A failed economic development deal to bring hundreds of jobs to north central Missouri will be the subject of a Senate Committee investigation even as a new entity hopes to salvage it.
Senate Leader Rob Mayer has named Senator Kurt Schaefer to the Committee on Governmental Accountability and asked that body to investigate Mamtek. That’s the company that was to have opened a sucralose plant in Moberly and provided over 600 jobs. The Senate reports Mamtek received $37 million in bonds from the City of Moberly and had been promised more than $17.6 million in state tax incentives if certain requirements were met. No state money has gone to the project.
Senator Schaefer says the Committee will look at whether the Department of Economic Development is doing its due diligence before committing taxpayer dollars to economic development projects. It will begin work with an organizational meeting next week.
Meanwhile, a new entity has been formed that will attempt to complete the Mamtek project. American Sucralose Manufacturing includes some “key former principals of Mamtek,” according to a statement from Moberly’s Industrial Development Authority. It will deposit funds to restore the debt service reserve Mamtek used to make an August bond payment. The new company plans to “cure the deficiencies, and undertake completion of the project under City (of Moberly) supervision.”
Senator Schaefer wishes the new corporation well but says the Committee’s investigation must proceed in spite of the new effort to resume the project. He hopes the Committee’s work would not interfere with that attempt, but he says lawmakers’ greater responsibility is to taxpayers in Moberly and statewide.
He thinks the Mamtek failure raised flags in the upper chamber about the economic development bill because Senators thought it was being rushed through quickly, like the Mamtek deal. That sucralose plant package was put together in only 73 days.
The special session, meanwhile, is still underway. A few senators met in technical session on Monday and debate may resume on Thursday.