(WMC-TV) - An upstart electric car company made the promise of providing hundreds of new jobs in North Mississippi almost one year ago. Taxpayers helped foot the bill to land Greentech Automotive, and now they want a return on their investment.
With one of the worst unemployment rates in the country, many people in Mississippi need every opportunity they can get.
When a company commits to creating hundreds of jobs, it gets people's attention.
It was an announcement that felt more like a party as the guest list included former President Bill Clinton, former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, and former Greentech Automotive chairman Terry McAuliffe.
They all had big plans for Greentech Automotive to create electric cars, and more importantly jobs in north Mississippi.
"This is all creating jobs in the United States of America, it's a new technology," said McAuliffe at the time. "You know it's not easy to start a car company, but we're making them, we're selling them, and it's good for America."
One year later and the party is over, people want to know where the jobs are.
Terry McAuliffe is no longer with the company. He is now running for Governor of Virginia.
Now model cars are gone from outside of the plant. The only evidence Action News 5 investigators found of any electric car production were a couple of cars whizzing around the parking lot after our crew started filming.
Based on last year's announcement this facility should be booming by now.
"If I can be successful and make 10,000 cars in the next 12 months in Horn Lake and then ship them over to Denmark, that's a huge win for me the company, and most importantly Mississippi," said McAuliffe in July 2012.
For months, the Action News 5 Investigators asked to get back inside Greentech to see the operation and the Mid-Southerners hired to fill those promised positions. Greentech Vice President Marianne McInerney denied our requests each time, but share 78 employees worked inside.
Late in the spring, the company announced plans for a new $25,000 sedan to be built before moving production to another facility in Tunica County – a facility that came with its own set of promises.
Overgrown grass surrounds the gravel lot of the $60 million dollar investment in Tunica. Greentech had hoped to finish the facility in Tunica by the end of this year. McInerney said they are shooting for early 2014.
"We always be promised something here, and it doesn't always come out normally the way you think it is. You have to wait and wait and wait," said North Mississippi resident Sherry Carodine.
Carodine is waiting to apply for one of those hundreds of jobs promised to North Mississippians.
"It'll take a lot of people off unemployment and give them jobs you know. People need it around here," said North Mississippi resident Patricia Saveley.
Based on a deal with the state, Greentech must create 350 jobs by the end of 2014 or 3 years after the start of commercial production.
A spokesperson for the Mississippi Development Authority said Greentech has done everything it said it would as part of a taxpayer agreement to receive $5 million in loans from taxpayers and the state of Mississippi. MDA officials could not say when the last time they toured either Greentech site.