Hagan-Nominated USDA Official Scrubs Stimulus Grant Documents

November 4, 2014 Asheville , Hendersonville , News Stories 1562 Views
Hagan-Nominated USDA Official Scrubs Stimulus Grant Documents

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JDC Manufacturing rents space in its Reidsville building to Plastic Revolutions. Both companies are owned by family members of Sen. Kay Hagan.

RALEIGH — A copy of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s file on a 2011 $50,000 solar energy grant to JDC Manufacturing was missing key documents that would clarify the roles of various family members of U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan. Hagan family members own JDC Manufacturing, along with a solar company that claimed to have performed work on the project.

Carolina Journal requested access to the USDA file. It was delivered Wednesday.

The head of North Carolina’s USDA Rural Development office, Randall Gore, is the custodian of the information in the solar grant file. He was recommended for the position (which is a political appointment) by Hagan not long after she took office in 2009. Gore and Hagan live in Greensboro. President Obama nominated Gore and the Senate confirmed him.

According to the application (32 MB PDF), signed by JDC’S co-owner and Kay Hagan’s husband, Charles “Chip” Hagan, among the missing documents should be a “Copy of all estimates to calculate total project cost or Turn-Key Quote.” Those documents had to be included with the application before the USDA would consider awarding the grant, but they were missing from the file the USDA provided to CJ.

The missing documents — which also could include invoices, purchase orders, and work records — might explain the involvement of businesses owned by Chip Hagan, the Hagans’ son Tilden, son-in-law William Stewart, and possibly other family members in the installation of solar panels at the JDC building in Reidsville.

When asked about the omitted documents, Gore said in an email, “Please note that the information you have requested is part of the proprietary information that has been redacted.” When CJ followed up, asking if the redactions were made by JDC Manufacturing or the USDA, Gore did not respond.

Earlier, Gore had told CJ that it was his office’s policy to notify the grant recipient that an inquiry had been made and give the recipient an opportunity to object to a review of all or portions of the grant records.

From the initial reporting in late September by the Politico.com news service on the stimulus grant, Hagan and various spokesmen for the Hagan for Senate campaign or the Hagan businesses have insisted that the family businesses did not profit from an earlier $250,644 stimulus grant JDC received. Moreover, Hagan representatives have said a separate company founded by Chip and Tilden — Solardyne/Green State Power — received “no funding, public or private,” spokeswoman Caitlin Legacki said to WRAL-TV.

CJ reported that the company informed state officials that the budget for the stimulus-funded project had been revised downward by more than $114,000 and that the savings would be applied to the company’s share of the project. After CJ’s reports, company representatives contacted WRAL and The News & Observer with documents allegedly showing that the project in fact cost much more than the final budget filed with the state claimed. The documents presented to other media outlets are not part of the file at the State Energy Office, and JDC will not provide them to CJ.

The redacted contents of the USDA file may include invoices and other documents that could determine whether the additional invoices JDC provided to the other media outlets referred to spending that took place as part of the second, USDA-funded phase of the project, rather than the first, stimulus-funded phase of the project.

JDC is a Reidsville-based real estate business co-owned by Chip Hagan and his brothers John and David. JDC was awarded the USDA grant a few months after JDC gained approval for a $250,644 federal stimulus grant to install new light fixtures, new furnaces, and solar panels at JDC’s building.

The USDA helped pay for what appears to be the second phase of the solar project. Green State Power’s website claims the company was involved in the installation of a 53kW solar panel array and an additional 58kW solar panel array on the building for Plastic Revolutions, a recycling business also owned by the Hagans that leases space in the JDC facility.

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