A Region 8 company loses a lawsuit and is told to pay up

By Lauren Payne - bio | email feedback

The Newport Economic Development Commission is looking to collect cash from a company that left the city in 2008 and that it says didn't create the jobs promised.

"We write a contract to anybody we give incentives to. It's a forgivable loan.   They can either pay back the money they get from us by creating jobs and keeping them for our economy, or they can pay it back in cash," said Jon Chadwell.

Executive Director of the Newport Economic Development Commission Jon Chadwell,  says they paid America's Choice Products LLC 240 thousand dollars in incentives over three years. Chadwell says because the company didn't hold up their end, the Newport Economic Development Commission sued the company to get the money back, and won.

"We've done 14 of these agreements, and this is the only one that we've felt we've had to take this action on," said Chadwell.

Chadwell says a one half cent sales tax is dedicated to economic development.  That means those incentives given to companies are funded by Newport patrons.  Chadwell says he wants to be a good steward of their money.

"If we let one company off the hook for not fulfilling their agreement, then we're really telling any company looking at us that the agreement doesn't mean anything, just do what you want to--and we don't want to do that," said Chadwell.

Chadwell says existing companies in Newport are being supportive of their actions.  Those actions he adds, send a strong message to existing and potential companies.  It's one that says the city is professional in their business proceedings, and they have expectations of companies wanting to do business in Newport.

"I think that good business would rather see that from a community than feel like the community was gullible, naive," said Chadwell.

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