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Time Machine: Once, Twice, Three Times a Job Bust

This is a strange mashup of two SouthsideCentral types of features. We’re going to hop in the Time Machine and go back to November 20, 2012. That’s the day that Danville City Council approved grant money to a losing trifecta of Job Busts. Get ready for a not so fun ride…

I have been working on a Job Bust article for Danville Hybrid Vehicles but when I started doing some research on the timeline, I found a big ol’ “Wipeout” space on the game board. Punch “November 20, 2012″ and press the button on the Time Machine, please…

Economic development projects get thumbs-up from City Council

Jackpot! (Or Anti-Jackpot as the case is here…)

We already know about GOK International’s $1 million wipeout and their pending rebirth which probably isn’t going to happen.

Let’s talk about Danville Hybrid Vehicles. Don’t confuse them with Armet Armored Vehicles (that was the company off Old Mayfield Rd that made bulletproof vehicles that weren’t bulletproof at all). Danville Hybrid Vehicles was going to make vehicles that are “tactically silent”. Technically, they’ve accomplished that as the company has been quite silent. In fact, they don’t seem to have made any tactical vehicles so far. That hasn’t stopped them from going to Las Vegas in 2013 and the one armored vehicle that has been seen was spotted at a Greensboro Hooters restaurant in the past year. This company partnered with the quite deceased Advanced Vehicle Research Center, so that doesn’t look good at all for the “150 jobs in three years” promise that I do believe I’ve heard before from other Job Busts. Let’s see what update shakes out of Danville’s Economic Development office after this article is published. But wait… there’s MORE!

Norhurst! Yeah, I didn’t even remember the company’s name either. This is the company that bought the old Dan River Executive Building on Memorial Drive and said they were going to bring 100 jobs to Danville for support on government contracts and educational software. Shame on you for thinking that Danville workers wouldn’t have the job skills needed for that! We’re seventeen months into this Norhurst venture and what does Danville have to show for $625,000 of Tobacco Commission money (besides the new gate which was installed way too late to stop thieves from stealing copper out of the building and vandalizing it?)  You guessed it… NOTHING!

Time Machine Flashback:

norhurstDoesn’t everybody look so happy breaking ground for a Job Bust?

 

Jeremy Stratton & his Economic Development Friends really hit the jackpot on November 20, 2012. Well over $2,000,000 of grant money went out of the door that night and Danville seems to have gotten three Job Busts out of that spending spree. Thanks for riding along in this edition of the SouthsideCentral Time Machine.

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7 comments to Time Machine: Once, Twice, Three Times a Job Bust

  • craig setliff

    yes i think you so right Bruce it not going to change until we vote a totally new city government in place

  • Travis

    Here’s an Idea, only give money once they are actually doing business. It so too easy to steal the money and launder it via “construction and remodel efforts”. Heavy Heavy restrictions should be placed on all this “money” that get dolled out. I would like to start an architectual salvage company, to capitalize on the “condemned buildings” so How can I get some free cash.

  • Jerry

    Travis,

    Very good idea. Not a penny of the money is distributed until the business is actually operating. There is absolutely no reason this can’t be enacted as policy by the City Council this year. None. They’re lying if they say there is a reason they can’t.

    Another idea…economic development agreements that have milestone dates. Such as, by the end of year one of this agreement, X business will have X employees employed at X salary. If not, the agreement automatically ends and the company is required to pay back all City funds immediately. I keep hearing that the reason “we the people” don’t see any action is b/c “the end date of the agreement hasn’t occurred.” That’s one of the silliest things I’ve ever heard. I’ve never heard of a long term contract…whether it be construction, consulting, etc. that doesn’t have milestones that must be met during the course of the agreement. If the City’s been signing these things with no enforcement mechanism until the very last day of the contract….well, that’s simply dumb. I’ve never heard of a 5 year contract in which the other party isn’t required to do anything until the very last day of the contract. Who the heck is writing these things? Go talk to a commercial contractor and ask them about a contract that has no milestones…they’d laugh.

  • Jim

    Jerry, at least in the case of Web Parts (the job bust that I’ve followed closest) they did have milestones just as you described, and in each case Brad Mainland met the bare minimum requirements for each incremental payout. For the requirement of hiring 10 people, he met it, got the payout, then reduced staffing.

    If you want some good bathroom reading on the subject, check this out sometime:

    http://bradmainland.com/

    I agree that big changes need to be made to the way money is handed out to, in some cases, charlatans who are simply grabbing the brass ring.

    Are there *any* Tobacco Commission success stories? Any?

  • Several updates/corrections/comments to your post:
    1) GOK:
    “..and their pending rebirth which probably isn’t going to happen.”
    >>> which is guaranteed to never happen
    2) Norhust:
    You failed to mention that after getting the $625K, he sold part of the property (parking space and land) to the IDA for $425K since this is a new economic development center – haha. That’s a cool $1,050,000 the City of Danville will never see again.
    3) Lee Vogler:
    I note his picture at the ground breaking. This must be a mistake. Lee would never be involved in another jobs bust.

    • Jerry

      Another round of very suspicious activity…..no one has fully dove into all of these IDA transactions around downtown. What would be interesting to know is what would happen if the onion was ever unpeeled….who is paying rent downtown? Where’s it going?

      There is nothing more comical than to hear the pooh-bahs speak of Downtown Danville and compare it to Greensboro or Roanoke or Lynchburg or Charlottesville. I was in Downtown Roanoke a couple of weekends ago. There is more foot traffic on ONE SATURDAY in Roanoke than there probably is if you added all 52 Saturdays up in Downtown Danville.

      One day, in about 10 years or so, someone’s going to write a book about this City. People eventually talk. It would be interesting to learn where all of this money went. It will also be interesting to learn why there was such a lack of accountability…..

  • Travis
    There are ways to actually do this but our city leaders are far too smart to get caught up in these little details.

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