By Peter Galuszka
Down Danville way, of eight companies that have received money from the Tobacco Region Opportunity Fund (the old, embattled tobacco commission) only two have managed to fulfill contractual obligations to create jobs and help the local economy.
According to a report by Vicky M. Cruz in the Danville Register & Bee, the six firms that have failed to meet their obligations mean a loss of 1,340 potential jobs and $63 million in local investment. It also means that Danville owes the tobacco commission $5.47 million.
Here’s a list of the companies.
The tobacco commission has been around since 1999 to supposedly help residents in the tobacco growing areas of the state move into non-leaf related jobs. The money came from the huge multi-billion dollar Master Settlement Agreement between four cigarette companies and 46 states that had sued them over health concerns.
The tobacco commission has been a bit of a sham. Money has been doled out without checks on how it was spent or how successful projects have been. A former director ended up in prison for siphoning off funds. A state audit has been ultra-critical of the fund, which figured in the political corruption conviction of former Gov. Robert F. McDonnell and his wife.
Last month, Gov. Terry McAuliffe renamed the fund, appointed a new director and changed its board. The cases reported by the Register & Bee obviously date before the reforms. Let’s hope they work.
(Hat tip to Larry Gross).There are currently no comments highlighted.