Watchdog Group Sued For $85 Million by Terry McAullife's Green Car Company in Libel Claim

April 12, 2013 - 3:08 PM

GreenTech Automotive Inc., an electric car company that was founded by Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe, is suing a watchdog group for allegedly causing an $85 million loss for the automaker after two investigative reports were published by the organization.

Following the investigation conducted by Watchdog.org on GreenTech Automotive's use of "cash-for-visas" immigration program, known as EB-5, the company was blamed for millions in losses. The organization released articles highlighting the questionable government immigration program. In one of them, a financial expert criticized EB-5, calling it a "fraud."

Watchdog.org writes, "GreenTech Automotive Inc. blames Watchdog for an alleged $85-million loss after publication of two articles detailing the woes of the government immigration program, called EB-5. In one article, a financial expert criticized the EB-5 program as ‘a fraud.’ EB-5 has repeatedly come under fire for lax oversight. An Illinois program was recently the subject of a Securities and Exchange Commission probe."

The EB-5 program began in 1990 and offers green cards to foreign nationals who invest at least $500,000 in companies in the United States that create at least 10 jobs.

“Specifically, as a direct and express result of the articles published by Defendants … investors are wavering in their commitment to provide $25 million in investments already promised to GTA. GTA…intended to raise $60 million in capital, (and) is now in significant danger as a direct result of the loss of investor confidence in GTA arising from the publication of Defendants’ articles,” the lawsuit states, according to the group.

Jason Stverak, president of Watchdog.org, said the lawsuit is baseless and that GreenTech's claims are without merit.

“As Watchdog explained in clarifications and updated versions of the articles posted on April 5, these articles were not intended to – and did not – accuse GreenTech of fraud,” Stverak said. “We are confident that GreenTech’s claims are without merit and we will continue to report on this important story," stated Stverak.

That's not all. The group also writes that GreenTech Automotive counts Hillary Clinton's brother as an ally.

"GTA counts among its allies Hillary Clinton’s brother, Anthony Rodham, who shares an office with GTA and is CEO of Gulf Coast Funds Management, an EB-5 center that raises visa-investor money for GTA. McAuliffe also was chief fundraiser for Clinton’s presidential bid. Bill Clinton made a high-profile visit to the company last year."

The lawsuit was filed Monday and accuses the group of defamation and interference with business relations. McAuliffe quietly stepped down as chairman of GreenTech Automotive late last year.