Soraa walks away from $90M factory that NY built; $15M more brings new tenant
This damn government is so damn corrupt that it is not possible to have a proper investigation. How is it possible that no one is being indicted and locked up. This video proves the FBI and the DOJ is corrupt all the way up to Barack Obama.
Will anyone ever get locked up for all of this corrupt behavior.
DeWitt, N.Y. — In 2014, the development arm of SUNY Polytechnic Institute agreed to build, with $90 million in state money, a factory in DeWitt for an LED light bulb manufacturer.
The company, California-based Soraa, agreed to create 250 full-time, high-tech jobs at Collamer Crossing Business Park and to encourage Soraa contractors and suppliers to create another 170 jobs in Central New York.
In return, the company would be allowed to lease the factory for $1 a month for 10 years.
But the deal with SUNY Poly’s Fort Schuyler Management Corp. did not require Soraa to spend any of its own money to build or equip the factory. And it contained no penalties if the company did not occupy the building or create the promised jobs. The company never even signed a lease.
So when Soraa recently said it no longer needed the factory and pulled out of the deal just as the state was completing construction of the 82,000-square-foot building, there was nothing the state could do about it.
The state was left with a factory, nearly fully equipped, but no company to use it.
One expert said using state money to custom-build a factory for a specific tenant is bad policy.
“You have a situation where the state could potentially wind up with a white elephant,” said John Bacheller, former head of policy and research for the state’s economic development office, Empire State Development. “I think it’s too much risk. When you provide a grant, the risk is limited to the amount of the grant.”
The state has found another company, but taxpayers will have to spend up to another $15 million to properly equip the building for the new company.
This time, state officials say they won’t repeat the mistake made in DeWitt again.
Empire State Development, a state economic development agency, took over the project from SUNY Poly a year ago after the college’s president, Alain Kaloyeros, was arrested on corruption charges and resigned from the university. ESD said a deal with a new tenant will include financial penalties if the company fails to meet its job commitments.
Jason Conwall, a spokesman for ESD, said the penalties, or “clawbacks,” will be included in a grant disbursement agreement with NexGen Power Systems, a California start-up. ESD’s board of directors voted Dec. 21 to approve a grant of up to $15 million to NexGen for tooling and equipment for the factory.
In return, the company has pledged to create 290 full-time, high-tech jobs for the production of semiconductors at the facility and agreed to invest $40 million of its own money into the building. It will pay rent of $1 the first year and increasing amounts up to full market value in the 10th year, ESD officials said.
Conwall said the grant will be contingent on the company meeting its job commitments. Details of the grant’s terms will not be available until the grant disbursement agreement is executed later this month, but they will follow ESD’s standard practice of requiring companies to return a grant, or portions of it, if they fail to meet hiring milestones, he said.
ESD’s agreements generally require a company to meet a certain minimum amount of their job commitments within a specified period or be required to return a grant. In some cases, a company is required to return only a portion of the money if it falls just a little short of its hiring commitments.
ESD officials said no such “clawbacks” were put into SUNY Poly’s deal with Soraa because none of the $90 million in state grants used to build the factory went directly to Soraa. All of the money went into the building, which is still owned by the state, so there was no money to take back from the company, they said.
Former state budget director Robert Megna, who was appointed president of the non-profit Fort Schuyler Management Corp. in February 2017 following Kaloyeros’s departure, said the fact that Fort Schuyler retained ownership of the building was a good thing.
“While we can’t speak to the reasoning behind all the terms of the agreement with Soraa, which were made by the previous leadership, the facility was constructed to accommodate Soraa’s gallium nitride lighting business and no funding was provided to Soraa,” he said in a statement.
“All state funds were provided to the not-for-profit Fort Schuyler Management Corporation, and the building and the equipment are all owned by FSMC on behalf of New York State,” he said. “This model enabled the state to quickly adjust to changes in a very dynamic industry and make the facility available to NexGen for its production of gallium nitride semiconductor devices, modules and systems.”
