Richard Short is CEO of Renewable and Sustainable Cos., whichpledged to spend $18.5 million to move a sustainable energy companyinto a Flint building near the former Buick plants, and promised tohire 765 people. Short applied for incentives from the MichiganEconomic Growth Authority, through the MEDC, and his company wasone of 11 firms selected recently to receive millions inincentives. Specifically, Short's firm was promised a state taxcredit valued at $9.1 million over seven years, and the city ofFlint was considering a 15-year tax abatement. Short appeared withGov. Jennifer Granholm at the public announcement of the incentiveson Tuesday.

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However, Short's sordid past came to light the next day.According to the Detroit Free Press, Short was detained in a Flintjail for parole violation. Main said the MEDC had no idea thatShort had served two years in prison within the past decade forfraud and embezzlement in Oakland and Muskegon counties, though theinformation is publicly available on the Michigan Department ofCorrections Web site. According to the site, Short was paroled inJanuary 2007 and is set to be discharged from parole in January2011. He did not offer this information on his MEGA application,Main said. "Needless to say we are embarrassed by this matter,"Main said. "In this light, we will add to the MEGA application amore explicit requirement of the company that it disclose any priorfelony convictions by senior company executives."

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The state official was quick to point out that no tax dollarshave been given to Short; rather, he was just promised a reductionof taxes he would have paid, provided he had completed theinvestment and made the promised hires. "The MEGA award isperformance-based and costs the state nothing if the company failsto meet the terms of the agreement," Main said.

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Short's company Web site details his plans, with COO KobinaAtobrah, to provide sustainable energy, water andtelecommunications solutions to people in countries such as Africa,Europe and China. The firm's address is a Flint post office box.Calls to the business number on the site were unanswered. The FreePress article can be read here.

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