He approached us after our report on the progress of Greentech Automotive, the startup car company founded by Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic nominee for Governor of Virginia.
A man who worked for close to two years on the line at Greentech's manufacturing plant in Horn Lake, MS saw our affiliate WMC-TV's story on the company and expressed concern about what he experienced while working there.
He sat down for a lengthy interview on the topic and told us everything he could recall about his time inside the company.
That interview led company officials to grant to access to their plant for the first time after requesting to see the operation for three months.
Since that intial report Greentech has announced a new agreement to produce a new line of cars and has started work on their proposed 300 thousand square foot facility in Tunica, MS, which has been largely vacant since their launch in 2012.
We gave Greentech executives the opportunity to respond to each aspects of the worker's claims.
Here is our special report for NBC12:
HORN LAKE, MS (WWBT)- There are signs of life at the once-vacant site of a green car company started by Virginia's Democratic nominee for Governor.In May, NBC12 took an in-depth look at Greentech Automotive and Terry McAuliffe's involvement in the company he is attempting to launch in Northwest Mississippi.
Since that report, we've received new insight as to what is and is not- happening with the company.
For the first time we get a look inside this private company. But that visit was only granted after we were approached by a former employee who saw our initial report and told us he was concerned that the start- up venture was not headed in the right direction.
In July of 2012 the picture of Greentech automotive was a car company on the verge of revolutionizing the industry.
"But now we start at full factory production and at full capacity we can make a car an hour," said McAuliffe at the time.
But according to a worker- who was there, those lofty goals were nowhere near reality.
"We were worried, scared. A lot of us were scared for our jobs."
This worker asked us to protect his identity. He describes himself as a happy employee who never missed a pay-check. But he was constantly worried that what the company was telling the public wasn't actually happening inside
"We were told, you know, when we first went in the fall of '11 we were going to build a 100 by Christmas, that didn’t happen,” he said. “Then we were told we were going to build x amount through the year 2012 and that didn't happen."
It is a culture of uncertainty that his former employers forcefully reject.
“This is a real company, it's a building company,” said Greentech spokesperson Marianne McInerney. “We have set very aggressive goals for ourselves, but we will not meet anyone's arbitrary deadline for us."
“We have distribution agreements that account for 30,000 vehicles over the next three years,” she said. “That's pretty significant.”
But she can't provide specific numbers on actual cars that have been produced. The former employee told us that in his more than a year in a half on the line maybe 30 cars were built and most of them never left the building.
"They would take everybody and put them out on the line and we would stand over the car with tools in our hand and look like we were doing something to the car but we wasn't doing anything," he said.
The worker claims the company had them put on a show for what he believed to be foreign investors. According to McInerney he simply misunderstood the training process of a complex and new technology.
"There's what we would call a training build."
McInerney said the repetitive construction of the cars was for the workers to learn, not to impress anyone. She said no investor has toured the facility in Mississippi since that big kick off in 2012.
"I started worrying about my future mid-part of 2012."
The worker tells us he left the company on his own accord because he was concerned about the lack of progress.
It is a concern McInerney believes was unfounded, as the future of the company she promises, remains vibrant.
In addition to the claims made by the former worker, we also asked McInerney to respond to questions raised about the company since their launch.
On the company's connections to China. How many jobs are located there and is there a dedicated manufacturing presence?
"We don’t have a large dedicated office in China. We do have some employees who represent us in China, absolutely. Do we have suppliers from China? We do. Are they direct employees of ours? No, they are not."
On the company's production and sales:
"We’re a private company so we don’t give out numbers because it’s very competitive. Even one of our competitors, Tesla, has never given out a number even thought they release profit numbers all the time. What I can tell you is that we’ve been building cars for a very long time and we’re building and delivering them out of our Horn Lake facility and they’ve primarily been going to customers overseas for the last year. But they’re placed in demo fleets across the U.S. and across the globe, Quatar, to Denmark, to the UK.
"We have distribution agreements that account for 30,000 vehicles over the next three years, that’s pretty significant. What that’s telling you is that GTA’s cars already have a demand built in and that our line will be able to meet that demand."
On rumors of company layoffs:
"We’ve never had a layoff in GTA’s history, there are employees that we’ve let go after the end of performance reviews in 2012, but those have been very few and far between."
On Terry McAuliffe's role with the company:
"Terry McAuliffe made it always very clear to the management here and myself included that if he decided to run for governor that he would remove himself from regular activities with the company. Our CEO is Charlie Wang and he’s been in charge of the day to day activities for as long as any of us have been involved.
"Terry McAuliffe is a visionary. He believes in job creation, he believes in green technologies. He has been a very important part of the foundation of this company. He has brought important insights to the table, he’s made great decisions as it relates to our company."
On the decision to place the company's manufacturing hub in Mississippi instead of Virginia:
"I think Virginia was always considered, but what you should understand is that GTA was speaking to Mississippi and other states before we entered into our dialogue with Virginia. The state of Mississippi conducted intensive due diligence with us not only did they meet with us review our business plans looked our financial plans, they traveled with us to look at our suppliers with engineers with people who designed our initial factory.
"They know our business plan and they know our company and Mississippi knows there’s a future in electric vehicles and I think that’s what set them apart."
On reports that "Capital Wealth Holdings" an investment arm of GTA is incorporated offshore:
"GreenTech Automotive Inc. (GTA), a Mississippi corporation, is a fully owned subsidiary of WM GreenTech Automotive Corp (WMGTA), a Virginia company. Both companies comply with U.S. federal and state tax regulation and pay taxes accordingly – and have done so since their establishment. Like many large U.S. corporations, the owners of WMGTA may include U.S. persons, U.S. entities, or foreign entities. Neither GTA nor WMGTA maintain off-shore bank accounts, and any implication that GTA or WMGTA are in any way involved in off-shore tax sheltering is deliberately misleading and untrue.
"Capital Wealth Holdings (CWH) was incorporated in 2006 to invest in the automotive technology sector, and has invested in WMGTA as a means to develop and manufacture alternative energy vehicles in the U.S."