Conwall said Empire State Development takes a much different approach. It provides grants to assist companies with the cost of building facilities in the state, but it does not go the riskier route of building entire factories for them, he said.
He said ESD was fortunate to have found a new tenant to go into the DeWitt building. NexGen plans to make semiconductor power devices from gallium nitride, the same material that Soraa uses to make LED lighting. That means that NexGen can use much of the equipment already installed in the factory.
“It worked out because we owned the facility and found another tenant quickly that aligned really well,” the ESD spokesman said.
Though ESD has agreed to provide up to $15 million to NexGen for the purchase of tools and equipment, some of the $7 million not yet spent from the original $90 million in grants for the building could be used toward that $15 million commitment, he said. (The state had spent about $83 million of the $90 million on the factory and equipment by the time Soraa pulled out, officials said.)
NexGen was formed in California last year to make semiconductors for the electronics industry. It does not yet manufacture anything. The DeWitt facility will be its first manufacturing operation.
Dinesh Ramanathan, NexGen’s president and CEO and one of its founders, also was CEO of Avogy Inc., a Silicon Valley start-up that planned to make power sources for electronic devices such as computers.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced in 2016 that Avogy had committed to moving from California to a state-owned cleanroom facility in Rochester that the state agreed to upgrade with a $35 million investment of state money. The state never made the investment, however, and Avogy never made the move.
Avogy went out of business later in 2016. NexGen bought its technology and is starting up with new money from investors, according to Ramanathan.
NexGen has not publicly disclosed who its investors are.
Prior to Avogy, Ramanathan served as the executive vice president at Cypress Semiconductor for almost nine years, where he managed the company’s Programmable Systems Division and its Data Communications Division, according to NexGen’s website.
Prior to joining Cypress, Ramanathan held senior marketing and engineering positions at Raza Microelectronics; Raza Foundries, described as an “incubating venture capital company”; and Forte Design Systems, an electronic design automation company, according to the website.
ESD officials said they are confident that NexGen will succeed in DeWitt.
“NexGen is led by a management team and investors with a proven record and decades of combined experience building and operating high-tech businesses,” Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Howard Zemsky said in a statement. “This gives us the confidence that the company will meet its commitment to bring hundreds of new, good-paying jobs to Central New York.”
The state may be fortunate in this case if NexGen is able to use the factory constructed for Soraa. But custom-built factories can be hard to sell or lease if a tenant walks away, Bacheller said.
The state should always require companies to invest more money into a project than the state does so they have a strong motivation to stick around and make the development work, he said.
“You always want the company to have skin in the game,” he said.
He said SUNY Poly may also have made a mistake constructing a factory for an LED light bulb maker, given the fact that LED light bulb production is increasingly dominated by low-cost Chinese manufacturers who have brought the price of LED bulbs almost down to that of incandescents.
“Unless you’re in a niche that the Chinese aren’t in, it’s the kind of business that is very risky,” he said.
NexGen says its semiconductor devices can be used in a wide array of applications such as LED power supplies, solar inverters, data centers and automotive applications.
The company will be getting the use of a building with up to $105 million in state money invested in it. NexGen’s capital investment will be far less by comparison – $40 million.
Bacheller said the state appears to be taking a substantial risk with NexGen, given that the company is a start-up with no manufacturing or sales track record of its own. However, he said Empire State Development may be making the best deal it could after inheriting a bad situation from SUNY Poly.
“They’ve already got a building up and they’re stuck with it,” he said.
Soraa walks away from $90M factory that NY built; $15M more brings new tenant
Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union,” White House adviser Stephen Miller had a heated interview with host Jake Tapper over Michael Wolff’s book “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House.”
Miller said, “The book is best understood as a work of very poorly written fiction.”
