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.