CADDO PARISH, LA (KSLA) - The Caddo Parish Commission approved a plan Thursday to spend $7.5 million in parish funds to buy the former GM Shreveport plant, but the lone holdout in the vote has filed suit to stop the deal.
The ordinance approved Thursday by all but District 7 Commissioner Stephanie Lynch amends the parish operating and capital budget for 2013 to appropriate $7.5 million to provide funds to the Industrial Development Board (IDB) to purchase the GM plant, clearing the way for the commission to take action on a resolution to make the deal.
The money would come from the parish Reserve Trust and the Oil and Gas funds, which hold $17M and $40M, respectively.
Lynch filed suit in Caddo District Court against the commission and the Industrial Development Board (IDB), seeking to keep the proposed transaction from taking place. The suit claims the deal may violate state law regarding the use of taxpayer dollars for the benefit of for-profit entities.
Lynch has expressed concerns that the investment aimed at bringing jobs to the parish is too risky and speculative.
On August 13, Lynch called for more time to get input from the community on the proposal, saying that while she is not opposed to the idea, she is "concerned about the lack of private investment needed to actually bring those jobs to fruition."
The RACER Trust has agreed to sell the plant, which closed in the fall of 2012, to Caddo Parish and the IDB and Industrial Realty Group (IRG). Under the agreement, the IDB would lease the facility to IRG, which would operate and manage the plant for the parish.
Based on previous reports, the Elio Motors manufacturing facility would occupy the Assembly and Stamping Plant, a 1.8 million-square-foot facility the former GM site. IRG would lease the rest of the 3 million square foot site to other tenants.
The proposal is the latest attempt to bring the Phoenix-based start-up auto firm to the shuttered plant since plans to do so were first announced in January.
Elio Motors wants to begin production next summer on its three-wheeled car. Owners say the company will bring nearly 1,500 direct jobs to the region. Production is expected to begin as early as April 2014.