By on August 3, 2013

NBC12.com – Richmond, VA News

Electric car startup GreenTech Automotive, which set up a factory in Horn Lake, Mississippi to manufacturer their low speed neighborhood EV called MyCar, is being investigated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for the way it solicited foreign investors. GreenTech Automotive was co-founded by Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe, who is a former chairman of the Democratic National Committee. McAuliffe resigned as chairman of GreenTech in late 2012 when he started his campaign.

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According to the Washington Post, the SEC subpoenaed documents relating to GreenTech and Gulf Coast Funds Management, a sister company that shares a McLean, Virginia address with GreenTech. Gulf Coast Funds is run by Anthony Rodham, whose sister, is former U.S. senator and secretary of state, Hillary Rodham Clinton. The Commission is looking into allegations that the company guaranteed returns to foreign investors that GreenTech sought out by using the federal EB-5 program that will grant foreigners visas to the United States if they invest half a million dollars or more to create jobs in this country. GreenTech has a strategic partnership with China’s JAC Motors.

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SEC officials declined comment and a spokesman for McAuliffe’s campaign said he “has no knowledge of any investigation.” GreenTech and Gulf Coast representatives confirmed the subpoenas and said the companies would cooperate with the SEC investigation. The investigation came to light when internal Department of Homeland Security documents and emails were obtained by Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), a critic of the EB-5 visas. Some of the documents raised the possibility of “fraud”.

McAuliffe originally said he would build a factory “right in the heart of Virginia,” but after getting incentives from state and local governments in Mississippi, GreenTech located their factory in Horn Lake. Republican Gov. Haley Barbour attended the July 2012 ribbon cutting ceremony, along with McAuliffe’s close friend, former president Bill Clinton.

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When he was still with the company, McAuliffe said last that GreenTech could build 10,000 cars in 2013 and that the factory would be hundreds of people at their Mississippi factory. Actual production has been much smaller, as has hiring. GreenTech won’t release any production figures but Autoblog reported that 2012 production would be closer to 1% of that figure vehicles, 110 vehicles earmarked for Denmark.

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One former employee at the Horn Lake plant told the NBC affiliate in Richmond, Virginia that it was all for show. “They would take everybody and put them out on the line and we would stand over the car with tools in our hand and look like we were doing something to the car, but we wasn’t doing anything.” A company spokesman denied that and described the activities there as “a training build”. A neighbor recently said that the plant is quiet and that nobody he knew who applied there had gotten jobs.

Memphis, Tennessee’s WMC-TV Action News 5 (auto start video) says they’ve found no evidence of significant car production at the Mississippi facility. GreenTech allowed WMC-TV cameras in the factory but wouldn’t let them close to the production line.

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26 Comments on “Politically Connected EV Startup GreenTech Automotive Subject of SEC Investigation...”


  • avatar
    Syke

    Those of you who don’t live in Virginia, be grateful. Usually an election is characterized as “voting for the lesser of two evils”.

    This year, there is no “lesser”.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      Ken Cuccinelli helps veterans and defends Virginians’ property rights from the EPA. Evil guy.

      • 0 avatar
        J.Emerson

        When he’s not busy trying to ruin the lives of scientists that say things he doesn’t like, or shoving his hand down the pants of pretty much everybody in Virginia, I’m sure he does a few nice things here and there.

        I won’t even get into the gift-giving hoopla, as he and McAuliffe are probably about on even ground when it comes to that.

        • 0 avatar
          Summicron

          ++ Attaboy!

          Down with Cuccinelli!

          Keep your laws off our brown wieners!

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I propose a radical solution. Give the voters a choice of all candidates and at the bottom add a “fishbowl” option. Before the election chose one registered voter from every region/precient (or whatever) at random and put their names into a fishbowl. If “fishbowl” wins the election, ask the State Supreme Court’s leading justice to pick a name from the fishbowl, and that person wins. I would add the fishbowl candidate is not officially allowed to declare a party membership for the first term, and must remain a political independent (if only in name).

        • 0 avatar
          50merc

          I knew nothing about Cuccinelli so had to resort to Wikipedia and WaPo articles to decode your references to “ruin the lives of scientists” and “shoving his hand down the pants”. Essentially, it’s about Cuccinelli opposing the EPA global warming agenda and taking positions on the morality of homosexuality consistent with the Roman Catholic church. I can see why the so-called progressives don’t like him.

      • 0 avatar
        el scotto

        CJinSD here’s the current round of sleaze: McAuliffe is accused of promising Va jobs and then opening a plant in China. Cuccinelli is against the violence against women’s act and anti-abortion for any reason. Or so the ads say. What’s a person to do while drinking their morning coffee and getting the weather forecast.

    • 0 avatar
      NN

      another VA voter here, sharing the sentiment. I believe Bill Bolling was thinking of running independently awhile back, he would have been a better choice, but he pulled back. Unfortunately McAuliffe and Cucinelli have all the money and a 3rd candidate will probably have no shot with the masses

  • avatar
    vent-L-8

    As a Virginia voter I am profoundly unimpressed by the 2 main candidates this year. It is difficult to imagine a worse choice. Perhaps this finally will bring people to the libertarian or some other 3rd party.

