Press "Enter" to skip to content

Chen: FBI probe imperils local investment

General Protecht president Wusheng Chen told local authorities today he is the subject of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation that may imperil his planned multi-million dollar investment in Barnesville-Lamar County. At the very least, the project will be delayed indefinitely pending a conclusion of the FBI probe, Chen said through an interpreter. His remarks came almost two years to the day after his original project announcement. Hanging in the balance is federal and state grant funding for the project in the amount of $2,014,000. The OneGeorgia Authority has already expended $368,000 to help GP acquire the 200-acre site on Highway 41 near the MLK bypass where it had planned its facility. Some leeway exists for extensions of the grant funding but GP must meet certain benchmarks with investments of its own. GP is required to expend $30 million and employ 240 people to keep the grant dollars flowing. Chen made his remarks at high level talks today with officials from the city, county, Town of Aldora, the local IDA and various state agencies. He said he had worked hard to develop a relationship with Home Depot that was sabotaged by several of his sales executives who went to the FBI and wore eavesdropping devices to gather evidence against him. He indicated the probe is aimed at proving he had inside pricing information in order to attract Home Depot’s interest in carrying his product line. He contends he cut his prices significantly in order to increase sales volume to solidify his relationship with the company. The executives walked out of his office with key materials and company-owned computers the day before he was to become the first ever Chinese executive to pitch his product at Home Depot’s internal sales planning meeting in July, 2008, Chen alleged. He said his relationship with Home Depot is damaged but he has not yet been blacklisted by the home products giant. Chen also alleged firms making products similar to his have bombarded his company with frivolous lawsuits despite his winning one round in a battle before the International Trade Commission. After a second round of litigation, his plans took another huge blow. ’The ITC says I cannot manufacture GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupters) in Barnesville. That conclusion was very surprising to me and I am very angry about it. So, we have to change our plan. We are the victims of unfair trade protection. We are appealing,’ he added. He said he has been harassed at every turn. ‘I cannot get a Social Security number so I cannot get a driver’s license. I can’t get a credit card. My stays in the U.S. are limited by customs. If I go to rent a car, I must pay cash. It makes it very difficult. Any other investor would have left and never come back but I am committed to this project,’ Chen said. Despite that commitment, serious obstacles remain that could make pursuing the development untenable. If it fails, the community (city, county, IDA) has a significant investment in infrastructure design and engineering that GP is obligated to repay if the plant is not built, city manager and IDA member Kenny Roberts said. GP owns its land but OneGeorgia could place a lien on it if the project falls through which appears to be a distinct possibility at this time. ’If I can clear up the FBI and Home Depot issues, I can invest rather quickly. I want to offer my personal apology for the long delay. Please forgive me. I am still confident of my investment in Barnesville. It is my dream to build a plant here,’ Chen said.

Be First to Comment

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    Website by - Copyright 2021