After $15M, promised jobs still unfilled

from WCNC.COM

RANLO, N.C. -- The military promises the company millions in defense contracts.

The company gets help from a key member of Congress, who receives thousands in campaign donations from company execs.

But now, after five years and $15 million of your tax dollars, what about the company's promise to hire hundreds of new workers in Gaston County?

That’s the situation the WCNC Investigators found at Defense Technologies Incorporated -- a Ranlo defense contractor headed locally by John Torbett, who’s also a Gaston County commissioner.

WCNC: “You don't have anybody working here yet.”

Torbett: “We're not making anything yet.”

WCNC: “And I guess the people who live in Gaston County are saying you're not hiring anybody either. When will that happen?”

Torbett: “Gosh, I wish I could just put an absolute date on it. I can't say that today. There’s no way I can say that today.”

On DTI’s website, WCNC found an impressive Star Wars-style mission statement, claiming they “support and protect the war fighter with dominating combat power.”

But their headquarters here in a former textile mill isn't exactly the Pentagon. All WCNC found on the job were a few engineers, in offices along mostly empty hallways, connecting mostly empty laboratories and workshops.

The DTI engineers admit a lot of the parts for the company’s high-tech military research projects come right off the retail shelves at Best Buy and Radio Shack. And after four years of federal funding, the military still hasn't ordered a single one of DTI’s unmanned ground vehicles, or their drone airplanes, or the company’s computer control systems.

Not one.

Meanwhile, back on their Web site, WCNC also found stories touting a “200 employee” manufacturing plant, bringing “technology jobs” to replace the jobs that struggling Gaston County has lost.

WCNC also asked Torbett, the DTI vice president, about an interview we found posted on line at dtiweb.net, claiming 200 hundred workers are already on the DTI payroll, with 200 more still to be hired, at salaries of $50,000 a year.

Torbett: “I haven’t seen that.”

WCNC: “Yeah, it's on your Web site.”

Torbett: “That one's on our Web site?

WCNC: “Yeah. It's from an interview from Sue Myrick, with a newspaper in Huntersville.”

That same interview, which bragged about hundreds of high-paying DTI jobs that don't actually exist, also turned up on Charlotte Congresswoman Sue Myrick's Web site – after Rep. Myrick helped Defense Technologies win more than $15 million in federal funding since 2003.

Myrick now admits “we made a mistake in saying 200 jobs.”

“Quite frankly,” continued Myrick, “if I went over there and found a bunch of Mercedes and Lexuses parked out front, I'd be a little disturbed. But I think they're being frugal with their money.”

Even though they haven’t hired the people in Gaston County they promised to hire? “Right,” answered Myrick. “Exactly. They (Gaston County) have benefited some, and hopefully they will in the future.”

But WCNC’s search of Federal Election Commission campaign funding records shows Rep. Myrick has benefited from DTI already.

The FEC reports that DTI’s out-of-state president has given the campaign organization Sue Myrick for Congress more than $5,000 over the past four years. The company’s out-of-state chief financial officer has contributed $3,000. And Defense Technologies’ out-of-state vice president gave almost $8,000 in campaign donations to Rep. Myrick, since DTI started getting all that federal funding.

WCNC: “Were they contributors to your campaign before they got those dollars to move to Gaston County?”

Rep. Myrick: “I did not know them before that. No they weren't a contributor, because they weren't in my district… I'm an open book. Everything I do is an open book.”

Meanwhile, “the focus here in Gaston County is still jobs, jobs, jobs.” That's a quote WCNC found back in 2004, from Gaston County commissioner John Torbett. That’s the same John Torbett who also runs DTI, where hundreds of jobs from all that federal funding still haven't materialized -- and where the chief job recruiter for Gaston County’s Economic Development Commission says there's not much the county can do about it.

“Had there been incentive programs in place,” explains executive director Donny Hicks, “then we'd going back saying ‘hey – we want our money back.’”

“I just know that everything we do is obviously open,” responds Torbett. “Everything is government inspected, highly regulated, cost analyzed. We're doing what the government expects us to do.”

But Torbett didn’t say what taxpayers expect DTI to do – after all those millions in taxpayer dollars, and all those promises of new jobs.

Also, after WCNC started asking questions about Defense Technologies, those claims of hundreds of jobs we found on the company Web site disappeared. We called Torbett to ask him why. Torbett never returned that call. WCNC also phoned DTI’s corporate headquarters in Tampa, Fla. to find out more about those campaign donations to Rep. Myrick from company executives. They didn't call back either.

Comments

Nice catch

the GOP needs to change their initials to POL - Party of Lies.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

GOP

Greedy old party. That's the driver. Lies are just a means to an end.

