BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – “Brian Kemp. Incompetent. Untrustworthy.” Lt. Governor Casey Cagle takes aim at Secretary of State Brian Kemp as Georgia’s Gubernatorial Race heats up in a runoff between the two candidates.
“Desperate politicians like Casey Cagle say the dumbest, most ignorant things when they see power and prestige slipping through their fingers,” Ryan Mahoney, Campaign Manager for Brian Kemp, stated about the new ad.
Hart AgStrong began operations as a small canola crushing facility in Bowersville, Ga., in 2009. In 2014 the company expanded and built a second plant in Kentucky.
According to an article from The Progressive Farmer this move to Kentucky was met with the company receiving a $450,000 tax incentive for job creation from the Kentucky Business Investment Program.
The article goes on to say, “More than three years later, Hart AgStrong’s license to buy grain directly from farmers has been suspended in Kentucky because the small crushing company still owes farmers roughly $2.5 million on what they were supposed to receive on last year’s crop that was delivered to the Trenton crush facility.”
Kemp remains steadfast in the fact that he is merely an investor in Hart AgStrong, as well as several other small companies, and has never been involved in the company’s day-to-day operations.
According to a press release from Kemp’s campaign, “Since investing in Hart AgStrong, the company has experienced highs and lows – just like many small businesses through Georgia.”
There is acknowledgement that these debts are due and Hart AgStrong’s CFO wrote letters to farmers in 2016 explaining issues causing the delayed payments. The letter apologized and stated that the company was working to correct the situation.
The ad released by Cagle further stated that Kemp was in default on $700,000 in loans that he and other investors personally guaranteed.
According to an article on Politically Georgia two lawsuits have been filed in this matter. Mattaniah Limited Partnership, a Florida-based investment firm, said in a federal lawsuit that it loaned nearly $280,000 to Hart AgStrong in April 2014. The borrowers failed to pay a quarterly payment in September 2015 and have been in default since December 2015.
A second complaint was filed by RLP Investments in Stephens County Superior Court. The company claims to have loaned $500,000 to Kemp and a business partner in 2016, and is seeking repayment of the full amount plus interest.
According to the Kemp campaign one of these suits has recently been settled.
“Brian Kemp started his first business over thirty years ago with a pick-up truck and a shovel. Since then, he has invested in start-ups throughout our state that have created jobs for hundreds of hardworking Georgians,” Kemp Campaign manager Mahoney says of Kemp’s record.
Mahoney adds, “While Kemp was contributing to the local economy, Casey Cagle was flying high on state airplanes, cruising around to campaign events with his state car and State Trooper, and billing taxpayers for his extravagant lifestyle.”
Cagle’s Campaign manager Scott Binkley says, “Brian Kemp can’t run on his record during his two decades as a politician and he can’t run on his record in business, so he’s built a campaign on gimmicks.”
“He can get away with recklessly destroying his daughters’ dating prospects,” Binkley said expanding on the need in airing the new ad, “but we can’t let him get away with hiding his career of incompetence from Georgia voters. We’re going to set the record straight on InKempetence.”
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