Terry McAuliffe, Democrat candidate for governor in Virginia, has made his private sector experience a cornerstone of his campaign. Until recently, he trumpeted his founding of an electric car company, telling a Democrat audience in May, 2011, “I’m a founder of a company called GreenTech Automotive, a very ambitious project. I’m building 5 cars …. we have 3 hybrids and 2 electrics.”
McAuliffe has used his involvement with GreenTech to paint himself as a private-sector entrepreneur, but in reality his role was secondary, and would have been impossible without the political help of former President Bill Clinton and other Democratic Party cronies.
His involvement with GreenTech became a potential political liability when it was announced that the company would build its first assembly plant in Mississippi, rather than Virginia. Reporters in Virginia peppered McAuliffe with questions asking why, as founder, he would locate his plant in another state instead of the Commonwealth.
McAuliffe gave vague answers about the lack of a robust business incentive program in Virginia. The truth is far more revealing. GreenTech existed long before McAuliffe became involved with the company. It was founded in Mississippi and its business plan was contingent on it operating in the Magnolia State.
Mr. Xiaolon “Charles” Wang founded GreenTech Automotive Inc. as a Mississippi corporation in August 2009, then immediately merged it with a predecessor Mississippi corporation he had founded in 2008, Hybrid Kinetics Automotive Corp.
Mr. Wang, a Chinese national, first became involved in the project that would become GreenTech Automotive, Inc. in March 2008, when he began working with another Chinese national, Yung “Benjamin” Yeung, who incorporated Hybrid Kinetic Automotive Holdings in Delaware that month.
Mr. Yeung funded his company with $1.6 million, according to court records, and intended to raise capital from Chinese investors through the EB-5 immigration program to finance automobile manufacturing operations in the United States. The EB-5 program awards green cards to foreigners investing in businesses in the US.
In October 2008 Wang set up another company with a similar name. Andrew Dulaney, a well connected Tunica, Mississippi attorney, incorporated Mr. Wang’s new firm, Hybrid Kinetic Automotive Corp., with the state of Mississippi.
During this period, Mr. Wang used financial resources provided by Mr. Yeung’s company to prepare a proposal for the state of Mississippi to provide funding for a proposed automobile manufacturing facility in Mississippi, according to court records.
In December 2008, Mr. Yeung’s, company, Hybrid Kinetic Automotive Holdings, paid Bill Clinton $300,000 to give a speech in Hong Kong, according to Fox News, which also reported that “[t]wenty five days later, on Dec. 29, a man listed as the company’s CFO, Jack Xi Deng, made a $25,000 cash donation to the Virginia gubernatorial campaign of Clinton confidant Terry McAuliffe.”
The involvement of former President Bill Clinton began a reshaping of GreenTech Automotive.
By July 2009, in a legal settlement, Mr. Yeung and Mr. Wang parted ways, with Wang retaining the rights to continue operating his business in Mississippi and seek state benefits there.
During this time, Terry McAuliffe had no involvement with Mr. Wang or his company, as he was running for governor of Virginia. In June, 2009, he lost the Democratic primary.
In August 2009, Mr. Wang formed a new Mississippi corporation, GreenTech Automotive, Inc., and he merged his earlier Hybrid Kinetic Automotive Corp. with that entity.
On October 7, 2009, Mr. Wang announced that his GreenTech Automotive Inc. company was going to invest $1 billion to build an auto manufacturing plant in Tunica, Mississippi. The Memphis Daily News reported at the time that “[t]he Mississippi-based startup automobile company owned by Xiaolin (zhee-OW-lin) “Charles” Wang will build a hybrid-automotive plant on 1,500 acres at a rural Tunica County megasite. . . With an initial price tag of $1 billion, the project’s first phase is expected to create 1,500 jobs and produce 150,000 vehicles a year beginning in 2012.”
The Memphis Daily News also reported that Mr. Wang said, “[f]ormer President Bill Clinton also has been active in the project, traveling to Hong Kong and introducing company representatives to heads of state at his recent global initiative.”
Two days later, on October 9, 2009, Terry McAuliffe entered the picture, when he organized a separate Virginia company, WM GreenTech Automotive Corp., which he personally owned 100%. It was not until March 2010, however, that WM GreenTech Automotive Corp. established a formal relationship with Mr. Wang’s GreenTech Automotive Inc.
Documents filed with the State of Mississippi in April 2011 showed that in March 2010, Mr. McAuliffe and Mr. Wang completed a complex tax free stock exchange.
At the completion of that transaction, WM GreenTech Automotive Corp. was the 100% owner of GreenTech Automotive Inc. Mr. McAuliffe’s ownership of WM GreenTech Automotive Corp. was reduced to 25%, and Capital Wealth Management Holdings Limited, the British Virgin Islands company that Mr. Wang appears to own personally, owned the remaining 75% of WM GreenTech Automotive Corp.