Things got heated when Miller said, “Your network’s been going 24/7 with all the salacious coverage and I know it brings a lot of you guys a lot of joy to try to stick the knife in, but the reality is that page after page after page of the book is purely false. I see sections of the book where events I participated in are described and I have firsthand knowledge as they’re described they’re completely and utterly fraudulent.”
Tapper shot back, “Nobody at CNN is sticking knives in anybody.”
After several exchanges where the pair talked over each other, Tapper said, “The only person who has called themselves a genius in the last week is a president.”
Miller said, “Which happens to be a true statement. a self-made billionaire who revolutionized — ”
Tapper quipped, “I’m sure he’s watching and he’s happy you said that.”
Miller shot back “You can be as condescending as you want.”
At one point in the interview, Tapper hushed his guest: “Stephen, settle down, settle down. Calm down.”
Tapper ended the interview saying, “I think I’ve wasted enough of my viewers’ time.”
After the segment aired, President Trump tweeted that Miller “destroyed” Tapper.
Jake Tapper of Fake News CNN just got destroyed in his interview with Stephen Miller of the Trump Administration. Watch the hatred and unfairness of this CNN flunky!
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The invite was leaked to Politico:
Seung Min Kim
New: Pence called Flake today to personally invite him and other bipartisan immigration negotiators to the White House to meet with Trump next week
The invite to amnesty-advocate Flake came just as his group of pro-amnesty establishment Senators split over Democrats’ refusal to accept any of President Trump’s popular immigration reform measures. Those measures include easier deportation rules, a border wall and an end to chain-migration and the visa-lottery.
The establishment group, which include Flake, split when Sen. Thom Tillis and Sen. James Lankford exited on Thursday, saying:
Over the course of the last several weeks, we have negotiated in good faith with Senate Democrats on a DACA agreement. Unfortunately, our discussions on border security and enforcement with Democrats are much further apart, and that is key to getting a bipartisan deal on DACA. Until that happens, we cannot accomplish the solutions our country needs and many families deserve. More work remains ahead.
GOP Senators Tillis and Lankford quit bipartisan pro-amnesty group b/c Democrats reject all of Trump’s popular reforms, such as border security and ending chain migration. Exit leaves Colo. Sen. Cory Gardner as GOP amnesty cheerleader. http://bit.ly/2CFeLDP
GOP Sens. Tillis, Lankford Admit Failure in Amnesty Push – Breitbart
‘We Have Negotiated in Good Faith with Senate Democrats … More Work Remains Ahead’
Before Tillis quit, he told reporters at the White House in the morning that administration officials would offer a revised list of Trump priorities to the establishment group in a White House meeting next week. According to a report in Roll Call:
Lawmakers and the administration had settled on a general framework and the plan would be shared with Democrats as early as Tuesday.
“We are all going to have an opportunity to get in a room next week and everybody’s going to see the single version,” Tillis told reporters at the Capitol.
The news that Pence invited Flake and the other leaders came after Tillis’ prediction of a meeting next week.
The Thursday afternoon exit of Tillis and Lankford cripples the establishment group, which also includes GOP Sens. Lindsey Graham and Cory Gardner, and Democratic Sens. Richard Durbin and Michael Bennett.
The group split after Trump used a White House meeting on Thursday morning to show that he would not be pushed away from his election-winning immigration agenda, despite pleading by Graham, Tillis, and Lankford.
Thank you to the great Republican Senators who showed up to our mtg on immigration reform. We must BUILD THE WALL, stop illegal immigration, end chain migration & cancel the visa lottery. The current system is unsafe & unfair to the great people of our country – time for change!
Trump laid out his agenda on the campaign trail and formalized it in October with a long list of popular immigration principles. Since the list was published, Democrats have tried to get whittle it down by asking for updates and clarifications.
Before being picked for Vice President, Pence served in the House of Representatives with Flake, and the two became close friends.
Once elected to the Senate, Flake embraced the amnesty cause and became a charter member of the disastrous 2013 “Gang of Eight” amnesty group. Led by Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer, the gang’s amnesty bill helped the Democrats lose nine seats in the 2014 midterm elections, and allowed Trump to win the 2016 primary race.
