NEUTERING CADDO COMMISSION’S ELIO / LICHTER BLACK-OUT
As we now know, and as I have reported recently on realshreveport.com and social media, our Caddo Parish Commission is working on behalf of Elio Motors to shred the most basic tenets of governmental transparency.
To begin, Paul Elio wanted to (illegally) meet with commissioners as a group in private.
When that failed, he somehow recruited our parish attorney to draw up non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) commissioners would be compelled to sign before meeting with him individually.
In spite of this full-court press to drop a cloak over this fiasco, Elio Motors and other public companies must file very revealing federal reports.
Most notable, in context, is the SEC – Security and Exchange Commission “1-K.”
The latest one for Elio Motors – all 183 pages of it – was filed two weeks ago, on May 1, with information through Dec. 31, 2016.
There is much in the report to warn any still-unsuspecting Caddoans about both the genesis and likely future of this debacle.
At best, this deal between the Commission on one side, and Stuart J. Lichter / Paul Elio on the other, is headed the wrong way.
Here are details:
• General Motors filed for bankruptcy on June 1, 2009, but operated into the fall of 2012.
• In March 2011, our G.M. facility and 88 others were taken over by a federal entity, Racer Trust (Revitalizing Auto Communities Environmental Response).
• In 2013, Racer Trust sold the physical plant to the Commission and its Industrial Development Board (IDB) for $7.5 million. The equipment went to Elio Motors for $3 million in cash, plus a $23 million promissory note.
• The Racer Trust contract directs that IDB lease the plant to two Lichter companies, Industrial Realty Group (IRG) and Shreveport Business Park, LLC, with IRG operating and managing the plant for the Commission.
• Elio Motors was to go into production in April 2014 and provide 1,500 jobs.
Too, Lichter has been on the board of directors of Elio Motors since
2012, and owned, at the end of 2016, 28.5 percent of Elio Motors stock …
Elio Motors has taken in just under $48 million in deposits for its
supposed three-wheel cars: $2,340,000 refundable, and $45,623,236
• As of Dec. 31, 2016, Elio Motors had debt of $129,518,027, of which $40,936,292 must be paid in “less than one year.”
• In three separate transactions in 2014, Lichter loaned Elio Motors $1,900,500 and separately advanced the company $5,770,000 in 2016.
• A $9.85 million piece of the $23 million loan which secured Elio’s purchase of the plant’s “machinery and equipment” is held by CH Capital Lending, another Lichter entity. First due on July 31, 2015, Lichter has extended payment until July 31, 2018.
• As of Dec. 31, 2016, Elio has received $5.08 million – net – by selling G.M. plant equipment, money which went to CH Capital Lending. Another $1.3 million is said by Elio to be “available for sale.”
• Lichter / Elio money juggling is one thing, but the heavy debt to Racer Trust for plant equipment is another:
“The note to Racer Trust is secured by a lien subordinated to the lien of CH Capital Lending on certain machinery and equipment and is non-interest bearing, but has default interest of 18 percent per annum. The note, as amended, requires a monthly principal payment of $173,500 on June 1, 2017, with the remaining outstanding principal due on July 1, 2017.”
As I earlier reported, Lichter personally put up $5,000 to help a downtown Shreveport PAC try to pass the Commission’s recent list of property tax millages.
Given how much information in this SEC filing is unfavorable for Elio / Lichter, taxpayers are very wrongly left to wonder what some Commissioners and top staff know what we do not.
Here is the SEC 1-K report: pdf.secdatabase/com/569/0001214659-17- 002855.pdf To be continued …
Elliott Stonecipher is a native and resident of Shreveport, La. A graduate of Louisiana Tech University and Louisiana State University, he is president and owner of Evets Management Services Inc. Since Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Stonecipher has committed to pro bono work on a range of local, state and national issues, including reform of governmental and political ethics, and reform of national policies governing the U. S. Census Bureau. His work has been published in The Wall Street Journal, and he has appeared on CNN and Fox News Channel.