Businesses owned by Republican Michigan senate candidate John James have a history of tax liens in several states, while another won tax breaks for jobs it didn’t create, the Detroit Metro Times reports. .
James has worked at James Group International, which was founded by his father, since 2012 as COO and became its president in 2014. The company owns subsidiaries including Renaissance Global Logistics and Magnolia Automotive Services.
In 2014, James Group International owed $10,439 in state taxes to Mississippi, according to a lien filed with Madison County reviewed by Salon. the lien was released about three months later, according to records.
The Indiana Department of Revenue also filed two tax liens against Magnolia Automotive Services, part of James Group International and run by James’ brother, Lorron James, last year. One lien was for $6,451 and another was for $396, according to Indiana court records reviewed by Salon. both liens have since been resolved.
The James campaign told Salon the $6,451 lien occurred due to a clerical error and was settled, but did not provide documentation to substantiate the claim. the campaign said the company did not receive a record of the second lien but would resolve it as necessary.
James, whose campaign has received a considerable financial boost from the family of Education Secretary Betsy Devos and Postmaster General Louis Dejoy, promoted his family’s business during a brief pre-recorded appearance at the Republican National Convention this week. when he shared his family’s journey “from slave to sharecropper, from bricklayer to businessman, now at the door of the United States Senate”.
james, who is trailing the first-term incumbent senator. Gary Peters, D-Mich., in the most recent polls, has invoked his business career since his first national television interview with “Fox & Friends,” where host Ainsley Earhardt described him as the possible “Future of GOP .”
“I got out of the military and joined my family business, a small automotive logistics company in detroit, and grew the company from $35 million to $137 million in revenue and added 100 jobs in michigan and the east from Mississippi,” James said at the time.
The story of the iraq war helicopter pilot turned businessman caught the attention of president donald trump, who has twice endorsed james. “He will be a star,” Trump declared.
Another company with a history of tax liens, Motor City Express, has been reported by various media outlets as being part of James Group International, which the James campaign claims is not the case. salon reviewed tax liens filed against motor city express in michigan’s wayne county for $6,732 in 2012 and in indiana for $253 that same year. The James campaign said the company was sold in 2011 but did not provide any documentation, nor could the salon find a publicly available record of a sale. when asked who owns the company now, campaign spokeswoman abby walls replied: “not john james”.
“The John James family business is a good citizen of the community who pays its taxes, works to provide good jobs with quality health care, and supports our Made in Michigan manufacturing,” Walls said in a written statement. “Throughout the company, John and his family have been noted community leaders for their charitable and philanthropic work in the Detroit community. They did this while Senator Gary Peters sat in Washington and voted to raise taxes 106 times. Michigan it needs more businessmen with the practical knowledge and skills to help our country recover, not more failed career politicians.”
The statement came after documents published by the Detroit Metro Times earlier this week showed Renaissance Global Logistics, where James serves as CEO, received $1.75 million in tax breaks from the development corporation. michigan economy (medc) on the condition that the company created 108 new jobs before james became chief executive officer. instead, the company lost more than 30 jobs after he took over, the outlet reported, adding that “medc revoked its tax-exempt status after it failed to create the jobs it promised.”
The report added that it does not appear that there was a “clawback” clause that would have required the company to pay the taxes.
James became CEO of the company in 2015, the cutoff year for job creation. In February 2016, the MEDC advised that the company had 90 days to comply with the condition or revoke its tax status. the company sought an extension through the end of 2017, citing struggles in the auto industry. But the MEDC said in a 2017 memo that the company “failed to create one hundred eight (108) new jobs by December 31, 2015 as required by the agreement.”
Crain’s Detroit later reported that the company failed to create a single job in Michigan during James’ tenure from 2012-2017.
The report appears to contradict claims made by James during his previous unsuccessful 2018 Senate bid.
“send a job creator to washington who understands michigan workers are looking for a fair hand not a free handout,” he tweeted in 2017.
The campaign did not comment on the report.
Global Renaissance Logistics later received a $1 million to $2 million Paycheck Protection Program loan, despite government “handouts” vilified by James during the election campaign.
“we at west point believe that you don’t lie, cheat, steal or condone those who do, which is why i got the endorsement of president trump,” he told fox news in 2018. “i’ve never taken a handout a day in my life.”
(Disclosure: salon received a ppp loan to keep our staff and independent journalism 100%).