The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Governmental Accountability says he questions whether the Department of Economic Development has the safeguards in place to protect Missourians.

The Senate Committee on Government Accountability hears testimony from representatives of the Department of Economic Development.

Senator Jim Lembke’s Committee has again heard from Department representatives about its involvement in the Mamtek sucralose plant project at Moberly, this time with new e-mails obtained from DED. Lembke says the e-mails reflect that some in the Department were asking “the right questions” about Mamtek and its executives, but he wants more.

Lembke told the Department’s Director of Legislative Affairs Jason Zamkus, “We’ve got to come up with some type of process…you say to the person that has an interest in coming to Missouri and starting a business that we need to have your financials before we can take it to the next step.”

He emphasizes that he is not suggesting background checks be conducted with all companies and all projects. Those with a more established background, with examples given in the hearing being Coca-Cola and Ford, would not be subject to the same inquiry as someone from a relatively unknown company, as was the case with Mamtek. “The bottom line for me is,” Lembke says,” how do we keep this from happening to another community.

Lembke wants to meet with DED in a different setting to discuss new approaches to prevent more Mamtek-like situations in the future. “Let’s learn from it and put some things in place that will actually protect the taxpayer and our Missouri communities.”

The House Committee looking into the Mamtek deal, the Special Standing Committee on Government Oversight and Accountability, is scheduled to meet at 12:30 p.m. Thursday. Chairman Jay Barnes anticipates long-awaited witnesses Tom Smith, who was Mamtek’s site consultant and Mike Wise, a patent attorney who claimed to have been to Mamtek’s plant in China.