Company founded by ex-Virginia governor files for bankruptcy

MarketsAssociated Press

A company founded by former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has filed for bankruptcy, citing negative press and lawsuits by investors who call it a "scam perpetrated by savvy and politically connected operatives" to exploit overseas investors.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that the bankruptcy filing by the electric car company cites $7.5 million won by 12 investors and pending lawsuits. It says GreenTech Automotive raised almost $142 million from investors from 2009 to 2013 as part of a visa program that offered immigrant investors permanent residency, and says investors were warned the status wasn't guaranteed.

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It also says Watchdog.org articles prompted federal investigations and negative attention. GreenTech's 2013 $85 million lawsuit against Watchdog.org was dismissed.

The company shut down its Mississippi plant last year. The Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing also lists almost $5 million in debt owed to the state of Mississippi and Tunica County, which offered it economic development incentives to open a manufacturing facility there. The filing also points a finger at U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, a Republican from Iowa. Grassley had raised national security concerns related to GreenTech's visa program usage. And yet another finger points at a 2015 lawsuit by an automotive parts company.

McAuliffe resigned from GreenTech in 2012, but featured the company prominently in his 2013 race.

A lawyer for GreenTech did not immediately respond to the newspaper's request for comment.

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Information from: Richmond Times-Dispatch, http://www.richmond.com