ROBINSONVILLE, Miss. — They promised jobs — and lots of them — but after accepting millions in taxpayer money, a Tunica County car manufacturer is refusing to say how many jobs were actually created.
GreenTech Automotive got a $3 million loan from the state of Mississippi in 2011 to build the Robinsonville facility with the promise that they would create 350 jobs. Close to $1.9 million was loaned to Tunica County to support the project.
But now the Mississippi Development Authority said GreenTech has fallen short of the promised 350 jobs.
“If we pay our taxes for it, it should be here,” said Tunica County resident Billy Jackson.
WREG called and emailed the spokesman listed on GreenTech's website and never heard back.
Tuesday afternoon, we dropped by the Robinsonville plant, where we were promptly greeted by a manager.
“Right now, we’re building cars here, and we don’t talk to any kind of press,” said Terey Agner, manager of GreenTech's plant.
Agner refused to say how many people the plant employed.
“No, no, I can’t do anything,” said Agner.
We received a similar response from the Tunica County Chamber of Commerce, which hailed GreenTech's arrival when it opened its plant in 2014.
“My only statement is that GreenTech has people employed and they are working,” said Lyn Arnold, CEO of the Chamber.
“These companies that come in and expect to get tax breaks and make promises about jobs, they need to keep their word,” said Brooks Taylor, publisher of the Tunica Times.
Taylor has tracked GreenTech's progress since 2009, when they promised their Robinsonville plant would create 1,500 jobs.
They later revised that figure to 350.
“There’s nothing here. $5 million could have did a whole lot more to the town, to the city and it went to one job, one company,” said Jackson.
In addition to the added jobs, GreenTech had said it would also produce 30,000 cars per year at its plant.
We don't know if GreenTech is currently meeting that goal.