This particular form of greed is especially odious. Torbett and Myrick are part of the killing industry. Defense Technologies. Erik Prince. Blackwater USA. Womble Carlyle Sandridge Rice. War profiteers all.

Watch this space

We're going to need to add Howard Coble and his "Growler" plant in Robbins. More coming soon.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

Saw that report on WCNC last night

I really hope this story gains traction...the Taylor campaign needs to jump all over it!

Myrick is a mess...but the local media never seemed to care, so it's good to see them finally doing their job.

Actually, this is quite Typical of thousands of Bush contracts

Under the Bush administration and the Republican Congress almost everything was related to Party and incentive to party loyalty.

Thousands of these kinds of contracts have been granted under Bush. Blackwater is another example of the very same patronage.

Hundreds of Security companies who could have competed and benefited from security contracts in America, Iraq and Afghanistan, but Blackwater was the Republican doll. And we all know what happened there.

The Bush Administration turned our treasury into a banguet table for Republican contractors.

Marshall Adame
2014 U.S. Congress Candidate NC-03

Don't you just hate it that this kind of story is so

commonplace these days and the bastards don't even have the decency to try and make up some good lies?
It is as though ever since the Bush Administration has come into office, governmental cheating, lying, stealing and general malfeasance on the part of our elected officials and corporations has become OK. It's fine, just some money stealing, move along, nothing to see.

North Carolina. Turning the South Blue!

North Carolina. Turning the South Blue!

rewarding political donors

Myrick now admits “we made a mistake in saying 200 jobs.”

“Quite frankly,” continued Myrick, “if I went over there and found a bunch of Mercedes and Lexuses parked out front, I'd be a little disturbed. But I think they're being frugal with their money.”

Even though they haven’t hired the people in Gaston County they promised to hire? “Right,” answered Myrick. “Exactly. They (Gaston County) have benefited some, and hopefully they will in the future.”

But WCNC’s search of Federal Election Commission campaign funding records shows Rep. Myrick has benefited from DTI already.

The FEC reports that DTI’s out-of-state president has given the campaign organization Sue Myrick for Congress more than $5,000 over the past four years. The company’s out-of-state chief financial officer has contributed $3,000. And Defense Technologies’ out-of-state vice president gave almost $8,000 in campaign donations to Rep. Myrick, since DTI started getting all that federal funding.

This is how Sue Myrick and the Bush crowd plays the game; reward political donors with "contracts", earmarks, special deals, etc, and stick the taxpayers with the bill and no benefit!

Cronyism and corruption run wild!

Myrick must go!!!

Party before All

Competence is a second-tier factor when the Bush administration starts talking about money. Party comes first.

One of the pitfalls of childhood is that one doesn't have to understand something to feel it. - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

Maybe they should have listened 5 years ago

In my unsuccessful run for Myrick's office in 2005, I brought this whole isue about DTI to the attention of the press and no one seemed to care. I was also contacted by a former employee of the firm in question, that the principles of DTI had been called into the US District Court in Norfolk for hearings regarding Defense Contract Fraud. No one bit that one either. I only wish that the blogosphere had been as strong then as it is now.

I think the next thing that people should look at in regards to Myrick, is her campaign's use of her husband's "advertising" firm. She funnels almost a quarter of a million dollars into his firm, Myrick/Gunter Advertising. Just look it up in the Yellow Pages either in print or on line. It is the only advertising firm that I know of (and I work in the industry) that has no business phone listed or any reference online, not even a website.

Just thought I would throw my two-cents into the mix.

Hi Jack!

Nice to see you joining us. I had heard you were running this cycle. I've also heard the advertising firm bit....as a matter of fact, I've heard it for a long time back when she was Mayor of Charlotte I think. Even if she isn't breaking the law, she spends hundreds of thousands on unnecessary advertising just to funnel money to her family. It looks bad even if it isn't breaking a law.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

The rumors of my run are just that

Glad to hear that people still think that I should run again, but after the last couple of years, losing to Tricia Cotham for Black's seat and being used as a firewall in the City Council race, I feel that I should stick with what I am doing, that is advocating for veterans. I don't know if you are aware that I was appointed by Gov. Easley in July to sit on the NC Commission for Veterans Affairs. I am also heavily involved in rebuilding the Charlotte Chapter of the Disabled American Veterans. I am in the process this year of working with our local County Commissioners as well as City Council to bring forth an initiative to help homeless vets.

I ask everyone out there, to support one of the two gentlemen running in the primary, Harry Taylor or Ross Overby. I've talked to both and I feel that we can gain some traction this year if our own local party doesn't implode before November. I am trying to remain as neutral as I can so as not to influence anybody.

Keep up the good work you all. I will be posting more this year at BlueNC and wish everyone good luck.