GOP fund-raising heavyweight and two-time U.S. Ambassador Mel Sembler – the man whose company is pushing for $132 million worth of tax credits to build a “Mega-mall” in Jasper County – has a corporate development record littered with bad deals for the government entities who were foolish enough to do business with him.
At least that’s according to a lengthy investigative report published this week by the S.C. Policy Council’s new citizen reporter website, The Nerve.
According to The Nerve‘s exclusive report, Sembler-affiliated partnerships have lost money and defaulted on government loans in connection with a series of public-private partnerships in Tampa, Florida. The company also threatened to scale back a mixed-use development in Atlanta unless it received a 100% property tax abatement.
The report also contains a veritable laundry list of other shady deals and political power plays on the part of Sembler’s company, which is beginning to flex the prodigious Palmetto political muscle it has purchased to build a “Mega Mall on the Okatie” in Jasper County – again, with a $132 million taxpayer funded head start.
We have no problem with Sembler doing business in South Carolina, but as far as we’re concerned a mega mall doesn’t deserve the same sort of public support as the center of a major manufacturing cluster.
Of course, all of this underscores the slippery slope you start down when government begins picking winners and losers in the marketplace.
And clearly, Boeing’s incentive package was much bigger than S.C. lawmakers initially disclosed.