By JENNIFER HORTONThe Wilson Post
MT. JULIET – The president of a company seeking to locate its operations in Lebanon in a green technology research and development park responded Thursday to comments made by city officials that the firm is not what it has been promoted and may not really exist.
Greg Quinn, president of CoreTech Industries, Inc., spoke to The Wilson Post during an interview at the company’s office in the Tennessee Sports Medicine building in Mt. Juliet and refuted comments published this past week in the local daily newspaper.
Quinn expressed his concern that neither he nor anyone else connected with the company was contacted for a comment by that newspaper during the three days it published stories regarding CoreTech.
Quinn said that comments made mostly by Lebanon Commissioner of Public Safety Billy Weeks and Ward 3 City Councilor William Farmer were the result of politics, citing Farmer’s campaigns for mayor against Don Fox who was mayor when CoreTech first announced its intentions to locate here in September 2008 and most recently against Philip Craighead who Fox supported after deciding not to run for the office again.
“This whole situation is about old school dirty politics, and it is CoreTech’s turn to be caught in the crossfire,” Quinn said.
“I don’t understand how Mr. Quinn believes this is political,” Farmer said in a telephone interview yesterday, and added that perhaps Quinn could come to a city council meeting and answer questions from councilors, Weeks and City Attorney Andy Wright.
At issue are reports of tax liens filed against the company by the State of Tennessee and the Internal Revenue Service, lawsuits and allegations the company has defrauded investors.
Weeks and Wright have been looking into the questions surrounding the company and traveled to Spokane, Wash. where CoreTech’s headquarters had been listed. They reported they found a box at a UPS store but no free-standing building that operated as the firm’s main office.
“The reports given to us by Mr. Wright and Mr. Weeks were very thorough,” Farmer said, adding “there are big discrepancies in what was stated in the past and at public meetings.”
Farmer said Weeks and Wright have spent much time looking into CoreTech. “Unfortunately we didn’t know about the tax liens. They should have been found” before the council and other government entities agreed to provide $150,000 for the firm. Farmer and Weeks said taxes owed by CoreTech still have not been paid.
Quinn said the company, “through our legal counsel, is working with the IRS to satisfy these tax liens. CoreTech is not evading anything.”
Quinn noted the economy has affected the company and its cash flow. The economic recession has affected the construction industry – CoreTech plans to manufacture cellular concrete, a product Quinn said “is totally recyclable and totally green.” It can be used in residential, commercial and industrial construction and even in road construction, he added.
Even so, he noted that CoreTech was not the only company affected by the economy and said other firms in the Nashville area also have liens against them.
“CoreTech, once our funding is finally secured, will satisfy all debts. Until then we will struggle some. But does a community run potential jobs out of town, when it costs absolutely nothing to keep them, simply because the company is struggling? No, of course not. Not unless there is some alternative motive. In this case it is a political vendetta.”
As for lawsuits from investors, Quinn said CoreTech has had some delays in repaying loans to some of its private investors which resulted in a lawsuit in Spokane. The former CEO is working with lenders on repayment and Quinn said he was confident it would be resolved. Others have experienced a delay in repayment after putting their money into the company, Quinn included. He noted that there are only two local citizens who have put money into the firm.
Regarding claims of people being defrauded by the company, Quinn said he was unaware of anyone who was but that if anybody feels they have been harmed to call him at 773-6400. “If anyone feels wronged in any fashion by me or the company, then I should know about it.”
Weeks disagreed, however, saying a person from outside Lebanon contacted him regarding the company and complained that he had invested some money and had not received any back.
“I’ve got it right here in my hand,” Weeks said. “The guy I talked to wasn’t satisfied. He called me. This has nothing to do with politics.”
Weeks said Quinn’s assertion that questions about CoreTech were political was “the craziest thing I’ve ever heard.”
According to Weeks, CoreTech is being looked at by other law enforcement. Weeks was in Nashville Thursday discussing the firm with law enforcement there, and Farmer said an agent with the FBI and someone from the District Attorney’s office were in the audience at the Sept. 1 city council meeting.
“I’m the least of CoreTech’s worries,” Weeks said.
Quinn said he has not been contacted by anyone in law enforcement regarding CoreTech. “No one from the FBI, TBI, District Attorney’s office, or anyone else has contacted me or any other employee or officer of CoreTech about any so-called investigation.”
When plans for CoreTech were first announced in 2008, the company was to be located in a development called CoreTech Park, the first green technology research and development business park in the country to be built off South Hartmann Drive and Interstate 40.
Quinn said yesterday that “Recent actions by the Lebanon City Council are making CoreTech rethink our entire Middle Tennessee growth plan, especially as it relates to Lebanon.” He added that “Lebanon by far is not the only city in Middle Tennessee…but it is our desire to stay in Tennessee.”
Editor Jennifer Horton may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.