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BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — It looks like “Project Soccer” will kick off in South Carolina instead of North Carolina. The project was expected to bring hundred of jobs to our area and millions of dollars in investments.

For months southeastern North Carolina has been in competition with South Carolina to score “Project Soccer,” which is the code name for what is believed to be Continental Tire’s newest manufacturing plant. But state Rep. Dewey Hill (D-20th District) says it’s not likely to happen in the Tar Heel State.

Hill says both states have offered $45 million to the tiremaker, but South Carolina has offered the money up front throwing us out of the game. Hill says North Carolina still has a small chance of winning the project, but it would mean support from state Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger, the highest ranking Republican in the Senate.

Hill says right now Berger is not willing to commit.

“His reputation will go down in Brunswick and Columbus, Bladen, New Hanover and Pender, I guarantee it big time, if he messes this deal up,” Rep. Hill said. “I believe he probably needs to take a look at that right now.”

Hill says Continental Tire officials from Germany are flying into the area tonight. He expects them to announce that they have chosen South Carolina for the project.

Sen. Berger’s spokeswoman said that Berger cannot comment until the company makes a final decision.

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16 Comments on "Rep. Hill: Senate leader blocking ‘Project Soccer’ for NC"

2015 years 10 months ago

Well Said.

2015 years 10 months ago

The State of NC is broke, owes the Feds 2.5 Billion in Unemployment loans, has a failing school system with ever-increasing dropout rates and falling AYP scores…while the jobs it might have brought to the area, the sweet thing about it going to SC is the fact that Bev’s son and her high-dollar donors won’t be able to cash in on this backroom deal. It stunk to high heaven from the day the news broke.

2015 years 10 months ago

Very shrewd of Hill to blame the top republican if the deal falls thru.

Personally, I can’t understand why the top Republican in the state doesn’t want to enrich Beverly Perdue’s family and cronies with millions of dollars in inflated real estate that could only be financed with the help of Bev’s cronies.

Dewey Hill on the other hand, Mr. “never saw pork I couldn’t pull”, seems overly stressed out that the project went to S.C. for the simple fact of not wanting to be involved in Beverly’s “solyndra” type scheme.

The tire company did well to aviod the perception, (actually the reality), of being involved in a deal that stinks of dirty politics.

By the way Dewey, exactly what have you been doing these years in Raleigh?

I think this is the first time we’ve actually heard anything out of you since you were elected.

And this is what you decide to comment on?
A get rich quick scheme for Bev’s son and connected Dem contributors.

If you ran your store like you’ve run this state, you would have been bankrupt decades ago.

Retire, and thump your melons.

Mike Webster
2015 years 10 months ago

Many who have read the AP report and conclude a back room deal. The real back deal here is who in NC government researched this issue, then turned it into something dirty and handed it off ot AP so their filthy hands wouldnt be on this matter. If you know anything about business recruiting then you realize that all aspects of a deal are done in a strict confidencial manner. In the end its not the state picking a site.There were some 59 original sites under consideration in the southeast. The site is being bought by the company and their are so many factors related to a sight selection. The company could give a damn who ownes the peroperty. Schools,hospitals,quality of life, services,access, ect. all must fit around a companies needs in a site selection process. The owners of the land are democrats and they contribute to many democratic causes.So what? Who owns the the land in SC? The state house is Republican rule in SC so I quess the SC land must be owned by? The stated sale price of the tract in Brunswick was $3,800.00 per acre. After taxes, site evaluation, Industrial impact studies surveys, ect the owners selling at $5,800 per acre were not getting rich on this deal. Split five ways each investor would have gained less than $200,000 not millions. I am amazed how well some people read to be so poor at math. In the end what Rep. Hill said is fact, SC wins NC loses,1,500 good paying,stong benefit jobs. The investment est. was over one billion and the annual payroll would exceed $63,000,000.00. Lets hope Sen. Berger wakes up sooner rather than later.