But the Pence-Flake alliance was cracked by Flake’s steady opposition to Trump, according to an engaging article in Politico:
The old allies aren’t exactly estranged. Pence gave Flake’s son a tour of the West Wing at the White House Christmas party, and back in June, Flake snapped a photo on his iPhone as their wives reunited at the White House picnic. But it’s nothing like their heyday in the House, when one man could always be found at the other’s side. “I think that would be tough for him to explain to the president,” Flake says, grinning, “‘I was out with Flake last night.’” Whatever personal affection may have been lost, a political bond endures. At their November dinner, as the vice president pressed the senator for his vote [on the tax bill], Flake made an offer: In exchange for backing the GOP tax bill, he wanted a promise that the White House would “enact fair and permanent protections for DACA recipients.” Pence made the commitment [for an amnesty] then and there. Flake, in turn, voted to secure the administration’s first major legislative victory.
This fleeting alliance aside, in the age of Trump, a pair of conjoined political twins has been separated: Flake heading home, his star now dimmed, and Pence preparing for the possibility of succeeding Trump atop the Republican Party, be it in 2024, 2020 or, potentially, even sooner.
Pence’s record shows that he would do much more than support than a mere amnesty. In 2006, Pence used a Wall Street Journal article to tout very different legislation which would allow employers to hire an unlimited number of cheap and temporary foreign workers instead of middle-class American voters. He wrote:
Private worker-placement agencies — “Ellis Island Centers” — would be licensed by the federal government to match guest workers with jobs that employers cannot fill with American workers. These agencies will match guest workers with jobs, perform health screening, fingerprint them, and convey the appropriate information to the FBI and Homeland Security so that a background check can be performed. Once this is done, the guest worker would be provided with a visa issued by the State Department. The whole process will take a matter of one week, or less …
There will initially be no cap on the number of visas that can be issued; for the first three years, the market and the needs of U.S. employers will set the limit on the number of guest workers … After three years, however, a reasonable limit on the number of these “W” visas will be determined by the Department of Labor, based on employment statistics, employer needs and other research.
Pence actually described his business-first, cheap-labor-for-ever proposal as “the real rational middle ground.”
In contrast, real-estate entrepreneur Trump won the 2016 election with a popular pro-employee agenda, which is now helping Americans win higher salaries because companies can’t easily import foreign replacements across the line at the United States-Mexican border.
In the Thursday White House meeting with Trump, Pence declined to support Trump’s plan to change the law so that immigration rules help Americans, and he instead touted a quick amnesty for ‘DACA’ illegals:
Mr. President, you’ve made immigration a centerpiece in the national debate over the last year and a half. And you said all along the way we’re going to build a wall and reform our immigration system. We’re going to enforce the laws of this country for the citizens of this country.
But you’ve also said along the way we’re going to do it with a big heart. And you’ve opened the door to an agreement on DACA, and today is part of an ongoing discussion with these Republican leaders but also with Democrats on Capitol Hill to accomplish that. And I look forward to being a part of it.
However, the exit of Tillis and Lankford from the “ongoing discussion” will make it harder for Pence “to being a part of it.” Before the group split Thursday afternoon, Pence Tweeted:
Great meeting w/ Senators & @POTUS on immigration. This President is keeping his promises to build the WALL & fix our immigration system. We’re going to enforce the laws of this country for the citizens of this country!
Alyssa Farah, a spokeswoman for the Vice President, dismissed Breitbart’s questions about Pence’s commitment to Trump’s high-wages policy. “Of course the VICE PRESIDENT supports the President’s agenda– it’s their shared agenda that they work on together day in and day out,” she said in an E-mail.
However, she twice declined to say if Pence has renounced his 2007 “moderate” op-ed. She also declined to say if Pence had invited Flake to the meeting.
In a later comment, she added:
Your story yesterday is false. The VP doesn’t invite any individuals to meetings unless its at the President’s direction.
