Judge dismisses McAuliffe from suit over failed car company

By MATTHEW BARAKATMarketsAssociated Press

A federal judge has dismissed former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe from a lawsuit alleging he defrauded investors in a failed electric-car company.

Thirty-two Chinese investors sued McAuliffe and Greentech Automotive Inc. last year. They say they were duped into investing $500,000 each into what they thought was a viable company.

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The investments were made under a federal program that let foreign nationals receive U.S. residency visas if they invest in companies that create U.S. jobs.

Greentech received millions of dollars in subsidies to build a plant in Mississippi but filed for bankruptcy earlier this year after never getting off the ground. The plaintiffs say Greentech's failure threatens their ability to remain in the U.S.

Judge Claude Hilton's March 30 ruling concluded the lawsuit failed to sufficiently articulate claims against McAuliffe.

Hilton, a senior judge in Alexandria, said the plaintiffs have 20 days to file an amended lawsuit if they wish.

Jonathan Link, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said Thursday evening that he does plan to file an amended lawsuit that will include details sufficient to meet the legal requirements to move forward.

McAuliffe had been Greentech's chairman but resigned in 2012. His lawyers argued he was unfairly dragged into the lawsuit years after his involvement with Greentech ended.

Hilton also dismissed Anthony Rodham, brother of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, from the suit. He was alleged to have played a role in recruiting investors and misrepresenting Greentech's viability.

The lawsuit against Greentech itself remains in place but has been put on hold while the company goes through bankruptcy.