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McAuliffe feels heat over GreenTech resignation

By   /   April 8, 2013  /   1 Comment

Part 21 of 73 in the series Terry McAuliffe - Carmogul
IN OR OUT? Terry McAuliffe and the company he founded did not report that he stepped down as chairman ... until four months after the fact.

IN OR OUT? Terry McAuliffe and the company he founded did not report that he stepped down as chairman until four months after the fact.

By Kenric Ward | Watchdog.org Virginia Bureau

FREDERICKSBURG – In a quiet resignation that became public only Friday, GreenTech Automotive founder Terry McAuliffe stepped down as chairman more than four months ago.

Politico reported that McAuliffe’s resignation was accepted by president/CEO Charles Wang in a letter dated Dec. 1.

But the nascent electric-car company and McAuliffe, who is in the midst of his second bid for Virginia governor, kept the news to themselves until Friday.

The delay and the lack of corporate transparency drew criticism from a business ethicist, who said McAuliffe & Co. have more explaining to do.

As recently as last week, McAuliffe fielded reporters’ questions about GreenTech without mentioning he was no longer chairman.

GreenTech has yet to issue a press release about McAuliffe’s departure. Yet on Jan. 22, McAuliffe continued to claim a personal leadership role at GTA during a “Business Day at the Capitol” gathering in Richmond.

“I’m building electric cars now,” he told the forum, sponsored by the National Federation of Independent Business.

Watchdog.org reported Thursday that the McLean-based firm had scrubbed McAuliffe’s name and pictures from its website. He was not available at the headquarters when a Watchdog reporter went to GreenTech’s office last Tuesday. Neither he nor GreenTech executives responded to Watchdog’s repeated requests for interviews.

Speaking to reporters in Richmond last week about his business ventures, McAuliffe obliquely noted, “Some businesses work, some don’t.” He did not elaborate.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli’s campaign jumped on the news, saying McAuliffe’s move “devastated” the Democrat’s claim of being a successful entrepreneur and job creator.

“Terry McAuliffe’s walking away as chairman of GreenTech Auto undercuts what was supposed to be his chief qualification for office,” said Cuccinelli spokeswoman Anna Nix.

“His sudden and shady resignation exposes the fact that all the hype and fanfare was nothing more than smoke and mirrors for a business that has always been more about keeping McAuliffe in the headlines than creating jobs.”

McAuliffe communications director Brennan Bilberry told Politico that his boss’s resignation from GreenTech highlighted a commitment to the gubernatorial campaign.

“Unlike Ken Cuccinelli, who broke with Virginia tradition and continues to accept a full-time taxpayer salary for being a part-time attorney general, Terry has been focused on running for governor full-time as he travels around the commonwealth to hear the best mainstream ideas to grow Virginia’s economy,” Bilberry said.

Wang’s Dec. 1 letter was dated nine days before Watchdog.org began a series of investigative articles on the company, which plans to build a car-manufacturing plant in Mississippi.

David Brat, chairman of the business and economics department at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Va., told Watchdog that McAuliffe’s venture — and his quiet withdrawal — was “more about politics than business.”

In terms of economic justice, “The Democratic Party view is that business has a public commitment beyond profit maximization. So if they raise the ethical bar in this way, then McAuliffe should simply explain what ethics he follows and why his move makes sense within that system,” said Brat, who teaches economics and ethics.

“Crony capitalism must be out and trust must be in if one wants to maintain this more robust view of ethical business. It would be great to hear our political leaders lay out their ethical commitments in very clear terms. That has been missing on all sides.

“In terms of McAuliffe’s sin of omission, the basic little lesson that every student of business ethics remembers is — don’t do it if you don’t want it on the front page of the New York Times,” Brat concluded.

On Saturday, McAuliffe told the Richmond Times-Dispatch that he “told everyone who asked” about his status at GreenTech.

But McAuliffe appeared as “chairman of GreenTech Automotive” when he spoke at the Green Energy Business Seminar and Trade Show on Jan. 9 in Fairfax.

Kenric Ward is a national reporter for Watchdog.org and chief of the Virginia Bureau. Contact him at kenric@watchdogvirginia.org or at (571) 319-9824. @Kenricward