Trump’s aggressive reiteration of his pro-American policies during the meeting was a shocking turnabout for pro-amnesty GOP Senators, who had hoped to persuade Trump to make amnesty concessions to Democrats, partly by backing industry claims that Trump faces a staged January 19 deadline for a deal.
Cornyn says Judiciary R’s meeting w Trump tmrw on DACA.
“As soon as the president will tell us ‘OK this is something I can support’ then that gives us I think a lot of room to go talk to Democrats and say ‘OK this is what our parameters are.’”
Trump’s priorities are very popular with voters and can help GOP candidates overcome the expected wave of angry Democratic voters in November 2018.
For example, a December poll of likely 2018 voters shows two-to-one support for Trump’s pro-American immigration policies, and a lopsided four-to-one opposition against the cheap-labor, mass-immigration, economic policy pushed by bipartisan establishment-backed D.C. interest-groups.
The poll for NumbersUSA is another reminder to politicians that the business-funded ‘Nation of Immigrants” polls distract attention from voters’ private views, which were shockingly displayed on the evening of November 8, 2016.
Business groups and Democrats tout the misleading, industry-funded “Nation of Immigrants” polls because they which pressure Americans to say they welcome migrants, including the roughly 700,000 ‘DACA’ illegals and the roughly 3 million ‘dreamer’ illegals.
The alternative “priority” or “fairness” polls — plus the 2016 election — show that voters in the polling booths put a much higher priority on helping their families, neighbors, and fellow nationals get decent jobs in a high-tech, high-immigration, low-wage economy.
Four million Americans turn 18 each year and begin looking for good jobs in the free market.
But the federal government inflates the supply of new labor by annually accepting more than 1 million new legal immigrants, by providing work-permits to roughly 3 million resident foreigners, and by doing little to block the employment of roughly 8 million illegal immigrants.
This Washington-imposed economic policy of mass-immigration floods the market with foreign labor, spikes profits and Wall Street values by cutting salaries for manual and skilled labor offered by blue-collar and white-collar employees. It also drives up real estate prices, widens wealth-gaps, reduces high-tech investment, increases state and local tax burdens, hurts kids’ schools and college education, pushes Americans away from high-tech careers, and sidelines at least 5 million marginalized Americans and their families, including many who are now struggling with opioid addictions.
The cheap-labor policy has also reduced investment and job creation in many interior states because the coastal cities have a surplus of imported labor. For example, almost 27 percent of zip codes in Missouri had fewer jobs or businesses in 2015 than in 2000, according to a new report by the Economic Innovation Group. In Kansas, almost 29 percent of zip codes had fewer jobs and businesses in 2015 compared to 2000, which was a two-decade period of massive cheap-labor immigration.
Because of the successful cheap-labor strategy, wages for men have remained flat since 1973, and a large percentage of the nation’s annual income has shifted to investors and away from employees.
Trump decried Bannon’s participation in interviews for the book released on Friday by Michael Wolff.
“Michael Wolff is a total loser who made up stories in order to sell this really boring and untruthful book,” Trump wrote. “He used Sloppy Steve Bannon, who cried when he got fired and begged for his job. Now Sloppy Steve has been dumped like a dog by almost everyone. Too bad!”
Michael Wolff is a total loser who made up stories in order to sell this really boring and untruthful book. He used Sloppy Steve Bannon, who cried when he got fired and begged for his job. Now Sloppy Steve has been dumped like a dog by almost everyone. Too bad! https://twitter.com/gop/status/949395088735723520 …
Trump and his White House aides are using Bannon as a foil for the controversial book, as many of the stories feature negative information about the president’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, and her husband, Jared Kushner. Wolff also delivers sharp criticism of the president, despite White House aides giving him access to the senior staff in the West Wing.
The president sent his comment on Twitter late Friday night after traveling to Camp David to discuss his future agenda with Republican leaders in Congress.