GreenTech Automotive is in trouble.
The electric car company tied to Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe recently laid off employees at its Tunica County, Miss., location, despite getting generous subsidies.
“They have laid off 20 people and only have about 50 working,” Lyn Arnold, president of Tunica County’s Chamber of Commerce, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “They haven’t yet met their jobs or investment targets. They’re struggling, but they’re still there.”
McAuliffe’s office did not respond to repeated requests for comment by The Daily Caller News Foundation.
GreenTech presently owes Mississippi $2.85 million and has been accused of trying to raise money by effectively selling U.S. residency to Chinese citizens who invested $500,000 in the company, according to the Memphis Daily News. GreenTech declined to return requests for comment to the Memphis Daily News.
Both the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of Government Ethics have refused to fully pursue an ethics investigation against either Tony Rodham, former Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s brother, or McAuliffe for potentially illegally fast-tracking the company’s visa applications.
The company is apparently largely funded by the controversial EB-5 investment-for-visa program, in which wealthy overseas donors invest between $500,000 and $1 million to create a certain number of jobs in an economically depressed area, in exchange for visas. A 2015 report found that federal officials broke ethics rules to help GreenTech obtain visas for its investors. The company’s use of the program has been investigated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Since its inception, GreenTech has only produced 25 vehicles, none of which have been sold, according to the documents reviewed by The Roanoke Times. The company had promised to produce at least 30,000 vehicles annually starting in 2014. GreenTech’s MyCar tops out at 25 miles per hour due to regulatory restrictions in the U.S., according to a company news release.
GreenTech is deeply politically connected but hasn’t sold a single car despite millions of dollars in backing from U.S. government, the state of Mississippi and Chinese corporate interests. McAuliffe, a long-time insider confidante of former President Bill Clinton and Hillary, used Rodham to provide the problem-plagued business with money.
GreenTech’s EB-5 funding came through Gulf Coast Management LLC, run by Rodham. While Hillary was serving as secretary of state, Rodham became a kind of traveling salesman in China for the electric car company. McAuliffe chaired Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign.
When McAuliffe was running for governor of Virginia, Democrats pointed to GreenTech as evidence of his entrepreneurial skill and initially claimed the company would create jobs.
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