The mayor of Manchester said he believes city officials fell victim to an investor scam.
About three years ago, Waste Not Technologies investing in Clay County, but the company never came and now the city is in a financial crunch.
“It was a scam,” said Mayor George Saylor.
Mayor George Saylor said even as a councilman in 2009, he did not buy the offers made by the Florida based company Waste Not Technologies. Saylor said the company was part of Global Green Holdings and had talked with other rural states about investing also.
“I always thought why would they come here, make a $150,000,000 investment and go to a hollow where it is going to take $44,000,000 dollars to get the land level that they needed,” said Saylor.
He said when he and two other council members tried to say “this is a rip off” they were told “you are just like everyone else who does not want change in this town.”
The company promised to build a facility equipped to employ 1,400 people and pay them an average of around $15 per hour. Saylor said he thought it was too good to be true.
Saylor said the city has been “hit bad” by the scammers.
“We are a small town and you take 100,000, probably be 150,000, 160,000 counting everything, a year, if you took that out of our budget, I mean it's just like down a crawdad's hole,” said Saylor. I
“It's got us to where we can't do anything else.”
Since March of 2010, no work has been done to the 450 acres of eroded, now unused land the city was contracted to buy.
The mayor said that the only financial setbacks they had were with the land. He said that he feared that the publicity gained during the ground breaking of the site could have been something that they were able to take on to other potential clients.
“They got thirty copies of the newspapers and six DVDs and took with them, I think their scam was that they took that and showed it to other overseas investors,” said Saylor.
“They have been in 7 or 8 states doing the same thing and they are still doing it today,” said Saylor.
”I don't know why they have been arrested.”
Saylor said he was adamant about getting information on the company.
“I had their website but it was only up for a couple of months and now it is gone,” said Saylor.
He said he had not heard from anyone in the company since 2010. In 2009, a spokesman for the company, Tommy Harrison, told the Lexington Herald-Leader that the company saw themselves building factories across the country.
Saylor said the city is being sued for half a million dollars worth of unpaid bills for work done at the site.
The mayor said he has had a couple of companies looking to build in Manchester, but those would be minimum wage paying jobs. He said the city is breaking even, but he is worried about borrowing in the future for economic growth, since they now have no real equity.