Sunday, February 19, 2012

Kestrel Aircraft, SOB’s, and Senator Stan the Minority Man.

Have we said before that when you look back on things, Alan Klapmeier, the aviation visionary, and his Kestrel Aircraft plans amounted to nothing much more than Jim Horowitz and the Oxford Aviation delusions of bringing jumbo-jets to Brunswick for overhaul work?

Opportunism is the word that ties them together.  Klapmeier wears cooler looking hats, but so what?

When you come right down to it, there’s more than enough venture capital in this country, and investors looking to get in on the ground floor, that if you have a really good idea and business plan, you shouldn’t have to fleece the taxpayers, especially the desperate ones, to get your enterprise up and running.

Klapmeier flirted with the MRRA, our local equivalent of a rich old spinster looking for a last fling at love, but before you know it, moved on to other temptations.

Local reports have described Superior, Wisconsin as the flirt who lured Klapmeier away from Brunswick.  And our very own Senator Stan the Minority Man has posted an essay on the subject.

It includes this passage:

Despite the public statements made by several prominent misinformed individuals about the deal, Kestrel was not chasing public grants around the country to support 100% of their capital needs, which were approximately $100 million. A project of their size requires a combination of private capital and governmental business incentives to be successful. The company had already raised cash and commitments of over $65 million in private equity…..


Far be it from us to question the Senator’s statements; his reputation when it comes to honesty precedes him.  Yet, we can’t remember a single report that stated anything close to commitments of $65 million in private funding.  In fact, just the opposite.  Must be that we and the Senator get our information from different sources.

Adding more confusion to the mix, our trusty research staff has turned up a report that adds more credibility to the theory that Klapmeier and Kestrel have been shopping for lucrative taxpayer funding beyond what we’ve been told.

Ever heard of Dallas-Hiram, Georgia?  Neither had we.  Apparently, they’re in the greater Atlanta area, and Paulding County Northwest Atlanta Airport is in the region. Like many other jurisdictions in the country, they’re looking for economic development.

Klapmeier and Kestrel came a-flirting, just like they did here in Brunswick.  You can read the story here.

The important passage is this one:

Swafford also mentioned the disappointing news that Kestrel Aircraft had made decision not to locate in Paulding and instead will move to Wisconsin. The state is extending Kestrel $108 million in tax credits and $4 million in low-interest loans. Swafford, who said that the operation would involve about 400 employees, added that the decision was not due to any shortcomings with the new airport facility, but rather the inability to match the kinds of tax incentives the company was looking for in choosing a new location.

If memory serves, the number of jobs cited for Kestrel was 300 in the early promos for Brunswick, and then became 600 for Superior.  In Georgia, the number was 400, but who’s counting?

Maybe our man Stan can look into the situation and give us a full report.  And contact his peers in Hiram-Dallas to share a brewski over those missed shots.

And then he can get back to his friends at the MRRA and find out how they missed the Georgia connection.

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