$500,000 IN STIMULUS CASH TO A VIRGINIA GREEN ENERGY PLANT THAT NEVER EVEN OPENED
Let’s walk through this.
Ground was broken in April of 2010 for what the company dubbed “the region’s premier recycling center.” On it’s web site, they said, “It would create 50 new green jobs, conserve natural resources and sustain the environment.”
Mayor Dwight Jones, Congressman Bobby Scott, and City Council members Reva Trammell and Kathy Graziano even posed with hard hats and gold shovels. The mayor wrote about it in his monthly newsletter, calling it an “exciting opportunity for the city.”
City Council member Reva Trammell put out the following press release.
$3.5 million biomass manufacturing/recycling facility made possible through U.S. American Recovery and Reinvestment Act: 50-75 new green jobs expected
WHAT Councilwoman Reva M. Trammell, Richmond City Council Southside 8th District, will attend the groundbreaking ceremony of CEPHAS Industries as they begin construction on a new biomass manufacturing/recycling facility. The $3.5 million project is supported with federal U.S. American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding. The facility will expand the company’s recycling and biomass manufacturing abilities and is targeted to create 50-75 green jobs. The 33,000 square foot venture is scheduled to be completed and operational by late March, 2011.
WHEN Friday, April 2, 2010
WHERE CEPHAS Industries Headquarters
3413 Formex Road, Richmond, Virginia 23224
WHO The Honorable Reva M. Trammell, Councilwoman, Richmond City Council, Southside 8th District
CONTACT For more information, please contact Councilwoman Trammell, at 804-240-5050 (mobile tel); or, 233-7382 (H)
Morris Cephas, President & CEO, CEPHAS Industries, at 804-231-3200 or Rich Savage, Media Directions, at 804-644-8010 or 399-7655 (mobile)
Three years later, all we found was a padlock, a “for sale” sign, and empty lot. No building.
We tracked the money: The $500,000 started with the federal government; it gave the money to the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy; that agency awarded the grant to Cephas Industries.
We uncovered a progress report from last June, where Cephas says it spent $230,000 on a John Deer Excavator and Mack Tractor. Cephas reported to the government that the facility was never built because ”the city reneged on a $6 million bond finance deal.”
Someone needs to go to jail for Benghazi. Someone needs to go to jail for Fast & Furious. Someone needs to go to jail for the IRS scandal. And someone needs to go to jail for all of this tax-dollar fraud. Taxpayers were ripped off, plain and simple.
This is what $500,000 will buy you when government is involved……Nothing.