One of these things is not like the others. Yet.
The CEO of a failed artificial sweetener company was charged Tuesday with theft and securities fraud in Missouri for using bond revenues to avoid foreclosure on his Beverly Hills, Calif., home and for failing to tell the truth about the company’s troubled operations.
The charges announced by Attorney General Chris Koster cap a yearlong investigation into Bruce Cole, who was chairman and CEO of Mamtek U.S.
The company received $39 million in bonds from Moberly, Mo., and authorization for up to $17 million of state incentives to build an artificial sweetener factory in the city which Gov. Jay Nixon said would eventually employ more than 600 people. But construction was halted on the partially complete facility after Mamtek missed a bond payment in August 2011.
The board approved its share of $17 million in state and local tax incentives for the project’s first phase, confirmed John Fougere, director of communications at the Missouri Department of Economic Development. Missouri is expected to contribute about 25 percent of the bonds.
The Cardinals plan to have the first phase of the project complete by opening day 2014. The construction of the first phase of the project is anticipated to create more than 750 construction jobs and more than 430 permanent jobs, Cardinals officials said.
On July 6, the St. Louis Board of Aldermen gave its blessing for the development plan and subsidies for the Ballpark Village project, the $100 million first phase of which is set to begin construction this fall.
The Missouri Downtown Economic Stimulus Authority (MoDESA) voted unanimously on July 5 to approve the $17 million in MoDESA bonds for the project.
Missouri’s top lawyer sued a pair of St. Louis developers Friday, saying they squandered $2.4 million worth of state tax credits in the incomplete cleanup of a long-empty downtown building.
Attorney General Chris Koster filed the suit in St. Louis Circuit Court against Kevin McGowan and Nat Walsh over their failed redevelopment of the Cupples 9 building on Spruce St. west of Busch Stadium. He claims that their environmental consultant, in a report in 2010 at the end of the cleanup, stated that all lead paint had been removed. Later tests showed that it had not.
So, will governments learn not to ladle out money on developments? Of course not. The other government leaders were stoopid, and the current government leaders have a far keener eye and better readers of chicken guts.
But I find it encouraging that the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has a piece on another crony capitalist tool, the improvement district: Pennies add up as special taxing districts proliferate.