State out $16m in Schott Solar closure: “It’s infuriating,” Susana says UPDATE: State will get $3.3m in clawbacks
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Update 1/7/13: The New Mexico Finance Authority says the state will receive $3.3 million in clawbacks from Schott Solar. According to Albuquerque Business First, Schott will make a $3.3 million payment in 2016 to Finance New Mexico, a subsidary of the finance authority. Click here to read the story.
Back on Thursday night (June 28), we posted the news that Schott Solar was shutting down its plant in Albuquerque and will lay off 250 employees.
Schott received millions from various government entities in New Mexico to relocate here.
But while Bernalillo County and the City of Albuquerque will receive some of the money back it gave Schott Solar in Local Economic Development Act funding, it’s now been learned that none of the $16 million it received from the state of New Mexico under the guidance of then-Gov. Bill Richardson will have to be returned.
From KOB-TV’s Chris Ramirez:
The County and City will get all or part of the funds back because they negotiated claw back provisions.
And since SCHOTT Solar did not meet its obligations, the governments are entitled to recoup the funds.
However, KOB 4 On Your Side uncovered a document that reads “the State of New Mexico specifically requested that no performance claw backs be tied to their contribution.
That means while the City and County are entitled to get funds from SCHOTT Solar, the Bill Richardson Administration negotiated a $16 million loss for the State.
We showed the documents to current Governor Susana Martinez.
“The State did not want (claw back provisions) under the Richardson Administration,” Martinez said. “They basically gave away taxpayer dollars with no consequences. It’s infuriating because they took tax dollars, state money and ran and we can’t get any of it back.”
The Richardson administration was a big backer of green energy development and had hopes for creating a “Solar Valley” in New Mexico that could rival the “Silicon Valley” but many of the investments never got off the ground.
In 2010, Jim Scarantino of the New Mexico Watchdog filed a number of stories centering on the the Green2V project in Rio Rancho that was unveiled to much fanfare and talk of $500 million for a solar-panel construction complex but the city ended up repealing the local Economic Development Act Ordinance giving tax incentives to the corportation in 2011.
As for the closing of Schott Solar and how the state is now in no legal position to get back any of its $16 million, here’s the story from KOB: