MZM Martinsville loses federal contract.

As I speculated in May, it looks like MZM’s Martinsville is not long for this world. No less an authority than Rep. Virgil Goode himself has announced that the DoD is not renewing the Foreign Supplier Assessment Center’s contract, Laurence Hammack reports in today’s Roanoke Times. Presumably that would mean that the Martinsville facility would shut down as soon as the current contract expires, though I have no idea of when that would be.

There are a few reasons why this is important.

First, this means the loss of yet more jobs in Martinsville. These jobs appear to have largely gone to people brought into the area just to work there, people who will likely move out with the loss of the jobs, but that doesn’t make the blow to morale any easier to take.

Second, Martinsville itself will take a significant, direct financial hit. Rep. Goode personally brokered the deal that got MZM into town, putting Martinsville on the hook for the success or failure of MZM by making the city responsible for repaying $500,000 in state grants if the company failed to perform. The arrangement is highly-unusual — perhaps one-of-a-kind — making Goode’s insistence on it bizarre, at best. It’s nice that Goode gave to charity the $90k that he took in illegal campaign contributions from MZM employees. I wonder if he’s prepared to give Martinsville the hundreds of thousands of dollars that they’ll lose because of his bad judgement?

Third, the loss of FSAC after the severance of Goode’s pay-for-play deal with MZM (or so MZM founder Mitchell Wade regarded their arrangement) is one more sign that, in fact, the relationship was improper. MZM got their contract when they started giving to Goode, and they lost their contract when they stopped. Circumstantial evidence, yes, but very strong circumstantial evidence.

I’m serious about Goode repaying Martinsville. When MZM opened their facility in Martinsville, he was happy to take the responsibility for the arrangement, responsibility for which he was due. With that comes the responsibility to own up to his bad judgment and to compensate Martinsville for intentionally brokering a deal for them that could cause them significant financial harm.

Assuming that I understand this properly (the loss of the contract means shuttering the facility), this may be the turning point when Goode’s bad-faith dealings with MZM start to affect his popularity within the Fifth District. None of the polls thus far have shown any real evidence that he’s been affected by the growing scandal around his relationship with MZM. If that facility shuts down, that may well change.

07/28 Update: Peter Hardin reports in today’s Richmond Times Dispatch that MZM’s contract was terminated because the Martinsville facility doesn’t perform any useful functions.

15 thoughts on “MZM Martinsville loses federal contract.”

  1. Well, i surely knew that the DoD would be tossing the MZM facility to the wolves eventually. Bad memories. Embarrassing associations. (“You can’t party in that club again, man. You got drunk and slept with the barmaid…and she’s ugly.“) The GOP must figure Goode’s seat is so safe that extending contract until after Election Day (which was what I figured that the DoD would do) is no longer a required tribute for America to pay to keep the seat in Republican hands.

    But, yeah. I. Publius all but agreed to fund the facility’s expansion. So, this has gotta sting.

  2. How do you like that new poll Waldo? Goode leads Weed by MORE THAN 20 points! It’s apparently still amatuer night at the 5th District Dems HQ. You gonna link to that story over at CC? ….Yeah, I wouldn’t if I were you either…because that’s embarrassing if you’re a Dem.

  3. because that’s embarrassing if you’re a Dem

    Hmm… what’s more embarrassing?

    A. Trailing in a political poll 4 months before the election, or

    B. Being caught taking illegal campaign contributions, handing out pork-barrell contracts that weren’t wanted by the Department of Defense, causing disruption in the lives of the employees hired to work for that company, leading to their eventual layoff and costing the city of Martinsville $500,000 in state grants that must be repaid.

    I guess the answer depends on your values.

  4. Well I suppose now Martinsville can try to go after that Toyota plant that Augusta County didn’t want. :)

  5. Goode leads Weed by MORE THAN 20 points!

    For now. And chances are still good that he’ll win. Over 90% of Republicans in the district apparently think he’s worth re-electing. But it’s hardly anything to gloat over.

    I’ve been reading for the first time a book I’ve meant to read for years, Richard Hofstadter’s Anti-Intellectualism in American Life. Published in 1963 but inspired by the tumult of the 1950s, it reads like an uncanny prophecy of the type of conservatism that has revived in the Bush era, and that helps explain why Goode keeps getting elected despite his diminishing performance. In the following quotation, substitute “9/11” for “post-war”, “secular humanism” for “Godless Communism”, and “illegal immigration” for “desegregation”, and it could have been written last week:

    The political climate of the post-war era has given the fundamentalist type powerful new allies among other one-hundred-percenters: rich men, some of them still loyal to a fundamentalist upbringing, stung by the income tax and still militant against the social reforms of the New Deal; isolationist groups and militant nationalists; Catholic fundamentalists, ready for the first time to unite with their former persecutors on the issue of “Godless Communism”; and Southern reactionaries newly animated by the fight over desgregation.

    That’s the wave that Virgil Goode has been surfing on. The last great wave of anti-intellectualism in the U.S. broke upon the reef of the Soviet Union’s launch of Sputnik in 1957, which woke us up pretty quickly to the dangers of glorying in mediocrity. This time the wake-up call isn’t so much a single external event as the cumulative effects of six years of incompetence and greed among our elected officials and their appointees.

  6. Reality,

    Check the crosstabs for that survey. Almost half (45%) of the respondents were Republicans with 29% Democrats and 23% Independents. In addition, 44% said they were Conservative, 34% Moderate and 11% Liberal. The only categories that seem to be fair/balanced are the gender categories (48% male, 52% female) and the age divisions from 35 years and up (3 groups at 27%, 28% and 28%). So, while it sounds good when you read the analysis at SUSA and in the papers, the “reality” is that the survey was skewed.

  7. David,

    Virgil Goode was pretty well entrenched and got similar poll numbers before 9/11 even happened. There’s no need to reach for a lot of abstract theory for why Virgil keeps winning his district. He has very good constituent services and there is not a single major media market in his district to make his failings widely known to his constituents. On top of which all of his opponents have been poorly funded and in most cases not particularly experienced or seasoned candidates. That’s about all there is to it. No grand socialogical theories necessary.

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  9. Even if Goode didn’t know the MZM donations were illegal, it’s pretty apparent that they were unethical. And as you mentioned in a previous message, it appears that Goode knew that the donations by MZM employees were coerced.

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