When glittering job creation deals tarnish

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By Sherry Robinson

It seemed like a good idea at the time.
That’s a phrase that we can apply to all of life’s situations that didn’t quite pan out — impulse purchases, former marriages, job decisions, bad investments. It takes on a different flavor when it comes to our sometimes desperate efforts to create jobs.
We’ve seen two economic development disappointments lately, and these things have two stages — the cost of the mistake itself and the fallout and recrimination that follow.
First, there is Clovis, where a new cosmetics company was supposed to begin operations after the city provided $2 million to bankroll the deal in hopes of adding 350 jobs. Now the city is hunting the entrepreneur — and its cash — in Guatemala.
How did the guy slip under everybody’s radar? I have in the past interviewed Chase Gentry, Clovis’s economic developer, and he’s shrewd and experienced. I’ve also interviewed banker Kent Carruthers, a board member of the Clovis Industrial Development Corp., and he’s nobody’s fool either.
Boards of economic development organizations are usually a Who’s Who of a town’s major players. If these people could be snookered, it could happen anywhere.

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