2015 years 10 months ago

Columbus County does have a HIGH unemployment rate, but not the highest. Several counties have higher, some much higher, rates that Columbus. You can look county by county here:

This project was riddled with insider trading and that was exposed by the Associated Press. The problem isn’t that NC didn’t do enough, this ultimately was about how much could the state “give away” of taxpayer dollars and after fifteen years of such giveaways our unemployment rate is WORSE not better.

Maybe it’s time to start looking at what the state can do to make it easier to START a business rather than just go hunting for big manufacturers. Lest we forget, this tire company was already in NC, laid off all of the employees and went to SC several years ago (Charlotte) and now they want $100 million to come back?

At least be willing to have a serious discussion on the matter. As for Columbus County, one of the reasons the county suffers is not because of the folks in Raleigh, but a certain former Senator from that area that has created enough press to scare off any serious business. Columbus needs to look at itself before accusing folks far far away from causing ANY of their problems.

2015 years 10 months ago

Here’s the website with the unemployment numbers:


Tabor city resident
2015 years 10 months ago

With Columbus County having the highest unemployment rate in the state and a former senator who did little to bring jobs to his county for 40+ years I think mr Berger should think long and hard about giving the money up front or start looking for a new job when his term is up.

2015 years 10 months ago

He voted against the film incentives as well. Fortunately, they are WORKING and so are the hundreds of film technicians in the state. This has been the best year in a decade for the NC film industry, thanks to having competitive, sustainable incentives….NO THANKS to Phil Berger!

2015 years 10 months ago

No mention is made on Secretary of Commerce Keith Crisco’s trip to the Paris Air Show, earlier this year. He and 5 staff members attended the Air Show, for at least the second consecutive year. In fact, this was the fourth consecutive trip to England or France to attend the Air Show by state employees.

They spent $112,000 while there this year. That’s an average of over $18,000 per employee in expenses. Heck, some state Secretary’s don’t get paid that much.

One of the expenditures was $653 for a meal for 6 which included 4 bottles of French wine. Kind of interesting when one considers the per diem for meals is $37.50. The 6 individuals were the Secretary and his 5 staff members.

In fairness, it must be noted approximately $80,000,of the total pent, was expended on the display booth.

However, the Secretary’s spokesman cited confidentiality when asked to name prospects contacted or projects being considered.

I guess they missed the reports on the state of North Carolina’s economy and the budget.

And maybe the Secretary realized this was not the brightest move as he had not submitted an expense account 3 months after his return. I guess he travels with one of those Gold American Express Cards issued to the state.

In corporate America, an employee would be on the carpet for not submitting an expense report in a timely manner. Maybe he had to wait until the new fiscal year kicked in so the state would have the funds to pay it. Only he knows why he failed to do so.

Now, whether anyone likes it or not, this proposed plant by the German tire manufacturer was not an overnight development. It’s been in the planning stages for over a year.

One has to question why the Secretary, and staff, would not have included a fact finding trip to Germany while in Europe during one of the past four years. Did the Governor even stop by when she was in Germany on her most recent European jaunt? What better way to show North Carolina’s interest than through a fact finding trip to gather facts from the “horse’s mouth” and determine just what factors would give North Carolina the best opportunity to garner this opportunity.

Interesting to note that South Carolina was one of 11 states in total with delegations at the airshow. Their delegation was led by their Governor. On conclusion of the airshow, she journeyed to Germany; wonder of she called upon the tire manufacturer?

Scott — when are you going to turn one of the pit bull reporters like Wuzzardo loose on this type of topic? This could have jump started the economy in southeastern NC. If you don’t want to send a reporter to Raleigh, how about email or telephone? Why not get after Senators Goolsby or Rabon for comment? Why not hit the House Representative for Brunswick County for comments?

Could it be the North Carolina failure is due as much to a second rate performance from Raleigh? This should have been a top priority by the Governor and her staff.

Clearly it was not on the radar of the Secretary of Commerce. Maybe it’s past time for a new one.

I’m normally opposed to incentives to lure business to an area. Film incentives typically result in short term job creation. This would have been a long term, many year, job creator from the very start.

