an average salary of $35,000.
Pickering said the company was required to provide that and other documentation under its agreement with the state of Mississippi, but that GreenTech refused to do so. The state had to obtain a subpoena to get its documentation.
McAuliffe once touted the company as evidence of his entrepreneurial skill. He courted investors in China, using a special immigrant visa program. But McAuliffe left the company late in 2012 to make his successful run for governor.
A spokesman said Thursday that McAuliffe “has not had any affiliation with GreenTech since before he was elected. He’s been focused on running the Commonwealth and creating economic opportunity for the people of Virginia. He doesn’t have any knowledge or comment about the company’s issues in Mississippi.”
GreenTech moved its headquarters last year to Sterling, Va., and did not immediately respond to email and phone messages.