Mississippi: Electric car maker makes overdue loan payment

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi officials say an electric car maker has made an overdue payment on its state loan.

Jeff Rent, a spokesman for the Mississippi Development Authority, said Wednesday GreenTech Automotive made a $150,000 payment this week. The state extended until Monday the deadline for the first payment on a $3 million state loan, originally due June 30. The loan agreement calls for twice-yearly payments over 10 years.

In addition to missing its loan payment, Mississippi said GreenTech neither hired 350 people in Tunica County nor invested a promised $60 million. It’s unclear how many employees the company has or how much it has invested. A company official didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

“We are continuing to work with GreenTech Automotive to protect the state’s investment and the jobs created by the company,” Rent wrote in an email.

In response to Associated Press questions, Rent didn’t clarify whether the state has signed a new agreement with GreenTech changing job, investment or payment terms, or whether the state plans other actions.

In the past, the state has amended other job agreements to ease company requirements, saying it’s more important to save jobs than penalize a company.

Besides the $3 million loan, Mississippi loaned Tunica County $1.9 million to buy the site and exempted the company from income, franchise and sales taxes.

The company said in August it was awaiting Chinese government approval to raise money through a merger in China with another business. Previously, GreenTech has raised money from Chinese people seeking U.S. residency by investing $500,000 through Gulf Coast Funds Management. That fund has been associated with Tony Rodham, Hillary Clinton’s brother.

A 2015 report found Alejandro Mayorkas, later deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, broke ethics rules when he intervened in visa proceedings for GreenTech and two other projects. Mayorkas has denied wrongdoing.

Democratic Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s former investment with GreenTech was attacked by Republicans. McAuliffe divested his interest, but acknowledged in May that he’s under federal investigation for business dealings before becoming governor.


Follow Jeff Amy at: http://twitter.com/jeffamy. Read his work at http://bigstory.ap.org/author/jeff-amy.