Electrolux asks state for money for Memphis factory - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Electrolux asks state for money for Memphis factory

By Kontji Anthony - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - An Electrolux executive has told the state of Tennessee that it may not build a kitchen appliance factory in Memphis if the Legislature fails to provide millions of dollars for the facility by June 1.

A letter sent Wednesday to the Shelby County Attorney says public funding to bring Electrolux to Memphis was supposed to be paid January 31st.

The Electrolux Project Director uses strong language, saying the money must be paid or Electrolux will "terminate the Project Agreement."

"Many of the issues in the letter are really related to issues at the state level," said Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell.

According to Luttrell, Memphis and the County have paid their share, but the deal was sealed after the November election and before Inauguration Day, leaving state funding in limbo.

"Once the governor transitioned, really the only players that were constant in this game were Memphis/Shelby County officials," he said.

Governor Bill Haslam's cabinet wasn't even in place at that point, so the state has not had a chance to secure their portion of the funds for Electrolux.

"That letter is really indicative of the fact that we really needed to get Electrolux to talk directly to the state," Luttrell said.

The letter indicates "Electrolux is not in a position to delay."

They have two demands: They want the funds the government committed to the project and written "…confirmation…regarding approved expenditures…"

Memphis and Shelby County leaders took a trip to Nashville this week to put Electrolux in touch with state leaders, and they've been talking all week.

"Governor Haslam, as the Governor-elect has made a commitment that he is going to honor this," Luttrell said.

Luttrell says Electrolux has been patient.

"Same amount of money is still on the table," he said. "The same number of jobs.  In fact, in some of our discussions with Electrolux earlier this week, they even talked about expanding the plant which could increase employment even more."

On hold right now is 97 million dollars in start-up money for site planning and equipment purchases.  Luttrell remains confident Electrolux will break ground in Memphis as originally planned, and said he hopes the state can work everything out over the next few days.

Copyright 2011 WMC-TV. All rights reserved. The AP contributed to this story.

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