By Tori Richards | Watchdog.org
At a time when attorneys representing GreenTech Automotive said the green car firm was in financial trouble, company chairman Terry McAuliffe was running for governor – and telling a reporter his business was flush with cash.
“We are in great shape financially. I’m a big believer in get your money up front,” he said during a September 2011 interview with Politics Matters, a Virginia PBS news program. “It’s not hard if you have a new idea… I could’ve raised a lot more money if I needed it.
News today that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Alejandro Mayorkas is the target of a DHS Inspector General’s Office probe came after Watchdog revelations that company executives repeatedly pressed Mayorkas for speedy approvals of Chinese investments under a federal “cash-for-visas” program, called EB-5. In one instance, McAuliffe appealed directly to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano for special treatment to secure GreenTech’s funding.
But publicly McAuliffe told a different story.
“Now we are in good shape and you have probably read the reports. We’ve sold our first year of production of these electric vehicles to country of Denmark. Signed contract. Now we’re making them and we’ve sold them. It’s a great American success story and I’m just so proud of my workers working day in and day out to make this vision come true,” McAuliffe said.
GreenTech was incorporated in Virginia in 2010 and initially proposed 2,000 new jobs to help manufacture 3,000 cars by the end of 2011. Virginia government officials nixed the idea of a plant there, saying its funding through a controversial federal program didn’t appear secure and seemed like a “visa-for-sale scheme.” McAuliffe ultimately located the plant in Mississippi and has yet to construct the building that will be its permanent home.
In a series of emails obtained by Watchdog, GreenTech officials pleaded with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for speedy action on the company’s
applications to the federal EB-5 visa program.
“The investors are upset and threatening to withdraw their investments,” GreenTech attorney Dawn Lurie wrote to USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas on June 28, 2011. “Reputation is critical in this industry and our branding is being hurt.”
A week later Lurie followed with another email warning of unhappy investors threatening a lawsuit.
The email apparently had little effect: a year and a half later a second attorney had the same message for Mayorkas. This time her words were more direct.
“This delay is having a detrimental impact on the ongoing operations of GreenTech Automotive and GTA’s ability to create and maintain American jobs,” Simone Williams wrote on Jan. 23, 2013.
And in between the lengthy time span of these emails, McAliffe was proclaiming that all was well.
“Those first cars will roll out of there in Oct. 30 of this year and we just broke ground on a huge permanent facility in Mississippi,” he said in the 2011 telecast.
But now, in 2013, no building permits have been pulled on that new site and only a few prototypes of the car have been produced. No evidence could be found of cars rolling off an assembly line from a temporary GreenTech manufacturing plant, heading for Denmark or anywhere else.
“This delay is threatening the ongoing operations of GTA because GTA relies on EB-5 investors as a key source of funding,” Williams stressed in her email. “EB-5 funding to GTA is now at a virtual standstill…without such funds GTA’s car manufacturing operations and creation of U.S. jobs is in serious jeopardy.”
Contact Tori Richards at email@example.com or on twitter @newswriter2
- VA: As he runs for governor, McAuliffe wheels and deals electric cars in Mississippi
- VA: Media echo Watchdog exclusive on McAuliffe’s electric car maneuvers
- No news here: PolitFact brands Terry McAuliffe’s electric-car claim ‘false’
- Experts question source of McAuliffe car-company funding
- Terry McAuliffe on business ventures: ‘Some work, some don’t’
- How McAuliffe’s car company failed the Virginia test, landed in Mississippi
- Virginia official wants probe of McAuliffe company ‘visa-for-sale’ program
- McAuliffe car company sues Watchdog in libel claim
- Barack Obama’s GreenTech connection: Rick Wade
- Silence, secrecy, cops follow GreenTech’s China deal
- McAuliffe hones China’s crony-capitalism model in U.S.
- Promises keep Tunica County afloat
- McAuliffe company’s China hook-up: Will it work?
