No answers on project

Published 10:25 am Wednesday, May 15, 2013


FRANKLIN—In following up to The Tidewater News story about Franklin Pellets (“Where is Franklin Pellets?” May 4, 2013), the paper has since received no direct responses to questions for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe and his campaign.

Last Friday, the paper asked through Josh Schwerin, his press secretary, whether McAuliffe is still a partner or investor with Peter O’Keefe in CMI and Franklin Pellets; why was the candidate’s name recently taken off the CMI website; and if McAuliffe has completely separated himself from the GreenTech project in Mississippi.

Schwerin replied by forwarding a lengthy e-mail from Brennan Bilberry, communications director for McAuliffe. Sandwiched between information on Franklin Pellets and ecoFUELS and comments from other people about those ventures and the Virginia Port Authority was this:

“Terry was an investor and partner in CMI and ecoFUELS (the joint venture with multiFUELS), providing vision and guidance. When Terry started running for Governor full-time, he scaled back his involvement and is now an investor.”

Early Tuesday afternoon, the paper repeated its earlier questions, adding whether McAuliffe would “continue to tout the creation of green jobs in Virginia, even though neither GreenTech nor Franklin Pellets have yet produced a single job in the Commonwealth?”

A direct statement via phone or e-mail from McAuliffe was also requested.

Schwerin replied via e-mail mid-afternoon:

“Unlike Ken Cuccinelli who broke with bipartisan tradition and is now serving as a part-time Attorney General while continuing to accept full-time pay, Terry stepped back from active business interests to focus on running for Governor full-time. A similar point is made here:

The link takes the reader to a story about McAuliffe’s interest in Virginia community colleges as an important step to creating jobs in the Commonwealth.

Added were two other paragraphs quoting material from other newspapers.

Following this e-mail, the paper left both voice e-mails noting the questions asked remain unanswered, and that a prompt reply with the answers would be appreciated.