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Business skims employee withholdings, after used to obtain $66 million in state fund!

December 16, 2008

An article in today's Lawton Constitution reveals employees recently laid off by Quartz Mountain Aerospace are being denied unemployment and medical and dental benefits after learning QMA illegally diverted money deducted from employee paychecks for unknown reasons.

Quartz Mountain Aerospace and Altus Venture were the subjects of several 2006 news articles describing how Altus Venture used a $189 million loan to inflate $32 million raised from investors to obtain $66 million in public funds. Yet other information suggests that Quartz Mountain Aerospace received at most a total of $20 million from both this investor scheme and other state programs. Altus Venture was able to pull off the inflated scheme by using loopholes in Oklahoma's tax credit investment incentive program. This program operates totally automatic; with no state oversight or accountability; and is kept hidden from the public. With the public totally in the dark this program has been costing $100s million per year in lost tax revenue with only failures to show.

We cannot ignore the fact Oklahoma law does not prevent public officials from benefiting from public funded programs. Public officials free to benefit from a publically funded program guaranteeing $2 profit for every $1 invested.

Contrary to the governor and lawmakers claims of closing the loophole in 2006, mounting evidence has since surfaced telling otherwise. Other news articles revealed the president of Altus Venture was allowed to influence the writing of the amendment intended to close the loophole. His influence was allowed after the chairman of the committee writing the amendment received a large bundled campaign donation from a group of Altus Venture associates.

The obvious questions begging for answers are:

A. Are state officials benefiting from a public funded program that guarantees, with no risk, profits far and above the best investment opportunities to be found anywhere in America?

B. Is this why public officials refuse to allow the public access to information revealing the cost of this program and who is benefiting?

C. Is this the reason public officials continue defending such a grossly flawed program as good for the economy and "they know of nothing illegal occurring?

D. Who is left to call for an investigation or enforce the state's public spending disclosure requirements?
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