What does it take to get the Governor and staff to focus on real opportunities? Maybe she needs to talk to one of her mentors, former Governor Hunt who was a master at bringing industry to North Carolina communities when the textile industries began to fade.

In any event, the Secretary of Commerce should go. In the private sector, he would be gone.

“This is about building relationships,” said Tim Crowley,
Crisco’s spokesman. “If North Carolina is going to be a player in the aerospace industry, it must have a presence at the international air show.”

To make a statement like that is an insult to intelligent North Carolinians.

North Carolinians who pay taxes effectively are the stockholders in Corporate North Carolina. $112,000 for a repeat trip to Paris, France was not a wise move. Especially to attend an aerospace show. The aerospace industry is not growing and expanding. Frankly, Huntsville, Alabama is the center of the aerospace industry in the United States. What do these guys smoke in Raleigh?

Let’s continue sharing the wealth.

Secretary of State Marshall traveled to Moldova. I had to look that one up. Moldova is a landlocked nation located between Romania and the Ukraine. In 2009, the European Economic Parliament declared Moldova the poorest country in Europe based on GDP. It imports all of its energy. It ranks extremely low in terms of human living standards. Moldova’s leading industry is wine production. And it leads the world in per capita consumption of alcohol by its citizens.

How in the world could she justify this journey? How did North Carolina benefit from this? What was her purpose for going there on the State Taxpayer’s nickel? Why could she not have stopped in Germany on a fact gathering visit to again show these European industrialists that North Carolina is interested in foriegn investment?

And that is a question which should be asked of every state employee, from the Governor on down, who makes these types of trips? What’s the reason for going there? How will North Carolina benefit? And as a follow up to the trip, what futher does North Carolina need to do to bring the bacon home?

This is not rocket science. These are basic business principles.

To state that the failure to garner this project is due to one Republican is so misleading and so false, the Representative who made that statement should resign fo the good of the State. Certainly, he was trying to shield those in Raleigh from the light of another failure.

If they want to boost North Carolina’s economy, they need to work with North Carolina business owners and spend less time out of the country. Is it too late for the Asian trip to be cancelled? And let’s not forget, this is the second consecutive year for an Asian jaunt. Nothing concrete came from last year’s expenditure; so let’s do it again. Here’s a question to ask Scott — what leads, from last year’s trip, will be followed up this year?

Scott, why not take the focus off of Tabor City, Uncle RC, and the recurring soap opera “All My Boys” and focus on some issues that have real significance? Here are a couple of issues which cry out for journalistic investigation.

Maybe all of these Democrats realize the 2012 elections are coming and want to glut out at the State Taxpayer’s trough before a new administration takes over.

2015 years 10 months ago

So much for Berger and GOP bringing jobs to NC.

2015 years 10 months ago

one man, all by himself, did not derail this opportunity.

Spread the blame around. And start with the Governor’s mansion.

Senator Berger may deserve some accountability.

But by no means does he qualify for all of it.

Look at the recruitment process, or lack thereof.

Which southern Carolina state traveled to Germany after attending an air show in France? Which northern Carolina state did not?

Which state had its Secretary of State on a taxpayer funded trip to Moldova, who then chose not to stop in Germany and attempt to garner information or at least build on a relationship?

Nope, there’s plenty of accountability to go around on this one.

2015 years 10 months ago

Tom, did you write that the Secretary of State (of NC) went to Moldova??? North Carolina already has wineries and poor people…

Here are the statutory duties of the NC Secretary of State… Unless I’m blind, I don’t see any excuse for the holder of this office to be engaging in any international travel.

N.C.G.S. § 147‑36.� Duties of Secretary of State.