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Part of 73 in the series Terry McAuliffe - Carmogul
  1. VA: As he runs for governor, McAuliffe wheels and deals electric cars in Mississippi
  2. VA: Media echo Watchdog exclusive on McAuliffe’s electric car maneuvers
  3. No news here: PolitFact brands Terry McAuliffe’s electric-car claim ‘false’
  4. Experts question source of McAuliffe car-company funding
  5. Terry McAuliffe on business ventures: ‘Some work, some don’t’
  6. How McAuliffe’s car company failed the Virginia test, landed in Mississippi
  7. Virginia official wants probe of McAuliffe company ‘visa-for-sale’ program
  8. McAuliffe car company sues Watchdog in libel claim
  9. Barack Obama’s GreenTech connection: Rick Wade
  10. Silence, secrecy, cops follow GreenTech’s China deal
  11. McAuliffe hones China’s crony-capitalism model in U.S.
  12. Promises keep Tunica County afloat
  13. McAuliffe company’s China hook-up: Will it work?
  14. McAuliffe car lags in Domino’s delivery
  15. McAuliffe car co. parent in off-shore tax shelter
  16. Lawmaker gives feds one more week for EB-5 answers
  17. Bolling: McAuliffe’s Mississippi package ‘attractive’
  18. Inside, execs knew McAuliffe plan had ‘substantial risk’
  19. Union darling McAuliffe and his non-union car company
  20. Did Clinton aid the birth of ‘McAuliffe’ car company?
  21. McAuliffe feels heat over GreenTech resignation
  22. TV report: One year later, ‘party is over’ at GreenTech
  23. Months after he said he left company, McAuliffe kept talking GreenTech
  24. Clinton connection: More money for McAuliffe
  25. Terry McAuliffe used loophole to avoid key SEC oversight of his car company
  26. VA officials: McAuliffe green car more politics than biz
  27. McAuliffe car company announces it’s ready to roll — again
  28. Before Watchdog, McAuliffe blamed federal officials for money trouble
  29. McAuliffe gets cash from GreenTech exec, board members
  30. Watchdog report on McAuliffe spurs FOI request to Homeland Security
  31. McAuliffe leaves GreenTech questions hanging at debate
  32. Totally wired: McAuliffe went to Napolitano to expedite company funding
  33. McAuliffe bragged about GreenTech’s cash position while begging feds for faster processing of ‘cash for visas’
  34. Investigation targets Homeland official’s relationship to McAuliffe company
  35. Even before news of federal probe, McAuliffe ducked GreenTech questions
  36. McAuliffe company pressed Homeland official on 81 investor visas
  37. Rodham company sought visa for controversial Chinese exec
  38. Immigration official says he met with McAuliffe to discuss visas for foreign investors
  39. Whiners: Mayorkas says Gulf Coast ‘continues to complain’
  40. VIDEO: Ex-GreenTech employee says little happened at Horn Lake plant
  41. Online ad to Terry McAuliffe: Drop your lawsuit
  42. National security on ‘hold’: Lawmakers press McAuliffe for answers
  43. Citizens United documentary film delves into McAuliffe, GreenTech
  44. VIDEO: Terry McAuliffe’s 15 million-square-foot car plant … in China
  45. Feds call McAuliffe car company’s use of investment program ‘possible fraud’
  46. GreenTech courted Obama’s Solyndra aide
  47. GOP legislators call for McAuliffe to answer GreenTech questions
  48. McAuliffe ‘desperate’ over documentary, Citizens United says
  49. GreenTech weighed Fisker-style federal loan
  50. Group tells Terry: Follow ‘McAuliffe Standard’ on disclosure
  51. Car and Driver races into GreenTech controversy
  52. Congressman: McAuliffe owes Virginians explanation about White House meeting
  53. Feds loosen oversight as McAuliffe car company makes mysterious management change
  54. GreenTech execs use Times and ABC to throw McAuliffe under the (non-electric) bus
  55. Aide in union contribution swap hosts California fund-raiser for McAuliffe
  56. Despite denials, docs show McAuliffe company asked feds to fast-track visa for investor tied to spy list
  57. Former Democrat Party director was on GreenTech payroll
  58. More bad news for McAuliffe car company as GreenTech China venture stalls
  59. Clinton Foundation posts deficits on McAuliffe’s watch
  60. VIDEO: GreenTech record dogs McAuliffe at energy forum
  61. Auto industry expert labels McAuliffe electric car ‘preposterous’
  62. Democratic leaders have their own Bain pain in Mideast private equity deal
  63. Hillary PAC adviser served as GreenTech spokeswoman
  64. New emails add evidence McAuliffe pressed U.S. officials to approve GreenTech funding
  65. After endorsement, Post shrinks facts to cover Terry McAuliffe
  66. Ties that bind: Following the McAuliffe-Clinton money trail
  67. McAuliffe tilts at windmills; Chinese venture goes bust
  68. Federal investigations cast shadow over McAuliffe on Election Day
  69. DHS inspector over GreenTech-McAuliffe case is under investigation
  70. McAuliffe names former GreenTech employee secretary of commonwealth
  71. McAuliffe lawyers, accountants sort GreenTech stock amid federal investigations
  72. Nuking filibusters, Dems clear way for Mayorkas at Homeland Security
  73. U.S. judge hands Watchdog a victory over VA governor’s green-car company

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Kenric Ward is a veteran journalist who has worked on three Pulitzer Prize-winning newspapers. A California native, he received a BA from UCLA (Political Science/Phi Beta Kappa) and holds an MBA. He reported and edited at the San Jose Mercury News and the Las Vegas Sun before joining Watchdog.org in 2012 as Virginia Bureau Chief.

  • http://twitter.com/EllieNoVATea Ellie Lockwood

    Brennan Bilberry is smoking something LOL. Terry always says, “I’ve got to have 25 balls in the air at all times.” Surely he’d have had no trouble with just two!

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