Smith responds to investigative report on rail project

Malheur County’s economic development director late Wednesday issued a three-page statement responding to an investigative report by the Malheur Enterprise.

Greg Smith, a state legislator who runs a private economic development firm, explained expenses and processes involved in developing the Treasure Valley Reload Center.

“Every dollar spent towards approval of the facility is accounted for and forwarded to the county,” Smith wrote. “The reload center is within months of the fun part.”

DOCUMENT: Greg Smith statement

Smith cited as “incorrect” the Enterprise’s report that $534,000 had been spent so far planning for the Nyssa shipping center. He didn’t release a different figure, however, and didn’t disclose that he had been provided for review the Enterprise’s accounting days before publication of its report, published May 8.

Smith also said that the credit line used to finance some of the rail center work had been repaid and the balance stood at zero. County records showed that by last February, the county through its development company, Malheur County Development Corp., owed Umpqua Bank $200,000.

The statement also addressed the report that Smith’s company, Gregory Smith & Co., based in Heppner, is paid $15,000 a month by Malheur County.

“The $15,000 paid monthly ($9,000 for economic development with an additional $6,000 for reload center work) by the county also hired the expertise of Greg Smith and his 26 years of industrial business development and the knowledge of a team of employees working on the county’s future.”

LINK: Malheur Enterprise story

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