Loss of ‘Project Soccer’ leads to finger pointing

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Submitted: Fri, 10/07/2011 - 3:57am
Updated: Fri, 10/07/2011 - 12:58pm

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — It’s official. Southeastern North Carolina has lost more than 1,000 jobs to the Palmetto State.

Continental Tires announced it will build a $500 million facility with 1,600 jobs in Sumter County, South Carolina.

Now the state legislature and the governor’s office here in North Carolina are playing the blame game.

The company was also looking at land in Brunswick County. Thursday, NC Commerce Secretary Keith Crisco met with Brunswick County leaders to thank them for their efforts.

“We are disappointed, but it’s important that we come here and say thank you,” Crisco said.

Without naming any names Secretary Crisco said Senate leaders were unwilling to give Continental Tire what it needed in the end.

“There (were) several packages put forth, but at the end of the day they were unwilling to make the exact statement, make the exact proposal that the company required to come here,” Crisco said. “We were told many times, ‘It’s yours to lose.'”

The issue: timing.

Crisco said Continental needed the incentives it requested in the building stage of the project instead of over a long period of time.

“The senate leadership was unwilling to meet that timing request,” he said.

State Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger (R-Rockingham), though, blames Gov. Bev Perdue for the loss.

“Pay-to-play politics in North Carolina, unfortunately, is something we have seen time and time again,” Berger said.

Berger’s comment refers to reports that the sale of the Brunswick County property would have lined the pockets of Perdue’s campaign donors.

“We immediately contacted the Commerce Department, made the governor aware of what we had been advised,” Berger said. “They seem to have no concern what so ever of the appearance that existed.”

Berger did not say if the issue played a role in continental’s decision. Crisco says there was nothing questionable in the site selection. He said an independent consultant selected the site, not the governor or the Department of Commerce.

The governor fired back late this afternoon. In a statement she said:

“Sen. Berger is making reckless accusations in order to evade responsibility for his own decision, a decision that cost North Carolina 1,300 jobs. I didn’t have any involvement in the site selection process, and it didn’t matter to me what piece of land the company selected, as long as the 1,300 jobs came to North Carolina. I supported the package that would bring these jobs to north carolina because it was a good investment for our state; Sen. Berger decided to oppose it because he thought the jobs were not worth it. Now he should stand up and take responsibility for his decision.”

The governor’s office contends Berger and the legislature knew everything about the offer that was on the table and approved it. This afternoon, her office released the chain of correspondence related to the pitching of the project.



  • 28472 says:


  • It'sJustMe says:

    & anti “corporate welfare” liberals, those incentives don’t sound like such bad things now do they? 1500 potential jobs gone in a flash. In an area with an anemic jobs base, this could have been a huge economic infusion. This would have been a bunch of homes not foreclosed on, a bunch of sales taxes paid, money spent at local businesses – all gone. These incentives pay for themselves given the right type of business is being recruited.

  • Leon says:

    I agree with the second comment. Why would anyone try to locate here after seeing what you are doing to Titan?

  • allstarz says:

    Republicans have cut off their hand to spite their face. When will Republicans realize they are in office to represent the people and do whats best for the people that put them in office? So what if a Democrat was in office when new jobs came to our state….STOP the politics, STOP playing God and work together!!! Many lives depend on you.

  • Concerned Citizen says:

    Way to go NC politians. We needed this plant!!! These opportunities are once in a lifetime, and you blew it. Shame on you!!!!!! I hope that it is revealed who is responsible for this loss and they are voted out of office. A DISGRACE!!!!!!!!!!!

  • guest18293 says:

    Let’s see who we can point a finger at….Get real people, the finger needs to be pointed at each one of us in North Carolina. We are the voters whom have elected this disastrous leadership and the majority of voters continues to re-elect them each time they run. Our senate and house leadership is a joke. We are getting exactly what we deserve, that would be nothing!

  • Mike T says:

    Information has surfaced that State Government was on board to vote in favor of project soccer. 14 Republicans and 19 Democrats had committed to push for the package which would have secured the project. If we are going to point fingers lets point in the right direction. The President Pro Tem of the Senate refused to allow these sensible Senators the opportunity to vote on the package requested by the company. It appears we had the deal and one Senator for purely political purposes and knowing he would lose to the vote, shot it down. Power was abused in this case!No person that abuses such power should be in this position. Let’s hope at least 14 Republican Senators suggest resignation for the President.

  • Toobigtofail says:

    It seems that all that happens in government is finger pointing back and forth when things fail. Government is good at failing and on a regular basis. The good of the people falls by the wayside and has been replaced by the good of the government. The two party system is a gross failure IMO because it has become more about power and greed and is rife with corruption at all levels.

  • Happy Days says:

    I wish “Big R” was still in Raleigh, he would have “called names” and “kicked butt”, and we would have a tire plant in our area providing much needed rite about NOW!

  • Guest4396 says:

    Probably would not have gotten it anyhow. The tree-huggers would have found a thousand reasons to protest, like Titan cement. Most likely this would have driven them to another state.

  • Voter of N.C. says:

    I’m really surprised, usually this kind of shady dealing involving relatives of Perdue, and big contributors of her campaign, don’t come out until they have left office.

    Congratulations to the news bunch that spilled the beans on this one.

    Selling the property at such a high rate of return stinks to high heaven.

    And sorry Beverly, we’re not going to cancel elections for two years while you get your act together.

    One and done sounds good to the voters of N.C.

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