By Kenric Ward | Watchdog.org Virginia Bureau
RICHMOND, Va. — Gov.-elect Terry McAuliffe pledges to run a “transparent” administration. As Inauguration Day approaches, his holdings in an electric car startup and its related companies are less clear.
To avoid potential conflicts of interest, the Democrat pledged to put his investments into a blind trust, or to liquidate them. In the case of stock in Virginia-based GreenTech Automotive, McAuliffe, the electric-car company’s former chairman, said through a spokeswoman last month that he will divest his shares.
On Wednesday, McAuliffe confirmed that his “lawyers and accountants are working on” the blind trust and were “in the process” of liquidating holdings that could present a conflict of interest. He did not respond to Watchdog’s question about the value of his GreenTech holdings.
A company prospectus in March listed McAuliffe as the “largest individual shareholder.” The Washington Post reported that McAuliffe owns “more than $250,000 in GreenTech stock.” The stock is not publicly traded, and the share value is unknown.
According to the prospectus, “federal and state law requires that (as governor) he resign all positions with GTA and appoint a representative to vote his shares of GTA’s parent,” WM GreenTech Automotive Corp.
Watchdog reported last April that McAuliffe also held a stake in another GTA parent company, Capital Wealth Holdings, based in the British Virgin Islands.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission currently is investigating GreenTech’s use of the federal EB-5 visa-investor program, which raises funds from foreign nationals in exchange for U.S. green cards.
The March prospectus stated that the company had received about $46 million from EB-5 investors, with a goal of raising $60 million.
The Department of Homeland Security’s Office of the Inspector General is investigating the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and its director, Alejandro Mayorkas, over their handling of the EB-5 program.
Watchdog reported in July that McAuliffe used his political connections to prod USCIS to expedite EB-5 approvals.
In April, GreenTech sued Watchdog.org for $85 million, alleging that its reporting defamed the company and damaged investor relations. McAuliffe was not named in the case.
Three days before GreenTech filed that suit in a Mississippi court, company CEO Charles Wang announced that McAuliffe had stepped down as chairman — four months earlier.
Kenric Ward is chief of Watchdog’s Virginia Bureau. Contact him at email@example.com or at (571) 319-9824. @Kenricward
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