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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on November 15, 2012 8:48 AM. The previous post in this blog was Kitz, Wheeler gung ho on privatizing street lights, water. The next post in this blog is Portland radio and the big bleat. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Vestas job creation pledge was fake

If you have at least half a brain and live in Portland, nowadays you spend much of your life walking around more than mildly outraged at the stupidity and arrogance of local government. But here's a story that really, really boils the blood. In a rare moment of lucidity, the Portland Business Journal finally gets around to reporting what actually happened with the Vestas office building deal:

When Danish wind turbine manufacturer Vestas announced plans to invest $66 million to renovate a historic Pearl District building for its new North American headquarters,... [a]mong the incentives it received from the state was a $1 million forgivable loan from the governor’s strategic reserve fund. But in order for the loan to be forgivable, Vestas was required to add 102 jobs within a five-year period and sustain that level of employment for eight consecutive quarters. If it failed, the company would be required to pay back a portion of that money.

When it announced its headquarters plans on Aug. 18, 2010, Vestas said it had 400 local employees. Based on that, Vestas would have been required to grow that total to above 500 and sustain it for essentially two years.

But in the time since that announcement, its employment has only shrunk. Today, the company says it has fewer than 300 workers, and earlier this month it announced plans to cut another 2,000 jobs worldwide. So is Vestas at risk of having to pay back the state funds?

According to Business Oregon, the state’s economic development division, the answer is no.

Marc Zolton, a spokesman for the agency, said Vestas fulfilled its job-creation obligation on Sept. 30, 2010 — less than a month after the company first announced plans for its project.

No, Vestas didn’t miraculously create 102 jobs in three weeks and then magically compress time to keep that level for eight weeks. Zolton said the state’s deal required Vestas to create those new jobs within a five-year period dating back to when the state began negotiations with the company. In this case, the start date was October 1, 2008.

What farookin' weasels we are dealing with here, friends.

So much of what the public was told about this deal was false and misleading. First of all, the city and state governments made it sound as though the sweetheart financing was being given to Vestas. It wasn't until much later that it was revealed that the subsidy actually went to Mark Edlen, Vestas's landlord, who has surely surpassed Homer Williams as the all-time biggest single fleecer of the Portland public treasury. Now we learn that the Vestas job creation promise was bogus. One shudders to think what other scandals lie in the details of the deal. Not that anyone in the mainstream media has actually ever even looked at them.

In 2010, Mayor Creepy specifically said that the transaction would "retain 400 living wage jobs, put 450 construction workers back to work and pave the way for 100 to 200 new jobs in the next five years." What a weasel.

Did the governor and the mayor tell us the truth? No. Did the media ask the right questions? No. Or else they didn't report the true answers.

And so we live with another Portland real estate development scam. 'Round and 'round it goes, and where it stops, nobody knows. What a dirty little town.

Comments (13)

And how many secret bank accounts are there in the Caymans to go along with all this crookedness? Lots, I'll wager!
But they are clever bastards and we will never know the total extent or cost of all this graft.

The knaves and con men we elect to political office must be operating under the belief that the public is very, very stupid and easily fooled. Given that we keep electing them, it may very well be true.

"If you have at least half a brain and live in Portland, nowadays you spend much of your life walking around more than mildly outraged ..."

Yeah, but if you have a quarter of a brain, you are deliriously happy with life in Portland (LOL)

Breaking news - Govt and industry is full of liars.

Advice - Any time they ask to spend or give money and it has the slightest whiff of stank - They're lying.

cf. Anything to do with the CC Hotel

Mark Edlen, Vestas's landlord, who has surely surpassed Homer Williams as the all-time biggest single fleecer of the Portland public treasury.

Edlen makes Segway Homer look like a piker. Whereas Homer's projects seem to always pay a visit to bankruptcy court, Edlen manages to extract enough from the city that his projects stay solvent, his wine cellar stays stocked, and he still has enough money leftover to grease the wheels for another round at the trough.

Not only does Edlen loot the city's treasury, he's managed to get the Katz-Adams dynasty to count the bills, carry out the bags, and stack it up in his vault in Edlen Manor.

If the public money wasn't used to create jobs, what was it used for?

workout room @ Vestas Portland HQ
http://assets.sustainablebusinessoregon.com/articles/vestas_workout%20room.jpg?v=1

rooftop patio @ Vestas Portland HQ
http://assets.sustainablebusinessoregon.com/articles/vestas_patio.jpg?v=1

At least you also missed the other side of the scam, where the company pulls out of Portland seconds after the specialty tax cuts end and the money needs to be paid back. Hmmm...has anyone checked to see if Vestas management just gave itself executive retention bonuses during this dark time?

An equally big question is which toothless Oregon legal agency is going to go after these people? Attorney General's Office, County Counsel or Portland City Attorney?

Attention Ted Wheeler:

Still interested in Public/Private deals?

Still think you can outsmart these sharks?

We even have a judicial ruling from Multnomah County saying we should EXPECT to be lied to...What more proof do you need?

You should move before they implement a new $3,500 tax on moving contracts.

Lets be accurate. The weasels the Vestas deal are in state government, the PDC, the Mayor's office and a Edlen's place.

And the Governor was more Teddy K, now of the Portland State Patronage Center, raher han Dr. No.

"has anyone checked to see if Vestas management just gave itself executive retention bonuses during this dark time?"

You mean kinda like what ReVolt (newly bankrupt) did with the $6M Merkley/Wyden were so happy to give them?

You know as well as I do most of these bad ideas get dressed up with a "sustainable" banner, get some money, rent some empty space, pay out big bonuses and then sink.

Its a cottage industry by now.

I was just wondering if all of these "Government Gone Wild" stories are enough to turn a liberal tax attorney into a conservative libertarian?

Maybe soon?


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