A Senate committee’s hearing into failed economic development proposals, including the artificial sweetener project in Moberly, continues on Wednesday. Click to hear KMZU’s Chelsea Wade talk with Senator Jim Lembke, R-St. Louis County, Chairman of the Senate Governmental Accountability Committee:
“The Department of Economic Development and those involved should have seen the warning signs. When red flags went up, they were ignored,” Lembke said. “When they’re pitching deals they need to have the safe guards in place. There are taxpayer dollars that are being invested into these projects across the state. You can have the argument on whether these tools are proper tools to make Missouri competitive with neighboring states and a global economy. But certainly when we make investments with taxpayers’ dollars we need to make sure we don’t have situations like Mamtek in the future.”
The Chinese company was supposed to bring hundreds of jobs to Moberly. The city issued $39 million in bonds to finance the project. Mamtek defaulted on their payments when things unraveled in Sept. 2011.
The House Special Standing Committee on Government Oversight and Accountability is scheduled to meet on Thursday. Mamtek’s patent attorney Michael Wise, site selection consultant Tom Smith, and representatives from credit ratings agency Standard & Poor’s are scheduled to testify. Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster and Randolph County Prosecutor Mike Fusselman are conducting a separate, joint criminal investigation.