TWIN FALLS, IDAHO – Hamdi Ulukaya, the Turkish-born billionaire best known for having founded the United States’ largest greek yogurt company, Chobani, has ties to both Bill and Hillary Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative, Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, and a host of other globalist corporatist figures including Warren Buffet. Chobani’s factory in Twin Falls – the world’s largest yogurt factory – has been at the center of Breitbart News’ investigative series into the small town’s refugee resettlement program.
According to CNN Money: starting in 2008, Chobani began to hire refugees to work in its upstate New York plant – and listening to Ulukaya speak at events like the Clinton Global Initiative and Davos, one can tell that the issue closest to his heart is refugee resettlement.
The Chobani billionaire’s many speeches and soliloquies on the issue of refugees combined with his extensive political connections may explain why establishment politicians, both Republican and Democrat, have swooned over Ulukaya, positively giddy to form “business / government partnerships” with him and to support his position on refugees.
Many people first heard about the Twin Falls refugee resettlement program when a five-year-old girl was raped at the hands of three refugee boys. More recently, a Muslim refugee molested a mentally retarded woman. Those stories led to a look at the wider conditions that led to refugee resettlement in the state of Idaho, a situation connected to the drive for cheap labor by the local food processing industry that Chobani is a major part of.
Who is Hamdi Ulukaya? His Forbes bio says:
Hamdi Ulukaya, the Turkish founder of America’s most popular Greek yogurt, Chobani, came to the U.S in 1994 to study business. Seeing that yogurt wasn’t as natural and nutritious as it was at home, Ulukaya created his own recipe and has since made a fortune from the nation’s Greek yogurt craze. He started by buying a Kraft Foods yogurt plant in central New York state with a loan from the Small Business Administration in 2005.
Although he’s hailed as an entrepreneur, in the era of globalism, big government and big business are intermeshed and the rise of Chobani is a prime example of this new reality. Hamdi Ulukaya has used local, state and federal resources of the United States government at every stage of his business growth.
Take a major source of revenue for Chobani: the federal school lunch program. Chobani is the main supplier of Greek yogurt for the federal school system, and Ulukaya had no problem greasing the wheels to make that happen, as the Albany Times Union reported last year:
With encouragement from (New York Senators) Schumer and Gellibrand, Ulukaya and other New York Greek yogurt players entered the Washington fray in 2012. They wanted to get into the USDA‘s $15 billion school lunch, breakfast and summer food programs.
But access to those programs is more than just a matter of a senator making a phone call to the secretary of agriculture. Federal regulations spell out a lengthy bureaucratic process for gaining admission.
Ulukaya and Chobani took the lead, enlisting a lobbying firm, Cornerstone Government, and the National Yogurt Association to help them through the technicalities. Agriculture experts on the staffs of Gillibrand and Schumer pitched in as well.
According to the website Open Secrets, Chobani has spent over $700,000 on their lobbying efforts since 2012.
In December 2012, Chobani opened its second U.S. production facility – the world’s largest yogurt plant in Twin Falls, Idaho – an announcement that brought out local politicians from the Twin Falls city Council, like then-Mayor Greg Lanting – who recently apologized for his attack on the family of the five-year-old refugee rape victim – as well as Idaho’s Republican Governor “Butch” Otter.
But one of Ulukaya’s biggest fans appears to be Bill Clinton. As Chobani’s owner began spending cash on lobbying and hobnobbing with the globalist smart set, he garnered effusive praise from the former President:
“It’s an astonishing story … it’s an amazing story … it’s breathtaking,” gushed former President Bill Clinton during a 2013 Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) panel discussion featuring Ulukaya.
Ulukaya has made a number of appearances at CGI, including a one-on-one with Bill Clinton in 2015 where Al-Monitor reported that Ulukaya spoke about advancing refugee migration into the U.S. and around the world, saying that “writing checks is not enough.”
Being an invited guest of the Clinton Global Initiative to push a refugee agenda wasn’t Ulukaya’s only globalist gig. In January 2016, CNN Money reported that Ulukaya officially launched his Tent Foundation, “a personal foundation focused on helping refugees,” listing its founding partners as including such big-name companies as “Airbnb, Ikea Foundation, MasterCard, LinkedIn, UPS Foundation and Western Union.” Also in January 2016, PR News Wire put up a press release stating that the Tent Foundation’s main three focuses will be some combination of “direct giving”, “generating employment opportunities for refugees”, and “incentivizing partners to source products and services from companies that employ refugees and their host communities, or support refugee causes.” This would include Chobani, Ulukaya’s own company.
Ulukaya used oligarchy buzzwords to say he founded the Tent Foundation, “a platform for corporate leaders to join forces to more effectively leverage the support, ingenuity and dynamism of the world’s businesses to help end the refugee crises.“ In September 2015, The Tent Foundation released a publication with Clinton campaign Chairman John Podesta’s Center for American Progress titled Crisis in Context about the current state of refugee affairs around the world, according to CAP.
Longtime Clinton associate John Podesta is currently one of the key leaders of Hillary Clinton’s campaign for President.
Ulukaya lives in the rarefied world of the “doing well while doing good” crowd, a loose affiliation of millionaires and billionaires whose supposed altruism always seems to pay off handsomely for them.
In May 2015, Chobani’s owner joined forces with the Giving Pledge: Now a billionaire, Ulukaya pledges the majority of his personal wealth “to help refugees and help bring an end to this humanitarian crisis.” He does this through the Giving Pledge, an organization started by Warren Buffett and Bill Gates. As a recent story by reporter Michael Patrick Leahy points out, Buffet also helped finance the local Twin Falls newspaper the Times-News, which has defended the refugee program and repeatedly attacks critics of the refugee program as racist:
The daily paper, which operates as, in effect, a local monopoly in the small southern Idaho city at the center of a sexual assault of a 5 -year-old American-born girl involving three Muslim refugee boys, is owned by Lee Enterprises, which received a $2.1 million loan in 2012 and another $9 million loan in 2013 from a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, the conglomerate controlled by globalist billionaire Warren Buffett, an ardent supporter who endorsed Hillary Clinton in December.
Though both loans appear to have been paid back, Berkshire Hathaway had a four percent ownership interest in Lee Enterprises in 2012, an equity interest which has diminished to less than one percent in 2016.
Refugee advocate Hamdi Ulukaya is also on the boards of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York – while still being a Turkish citizen – and has been named Eminent Advocate for the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR). In January 2016, the BBC reported that Ulukaya made an appearance at the World Economic Forum in Davos, where he called on more businesses to begin taking in refugees as workers, stating that it is “mind-blowing” how little firms are doing to economically integrate refugees.
Years of stroking the establishment paid off once again though for Ulukaya earlier this year when Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton released an official statement from the campaign praising Ulukaya, giving his company a vast amount of free media:
When Hamdi Ulukaya founded Chobani in upstate New York more than a decade ago, he knew that to build a strong company, he needed a strong workforce. That’s why from the beginning, he paid his employees salaries above minimum wage and offered health and retirement benefits, and hired hundreds of refugees who came to America, as he did, looking for a brighter future.
For those who think you can’t buy that kind of advertising, it seems that perhaps you can, after all.
Keep watching Breitbart News for more details on this developing story in Twin Falls that shows how this small, typically American city has been impacted by so many issues of national interest in this election season.