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Deja vu all over again

SoVaNow.com / July 23, 2015


Dear Viewpoint:

Several weeks ago a local newspaper, picking up upon comments made at a Board of Supervisors meeting, touted that 1000 jobs from “Project Roy” could be coming to Halifax County. This was followed up by revelations in the paper regarding the $100,000 being spent by the IDA in preparing broadband for the new 1,000 job venture. Deja Vu. The project fell through about 10 days prior to the newspaper touting the forthcoming 1,000 jobs, although the paper was not informed of the situation for several days after the deal fell through.

I have been through several cycles of the IDA announcing a “mystery project” coming to Halifax County. This time the only difference is that the money given to the IDA was not spent before the project disappeared. If memory serves me correctly, Project Colt fell through some 2 and 1⁄2 years ago less than a week after the IDA received $150,000 from the County and $1,300,000 from the Tobacco Commission to spend on the Greenview rehabilitation at the old Daystrom Building. The company in question moved to Charlotte County instead. It seems that every few years the IDA announces a mystery project which rarely if ever materializes.

I have been unfairly accused by John Cannon of “killing Halifax County economically” when the IDA was on the “cusp” of landing Project Roy. Mr. Cannon has been on the IDA for some 23 years working to bring industry to Halifax County with limited success. I could not have destroyed 23 years of no progress in just 3 and 1⁄2 years as one member of the Board of Supervisors. What I have attempted to accomplish in my short time on the Board of Supervisors is to bring a reality check to what the IDA is doing with public funds and to question both how these funds are being spent and where they are going (as are many other citizens of Halifax County).

The comments section of a recent article in the News & Record online contained a reference to a company named Bur – Can, LLC. A search of the State Corporation Commission records indicates that the company exists, was incorporated in 1993 and that a John Cannon on Shady Lane in Halifax County is the Registered Agent. Another LLC but with almost the same name Bur – Can II and incorporated in 2013 with the same registered agent can also be found. The question still remains who are the owners of these corporations, what is the link, if any, between the owners and the IDA.

Governor Terry McAuliffe has appointed a new Executive Director of the Tobacco Commission and is calling for an investigation into the lending practices of the Tobacco Commission since, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, over $1 billion has been “invested” in Southside Virginia in the last 15 years with poor or no results. Halifax has received a good part of these funds since John Cannon is on both the Tobacco Commission and the IDA, probably in excess of $120 million over the last 15 years including local “investments.” A newly purchased member on the Board Supervisors rather than someone questioning the IDA would be an invaluable asset to the efforts of the IDA in obtaining local participation in funding for the IDA projects such as Project Colt and Project Roy with some of the construction contracts being let on a “no bid” basis.

The City of Danville received $6 million from the Tobacco Commission in an effort to attract industry to the City. In a hurry to complete deals, Danville officials committed to give funds to industries which either failed to fulfill their obligations or who took the funds and did not locate in Danville. Now the Tobacco Commission is requesting the return of these funds leaving the City of Danville with a debt of $6 million. Could it happen in Halifax County if control of the Board of Supervisors passes to the leadership of the leaders of the IDA with the election of Supervisors beholden to the current IDA leadership?

Some voters in their haste to “vote them all out” may be casting their votes to accomplish just that. It should be obvious that backers of a candidate with limited credentials and experience are not providing their support out of the goodness of their hearts.

I have proved my independence from special interests over the last three and a half years on the Board of Supervisors as evidenced by the actions of some of the members of these special interests. They are attempting to replace me with someone who will be under their influence evidenced by the financial support provided by them to my opponent. A vote for Rogers will be a vote for John Cannon.

“Integrity is doing what is right when no one is looking”

Barry Bank
Fifth District Supervisor
Halifax County



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