FRANKFORT — GE Capital, the lending arm of General Electric Co., never had a deal to help finance a project to employ 4,000 workers building ZAP electric vehicles in Kentucky, a spokesman said Thursday.
Stephen White, spokesman for GE Capital in Connecticut, said his company "never made a commitment" to California-based ZAP (Zero Air Pollution) or its partner, Integrity Manufacturing of Shepherdsville.
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"We've had two conversations with them, one in July and the second, I think, in October, but nothing went beyond the talking stage," White said. "There was never a signed contract."
Randall Waldman, chief executive officer of Integrity, said that is not true.
Waldman contends that he worked with W. Bryan Nusky of GE Capital in Louisville on the deal, "and we had a verbal commitment."
"I thought everything was a go, and then they said the national economy had sunk and they were pulling out of projects across the country," Waldman said.
A phone call to Nusky by the Herald-Leader was not returned, but White said he has talked to Nusky about the project "and no proposal of any kind was ever made."
Waldman told the Herald-Leader on Wednesday that the project, which has been pledged $48 million in state tax incentives, is in jeopardy because GE Capital had pulled a $125 million commitment. GE Capital was supposed to buy bonds for the project, he said.
Waldman said the future of the proposed manufacturing plant in Simpson County is now contingent upon securing new investors or $150 million to $200 million in federal assistance.
If additional funding is not found, he said, the project might have to move to a state willing to provide richer incentives.
Waldman said he now plans to make about 25 electric cars each week, beginning in January, at Integrity's Shepherdsville facility until funding can be found for the Simpson County project. He said he has $40 million in orders for the cars.
Integrity now has about 200 employees and might hire 25 to 50 more to produce the electric cars, he said.