Friday, October 29, 2010

Urquhart Campaign Tries to Resurrect the John Carney/DelaWind Story

John Carney’s opponents have tried to make a scandal out of his involvement in DelaWind, a venture that has sought to build wind towers for Bluewater Wind and other wind power projects along the east coast. Last year, DelaWind sought financing from the Delaware Economic Development Office (DEDO) and the federal government.

I have previously dealt with the criticism last year here and here. I will repeat just two points from my previous posts on the topic. First, John Carney left DelaWind early this year, and would not have personally benefited from the support requested for the venture. Second, I still can’t see why anyone would object to an effort to bring several hundred manufacturing jobs to Delaware.

Carney’s antagonists have made much of an e-mail from a DEDO staffer that reads in part, “compensation in the amount of $1.45 million is booked under capital expenditures, and it’s not reflected whatsoever in operating expenses.” The e-mail concludes that the request “would have equated to a nice pay for those involved.” The relevant documents have been posted on a website,, which includes a link to the Glen Urquhart campaign.

I have checked out the documents, including the spreadsheet presented to DEDO by DelaWind. Keep in mind that I have an MBA in finance and have prepared similar proposals, including detailed financials, for clients.

I’ve read the financials, and just don’t agree with the suggestion in the e-mail that the numbers are out of line. The way I read the financials, the $1.45 million would cover the costs of up to 143 employees, including 50 construction jobs, during a one-year construction phase. These totals don’t strike me as inappropriate for creating a major manufacturing facility.

As for the specific point of the booking of compensation under construction instead of operating expenses, the enterprise is divided into two companies: DelaWind, which would build the facility, and the Windtower Manufacturing Company, which would use the facility to build the towers for Bluewater Wind. It strikes me as a perfectly plausible division of labor.

The Delawind proposal was withdrawn after Amer Industrial Technologies pulled out of the project, though efforts to bring wind power staging and manufacturing jobs to Delaware continue.

In summary, I don’t see anything obviously improper in the proposal. Despite the protestations of the Urquhart campaign, I can't find any evidence that John Carney has done anything improper at all. What I do see is someone who believes in the economic potential of wind power, and was trying to bring jobs to Delaware. I have no doubt that John Carney will continue to try to bring wind power jobs to Delaware when he becomes a member of Congress.


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