I have to admit, I was more than a little surprised when GreenTech Automotive, the ‘green’ car manufacturing company founded by Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe, filed an $85 million lawsuit against the Franklin Center, alleging “defamation.”
Since 2009, McAuliffe has been touting the green energy car company he helped launch and chaired. The Virginia Bureau of Watchdog.org, a project of the Franklin Center, uncovered realties that challenged the company’s fundraising methods, employment and car manufacturing projections, and statements made by McAuliffe during his bid for governor that were simply not true.
McAuliffe’s and GTA’s shortcomings have awakened our colleagues in the press and captured the attention of a public hungry for the truth.
Mr. McAuliffe portrays himself to Old Dominion voters as a successful businessman and job creator. But McAuliffe’s claims that thousands of “American jobs” would be created and hundreds of thousands of cars would be assembled have not become a reality. Adding to the controversy is an array of false statements made by the veteran political operative.
When GTA opened its assembly plant in Mississippi instead of Virginia, McAuliffe claimed Virginia officials “decided they didn’t want to bid on it.” Media scrutiny revealed that GTA never responded to numerous questions raised by then-governor Tim Kaine’s (D) administration. Republican Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi offered GTA a multimillion-dollar incentive package and in exchange got the plant–minus the thousands of pledged jobs.
As this story unfolded, GTA disclosed on April 5 that McAuliffe resigned from GTA in December of 2012. GreenTech never issued a press release about the departure and McAuliffe continued to publicly represent himself as a carmaker, telling a National Federation of Independent Business audience in late-January, “I’m building electric cars now.”
No, he wasn’t
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