Elio Motors CEO wants closed meeting with Caddo officials - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Elio Motors CEO wants closed meeting with Caddo officials

Elio Motors CEO Paul Elio wants to meet behind closed doors with Caddo commissioners. And he wants parish officials to sign non-disclosure agreements before doing so. (Source: KSLA News 12) Elio Motors CEO Paul Elio wants to meet behind closed doors with Caddo commissioners. And he wants parish officials to sign non-disclosure agreements before doing so. (Source: KSLA News 12)

Elio Motors CEO Paul Elio wants to meet behind closed doors with Caddo commissioners, but open meetings laws may not allow it, according to parish leaders.

Elio Motors is a startup company advertising 3-wheel vehicles.

In 2013, the company promised to bring 1,500 jobs to Caddo by building its vehicle in the former General Motors plant in west Shreveport. 

The Caddo Commission bought the plant for $7.5 million to bring jobs back to the parish. 

Since then, Elio Motors has been plagued with funding issues and repeatedly has pushed back the production start date for its vehicles, leaving its portion of the Caddo plant empty and government leaders frustrated. 

Parish Attorney Donna Frazier confirmed she is trying to set up the meeting at Elio's initiation for May 11.

Prior to meeting, Elio wants commissioners to sign non-disclosure agreements (NDAs).

"Any meetings would be pursuant to an NDA," Frazier said. 

However, according to Louisiana law, non-disclosure agreements don't trump open meetings law if a quorum of a governing body is present.

It takes seven commissioners to make up a quorum. 

Louisiana's open meetings law, found in Revised Statute 42:12-28, regulates meetings of public bodies.

According to the Louisiana legislative auditor's office, "the open meetings law is designed to ensure state integrity and to increase the public’s trust and awareness of its governing officials."

Closed-door, or executive, sessions are only permitted under the open meetings law for a few reasons such as if the topic involves a personnel issue, a course of action for security personnel or litigation. 

KSLA News 12 reached out to all Caddo commissioners for their input on the matter.

Caddo Commission President Steven Jackson said he has not and will not sign a non-disclosure agreement to meet with Elio because the parish does not have a contractual agreement or obligation with the company. 

"Therefore, I have not and will sign a "non nondisclosure agreement" (NDA) to meet with Mr. Elio. Public integrity in this process has been compromised to the greatest extent already.

"Agreeing to meet under non disclosure in my humble opinion, only exacerbates the public perception. I cant speak for others, but I want no part of it."

Jackson was not on the commission when the governmental body voted to buy the former General Motors plant to allow for Elio Motors to lease a portion of the facility.

Nor was District 10 Commissioner Mario Chavez, who said he also is not going to sign a non-disclosure agreement and is "... not going to meet with him. All I care about seeing is jobs. He is not the man to bring that, so I'm not wasting my time with him."

District 5 Commissioner Jerald Bowman was a commissioner in 2013 and voted for the parish to purchase the plant.

Bowman said he is considering signing the non-disclosure agreement "with the understanding I'm going to let know something and it needs to be the truth.

"I plan to meet Elio Motors representatives if/when they arrive. I have questions, I believe I'm not alone," Bowman said. 

"Citizens need to know and deserve it. I'm always for economic development and jobs. That's what I was told, that's what I want with Elio Motors. If not, then get out of way."

District 4 Commissioner Matthew Linn said he will not sign a non-disclosure agreement. He also was a commissioner who voted to purchase the old GM plant. 

District 8 Commissioner Mike Middleton, a commissioner elected in 2015, declined to comment.

These latest developments come just one week after the company's most recent Securities and Exchange Commission filing revealed it may be unable to survive another year without additional loans and stock offerings.

The documents also indicate that Elio Motors needs to raise $376 million to fund production of its 3-wheel car. 

Elio Motors was scheduled to appear May 8 for a public hearing with the Louisiana Motor Vehicles Commission over possible licensing violations. The LMVC postponed the meeting to July 10 just 24 hours before the meeting was to occur. 

"The reason for the continuance of Elio’s hearing is that the commission learned some new information that it wants to get clarified to ensure a proper hearing," LMVC Assistant Executive Director Ingya Cattle said. 

She would not elaborate on what that new information may be.  

According to Frazier, Elio has not yet confirmed whether he will make it to town for the meeting May 11.

KSLA News 12 has requested a comment from Elio Motors spokesman Mike DeVilling.

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