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Electric Car Company Sues Media Outlet over Bad Press

RICHMOND — A fledgling electric car company founded by Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe has sued Watchdog.org following an investigation highlighting the automaker’s use of a controversial government “cash-for-visas” immigration program.

GreenTech Automotive Inc. blames Watchdog for an alleged $85-million loss after publication of two articles detailing the woes of the government immigration program, called EB-5. In one article, a financial expert criticized the EB-5 program as “a fraud.” EB-5 has repeatedly come under fire for lax oversight. An Illinois program was recently the subject of a Securities and Exchange Commission probe.

The EB-5 program was created in 1990, and offers green cards to foreign nationals who invest at least $500,000 in U.S. companies to create 10 or more jobs.

“Specifically, as a direct and express result of the articles published by Defendants … investors are wavering in their commitment to provide $25 million in investments already promised to GTA,” the lawsuit said. “GTA…intended to raise $60 million in capital, (and) is now in significant danger as a direct result of the loss of investor confidence in GTA arising from the publication of Defendants’ articles.”

Jason Stverak, president of Watchdog’s parent company the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, said the lawsuit is baseless.
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