- McAuliffe car lags in Domino’s delivery
- McAuliffe car co. parent in off-shore tax shelter
- Lawmaker gives feds one more week for EB-5 answers
- Bolling: McAuliffe’s Mississippi package ‘attractive’
- Inside, execs knew McAuliffe plan had ‘substantial risk’
- Union darling McAuliffe and his non-union car company
- Did Clinton aid the birth of ‘McAuliffe’ car company?
- McAuliffe feels heat over GreenTech resignation
- TV report: One year later, ‘party is over’ at GreenTech
- Months after he said he left company, McAuliffe kept talking GreenTech
- Clinton connection: More money for McAuliffe
- Terry McAuliffe used loophole to avoid key SEC oversight of his car company
- VA officials: McAuliffe green car more politics than biz
- McAuliffe car company announces it’s ready to roll — again
- Before Watchdog, McAuliffe blamed federal officials for money trouble
- McAuliffe gets cash from GreenTech exec, board members
- Watchdog report on McAuliffe spurs FOI request to Homeland Security
- McAuliffe leaves GreenTech questions hanging at debate
- Totally wired: McAuliffe went to Napolitano to expedite company funding
- McAuliffe bragged about GreenTech’s cash position while begging feds for faster processing of ‘cash for visas’
- Investigation targets Homeland official’s relationship to McAuliffe company
- Even before news of federal probe, McAuliffe ducked GreenTech questions
- McAuliffe company pressed Homeland official on 81 investor visas
- Rodham company sought visa for controversial Chinese exec
- Immigration official says he met with McAuliffe to discuss visas for foreign investors
- Whiners: Mayorkas says Gulf Coast ‘continues to complain’
- VIDEO: Ex-GreenTech employee says little happened at Horn Lake plant
- Online ad to Terry McAuliffe: Drop your lawsuit
- National security on ‘hold’: Lawmakers press McAuliffe for answers
- Citizens United documentary film delves into McAuliffe, GreenTech
- VIDEO: Terry McAuliffe’s 15 million-square-foot car plant … in China
- Feds call McAuliffe car company’s use of investment program ‘possible fraud’
- GreenTech courted Obama’s Solyndra aide
- GOP legislators call for McAuliffe to answer GreenTech questions
- McAuliffe ‘desperate’ over documentary, Citizens United says
- GreenTech weighed Fisker-style federal loan
- Group tells Terry: Follow ‘McAuliffe Standard’ on disclosure
- Car and Driver races into GreenTech controversy
- Congressman: McAuliffe owes Virginians explanation about White House meeting
- Feds loosen oversight as McAuliffe car company makes mysterious management change
- GreenTech execs use Times and ABC to throw McAuliffe under the (non-electric) bus
- Aide in union contribution swap hosts California fund-raiser for McAuliffe
- Despite denials, docs show McAuliffe company asked feds to fast-track visa for investor tied to spy list
- Former Democrat Party director was on GreenTech payroll
- More bad news for McAuliffe car company as GreenTech China venture stalls
- Clinton Foundation posts deficits on McAuliffe’s watch
- VIDEO: GreenTech record dogs McAuliffe at energy forum
- Auto industry expert labels McAuliffe electric car ‘preposterous’
- Democratic leaders have their own Bain pain in Mideast private equity deal
- Hillary PAC adviser served as GreenTech spokeswoman
- New emails add evidence McAuliffe pressed U.S. officials to approve GreenTech funding
- After endorsement, Post shrinks facts to cover Terry McAuliffe
- Ties that bind: Following the McAuliffe-Clinton money trail
- McAuliffe tilts at windmills; Chinese venture goes bust
- Federal investigations cast shadow over McAuliffe on Election Day
- DHS inspector over GreenTech-McAuliffe case is under investigation
- McAuliffe names former GreenTech employee secretary of commonwealth
- McAuliffe lawyers, accountants sort GreenTech stock amid federal investigations
- Nuking filibusters, Dems clear way for Mayorkas at Homeland Security