It is the duty of the Secretary of State:

(1)������ To perform such duties as may then be devolved upon the Secretary by resolution of the two houses of the General Assembly or either of them;

(2)������ To attend the Governor, whenever required by the Governor, for the purpose of receiving documents which have passed the great seal;

(3)������ To receive and keep all conveyances and mortgages belonging to the State;

(4)������ To distribute annually the statutes and the legislative journals;

(5)������ To distribute the acts of Congress received at the Secretary’s office in the manner prescribed for the statutes of the State;

(6)������ To keep a receipt book, in which the Secretary shall take from every person to whom a grant shall be delivered, a receipt for the same; but may inclose grants by mail in a registered letter at the expense of the grantee, unless otherwise directed, first entering the same upon the receipt book;

(7)������ To issue charters and all necessary certificates for the incorporation, domestication, suspension, reinstatement, cancellation and dissolution of corporations as may be required by the corporation laws of the State and maintain a record thereof;

(8)������ To issue certificates of registration of trademarks, labels and designs as may be required by law and maintain a record thereof;

(9)������ To maintain a Division of Publications to compile data on the State’s several governmental agencies and for legislative reference;

(10)���� To receive, enroll and safely preserve the Constitution of the State and all amendments thereto;

(11)���� To serve as a member of such boards and commissions as the Constitution and laws of the State may designate;

(12)���� To administer the Securities Law of the State, regulating the issuance and sale of securities, as is now or may be directed;

(13)���� To receive and keep all oaths of public officials required by law to be filed in the Secretary’s office, and as Secretary of State, is fully empowered to administer official oaths to any public official of whom an oath is required;

(14)���� To receive and maintain a journal of all appointments made to any State board, agency, commission, council or authority which is filed in the office of the Secretary of State;

(15)���� To regulate the solicitation of contributions pursuant to Chapter 131F of the General Statutes; and

(16)���� To apply for and accept grants from the federal government and its agencies and from any foundation, corporation, association, or individual in order to effectuate the purposes of the Nonprofit Corporation Act, Chapter 55A of the General Statutes, and to further aid in the operation and development of nonprofit corporations. The Secretary shall comply with the terms, conditions, and limitations of grants applied for and accepted and shall expend grant funds pursuant to Article 1 of Chapter 143 of the General Statutes, The Executive Budget Act.

2015 years 10 months ago

the scope of duties.

Tell her.

I’m still trying to figure out the value of a trip to Moldova by any state employee. Unless we’re sending someone from the Department of Agriculture to gather new wine making techniques, Idon’t get it.

Now the Danube River runs adjacent to a portion of Moldova. Maybe that was the draw.

2015 years 10 months ago

Sounds like Berger didn’t want Bev and the democrats to get credit for something good for all the folks around here without jobs. Thats a shame…Is he any relation to Brian Berger???

2015 years 10 months ago

The people that own the land in NC are connected to the people wanting to give tax dollars away to a company with plenty of money so they can make millions,i can not see how our government can take millions of taxpayers dollars just to benefit a few working people and the people that are connected to the capital bunch.Our government is full of crooks and cronies from the top down that only want to benefit themselves and there buddies from the taxpayer.

2015 years 10 months ago

The state faces the worst economic quagmire in its history; and the Republicans who are forced to face draconian deficits get blamed for the budget cuts.

This potential boon did not appear overnight. It’s been in the works. Did the Governor lead an economic team, months ago, to meet face to face with the corporate leaders and pursue this project? When she made her relationship building trip to Europe in 2010, did she stop in at the Corporate headquarters?

Only she knows. But a stronger push by the Governor and the economic leaders could have made a difference.

Former Governor Hunt would not have allowed this project to slip away. He would have parked on the corporate door steps to get the opporutnity to promote North Carolina.

Where did they come up with $45 million? All along, it’s been $100 million in incentives. Why the variance?

Now the proposal did include a $45 million loan which would have been foirgiven over a 15 year time frame. Did the SC proposal make it a freebie loan?

There’s been so much rhetoric about film incentives which are short term and produce no long term employment.

Perhaps the focus needs to change.

This project would have added approximately 1,500 good paying jobs on completion of the facility construction. And during construction, hundreds of construction workers would have been employed in the construction phase.

So which makes more sense? Short term or long term impact?

Meanwhile our Governor packs her kimono for the Orient. Can someone get her to focus on one project through its completion?


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