RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Democratic gubernatorial nominee Terry McAuliffe quietly gave up his position as chairman of a company that makes small electric cars in December, but never announced his departure.
The former Democratic National Committee chairman's exit from GreenTech Automotive under growing media scrutiny was first reported Friday by Politico.
McAuliffe's campaign never disclosed his departure, even as he campaigned statewide for months touting his acumen as a creator of jobs. GreenTech never publicized his exit, nor is there mention of it now on its website, though McAuliffe is no longer listed as an officer there.
GreenTech CEO Charles Wang accepted McAuliffe's resignation in a letter dated Dec. 1, thanking him "for providing vision which helped found the company's core values encompassing green technology, affordability and job creation."
Since then, The Associated Press and other news organizations have scrutinized GreenTech's efforts to begin production of the tiny MyCar electric vehicles at two northern Mississippi sites.
McAuliffe purchased GreenTech from the Chinese government in 2009. He pledged to move production of its golf cart-sized MyCar electrical vehicles to the United States.
Last July, former President Bill Clinton — a longtime friend for whom McAuliffe was a campaign fundraiser — and Republican former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour joined McAuliffe for the opening of a GreenTech production site in part of a former elevator factory in Horn Lake, Miss., a suburb of Memphis, Tenn.
Few cars have rolled off the Horn Lake assembly line, critics allege, and a large tract of Delta farmland in Tunica County, Miss., about 30 miles to the southwest, that GreenTech purchased for a 300,000 square-foot permanent factory has not progressed beyond site preparation.
McAuliffe claimed last fall that the project went to Mississippi after Virginia showed no interest in GreenTech and never bid for a factory. Records AP obtained, however, documented that Virginia economic development officials showed GreenTech representatives several prospective sites, but got too few details from the company about the venture to secure Virginia incentives.
McAuliffe's campaign made little of Friday's news, dismissing it simply as an action McAuliffe took after declaring his candidacy in November. Spokesman Josh Schwerin contrasted McAuliffe's exit from GreenTech with Republican Ken Cuccinelli's refusal to resign as state attorney general to run full time for governor, something six attorneys general since 1985 have done.
"...Terry has been focused on running for governor full-time as he travels around the Commonwealth to hear the best mainstream ideas to grow Virginia's economy," Schwerin said.
Cuccinelli called McAuliffe's stealthy exit from GreenTech "an admission of failure where he has been claiming success. McAuliffe believes his business acumen qualifies him to be governor ... and this revelation completely invalidates the central premise of his candidacy."
Phil Cox, the executive director of the Republican Governors Association, alleged that McAuliffe for months had "misled Virginia voters about his involvement with GreenTech and the company's business dealings."