    • 0 avatar
      cdotson

      Another Virginia voter here echoing the general malaise inspired by the predominant parties.

      Robert Sarvis is the name of the libertarian candidate for governor. There was an editorial in the Times-Dispatch about him some time ago (available online at reason.com) for those who are interested in an alternative.

      For what it’s worth, Cuccinelli appears to be mildly shamed he was caught with his hand in the cookie jar and “apologized.” McAuliffe is more of a “what, me worry?” kind of guy who seems thoroughly more oriented to personal interests at the detriment of constituents. On that note, if he follows the pattern of his protege a McAuliffe governorship would be a string of scandals and ineptitude incapable of mustering political will to accomplish anything resulting in generally better times than an administration conspiring to trample the rights of citizens. Some choice.

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      The Richmond Times-Dispatch, normally a fairly conservative newspaper, is starting to get awful strident about demanding that the Libertarian candidate be allowed into all the upcoming debates. This is a first for the paper, at least in the fifteen years I’ve been living down here.

      This should tell you something.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Good reporting TTAC Staff.

    McAuliffe, Anthony Rodham, Clintons, China, EB-5 visa abuse, and my favorite the “world in their hands” logo. Something’s fishy here, follow the money SEC. Whole thing sounds like a scam.

    McAuliffe and his ilk are a cancer on society…

  • avatar
    April

    Democrats and Republicans all give sweetheart deals (tax abatement and other cooperate welfare) to lure manufactures and big business plays every state off each other. And I’m sure every foreign car transplant have taken advantage of those.

    In other words I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling (and political games) is going on in here!

  • avatar
    chuckrs

    Global Crossings didn’t backfire on McAuliffe. I’ll bet Greentech won’t either. At some point you need to toss the rascals out, even if you are just tossing a new set of rascals in.

  • avatar
    jacob_coulter

    I’m starting to see a pattern here. It’s almost as if “green industry” is just a con to line the pockets of the politically connected.

    But I’m sure it’s all worth it, because companies like Greentech and Solyndra are truly saving the planet.

  • avatar
    shaker

    I think that people (especially the younger generation) want “green” technology.

    But the stench of political corruption always “follows the money”; they poison the very thing they seem to support.

    Keep in mind that plenty of corruption/government handouts already exist in the fossil fuel industry as well, with other unpleasant byproducts as a “bonus”.

    NEXT GENERATION: Time to clean house.

  • avatar

    I just want to know why anyone would think the public would want a car looking like that.

    And with a top speed of, what was it, 25mph?

    McAuliffe drives an Escalade, doesn’t he?

    Some Green hero.

    D

    • 0 avatar
      jpolicke

      +1

      Just one look at that thing should be enough to tell you they will never sell enough to keep the lights on. The photo with the guy sitting in it is truly ludicrous, like somebody cramming themselves into their kid’s Little Tikes Cozy Coupe.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    To me it looks like a glorified golf cart. You can bet government funding was used to line the pockets of the executives. This is chicanery and venality at it’s worst.

  • avatar
    AMC_CJ

    The last VA Governors race I went to the Jefferson-Jackson dinner. It’s one on those $10,000 a table fund raiser things. The Democrat runners where there, along with Bill Clinton headlining the event.

    Between the things I saw that night, and an event at the Nation’s capital sponsored by Pelosi and filled with the aides of the likes of Hillary Clinton and other “young progressives” putting on the event…..

    But I got to talk to McAuliffe for a minute that night. Wow, what a sleazeball. That’s all I got to say. On another note, my wife was approached by Cuccinelli at a local event and had nothing but nice things to say about the experience. Personally, after what I saw behind closed doors back in my college days, if you work hard, make a decent income and comfortable life for yourself, you should be VERY afraid of whose calling the shots right now and the people that surround them……

  • avatar
    jpolicke

    Add to this the news that BHO’s chosen #2 official at DHS (and friend of Bill’s wife’s brother) is being investigated by the DHS IG for allegations of neglecting security concerns found in suspect visa applications from China. This is about a lot more than bogus green jobs, it’s about some Democrat insiders gaming the EB-5 visa system. The SEC is unlikely to gather many serious complaints from investors; as long as they have their visas they got what they were paying for. The Chinese aren’t stupid; they know that these PowerWheels toys aren’t going to sell here.
    Sorry for the people of Mississippi who got duped into laying out incentives for this ‘startup’. Apropos to the above story about VW, maybe some of these states throwing offers to anyone who shows up talking job creation should do a little due diligence on their own.

  • avatar
    99GT4.6

    It really bothers me that crap like this even gets funding at all. And I don’t mean the scam they were running. Neighbourhood EV’s are an utter waste of money and should not be given government grants. The fact is the public will never buy a glorified golf cart that can’t go over 35 mph. It’s not worth propping up a product that will never be successful and nobody wants.

  • avatar
    ArBee

    Writing as a lifelong Virginian who has voted since 1971, let me say that this is the worst palette of candidates I have even seen put before the public, in any election, at any level. No matter who wins, John Q will lose. I’ve never stayed home on election day before, but this year may be a first for me.


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