McAuliffe’s 2008 Statement of Economic Interests, a personal financial disclosure document filed with the Virginia State Board of Elections, showed he had no ownership in Capital Wealth Management Holdings Limited or GreenTech Automotive Inc.
McAuliffe’s 2012 Statement of Economic Interests shows he owns more than $250,000 worth of stock in GreenTech Automotive Inc.
Also in October 2009, a newly formed Virginia corporation, American Immigration Center LLC, gained controlling interest in Gulf Coast Funds Management LLC, a company incorporated in Louisiana in 2007 and apparently owned at the time by David Voelker and George Bower II.
Gulf Coast was designated by the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of US Citizenship and Immigration Services “as a Regional Center within the Immigrant Investor Pilot Program [of the EB-5 immigration program].” Regional centers are responsible for managing the EB-5 green card program. They vet prospective investors for green cards. Gulf Coast’s jurisdiction was investment in businesses located in Mississippi or Louisiana.
In other words, an investment in a business in Virginia would not make a foreign investor eligible for a green card through Gulf Coast.
Gulf Coast Funds Management has played a critical role in GreenTech Automotive Inc.’s financing plan, which depends on raising capital from foreign nationals who participate in the EB-5 program. Under that program, according to the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, Gulf Coast Funds Management is authorized to “work with investors in the [GreenTech Automotive Inc.] project through the EB-5 program, which offers foreign investors two-year green cards for themselves and their immediate families for $500,000 investments that create at least 10 jobs.”
Shortly after Virginia based American Immigration Center LLC took a controlling interest in Gulf Coast Funds Management LLC, Anthony Rodham, younger brother of Hillary Clinton, was named CEO of Gulf Coast Funds Management. The company’s offices were moved from New Orleans to a Tysons Corner, Virginia office which it currently shares with WM GreenTech Automotive Corp., the parent company of GreenTech Automotive Inc.
In addition, former Democratic Louisiana Governor Kathleen Branco, Margaret Richardson, former IRS commissioner during the Clinton Administration, and Randy Wright, a former Virginia official, were named to the company’s board.
Breitbart News spoke with one of the original owners of Gulf Coast Funds Management, George E. Brower II on Tuesday. Mr. Brower told us that he left the company in late 2008, shortly after the USCIS gave the company its EB-5 Regional Center designation. He told us “I wasn’t comfortable with the direction the others were taking it. They needed too much capital.” Bower identified two other owners of the venture: David Voelker and Virginia Boulet, who ran unsuccessfully for mayor of New Orleans in 2006.
In May 2010, GreenTech Automotive Inc. purchased EuAuto Technology Ltd., which the Memphis Commercial Appeal described as “a tiny Hong Kong manufacturer.” The company’s primary asset was the design for a small “neighborhood electric vehicle,” named the MyCar, which GreenTech Automotive Inc. claims will be the first vehicle it will manufacture at its Tunica, Mississippi plant. This is the Chinese company that McAuliffe claimed in his May 12, 2011 speech was a manufacturer he “moved” from China to the United States.
The only apparent local Mississippi or Louisiana firm Gulf Coast Funds Management has funded is GreenTech Automotive Inc., which to date employs 78 at one facility in Tunica Mississippi, but it is unclear if the company has manufactured a single MyCar for sale. Bloomberg News reported in July 2012 that Domino’s Pizza ordered 20 MyCars, but it is not known if those vehicles have been delivered.
On July 20, 2011 Wang, William Pegram, Chairman of the Tunica County Mississippi Board of Supervisors, and Leland Speed, Chairman of the Mississippi State Economic Development Board signed a Memorandum of Understanding in which GreenTech Automotive Inc. promised to invest at least $52 million and employ at least 350 people at its Tunica manufacturing facility by December 31, 2014, and the State of Mississippi promised to provide $8 million to the project through $5 million in loans (a $3 million loan to Green Tech Automotive, and a $2 million loan to Tunica County) in addition to a $3 million federal grant it controlled to Tunica County.
In July 2012 GreenTech Automotive Inc. held a launch party at its Tunica, Mississippi plant, which was attended by Wang, former President Bill Clinton, former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, and McAuliffe. A prototype of the MyCar, featuring the Domino’s logo, was featured at the event.
McAuliffe’s emphasis of his private sector experience is intended to counter the perception that he is the consummate political insider. A close confidante of former House Majority Leader Dick Gephardt and chief fundraiser for Bill Clinton, McAuliffe has been entrepreneurial in utilizing his political contacts.
His “founding” of GreenTech is just the latest example.