Faraday Future abandons North Las Vegas, treasurer calls it a Po - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Faraday Future abandons North Las Vegas, treasurer calls it a Ponzi scheme

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Automaker Faraday Future unveiled its electric concept car before its exhibition at CES on Jan. 4, 2016. (FOX5) Automaker Faraday Future unveiled its electric concept car before its exhibition at CES on Jan. 4, 2016. (FOX5)

Faraday Future said it is abandoning its plan to build a plant at the Apex site in North Las Vegas. 

The company confirmed Monday that it is putting a hold on the site. 

In a statement, the company said it is looking for an already existing manufacturing facility that will allow for faster production. The company added that it still plans to maintain ownership of the deserted site in North Las Vegas for long-term vehicle manufacturing and it believes North Las Vegas "is an ideal place" for the company.  

Construction of the plant started in April of 2016 but was suspended in November of 2016. Some contractors sued over allegations that they hadn’t been paid.

Faraday Future previously said it planned to produce cars in 2018.

North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee attempted to focus on the positive.

"Faraday has played an important part by investing almost $50 million in land improvements and critical design and engineering work at Apex Industrial Park, creating a momentum that has attracted multiple Fortune 500 companies hiring 7,000 Nevadans and investing more than $1 billion that has stabilized and transformed our community," Lee wrote in an email.

Nevada lawmakers approved up to $335 million worth of incentives toward the project, including tax breaks and infrastructure improvements near the planned factory.

Gov. Brian Sandoval released a statement stating that although he is disappointed in the announcement, "Nevada's citizens were held harmless financially." Sandoval said lawmakers made it a priority to ensure taxpayer funds and interests were protected. "The agreement between the state and the company required a trust fund to hold any earned abatements until the company achieved a $1 billion investment."

Private company ends up wasting taxpayer money

Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak said he did not agree that taxpayers were "held harmless." He pointed to a special legislative session set up to discuss the future of Faraday Future, which cost hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars.

"It's a disappointment. I think that a lot of us had suspicions for quite a while now," Sisolak said. "Those jobs never came to fruition ... I don't know where the available cash is to buy a warehouse, but that's up to them."

Sisolak keeps about a dozen shovels on display in his office from prominent groundbreakings. He said the shovels are supposed to symbolize jobs. On Monday, he ceremoniously removed the Faraday Future shovel from his wall.

Clark County Commissioner Marilyn Kirkpatrick said she hopes Faraday Future buys a warehouse in North Las Vegas. She emphasized that the city is better off today than it was years before Faraday Future ever entered the picture.

"When they stopped, people wondered why as everybody should, but we didn't stop the momentum," she said. "Let's hope that they can come here, but in the meantime let's not stop moving forward ... I think (Apex) will still grow." "I think there's going to be a lot of different electric cars that come out so stay tuned for the next one."

Faraday Future battles "Ponzi scheme" label

The Nevada State Treasurer released a statement which read in part, "we all make mistakes but this one was obvious." The treasurer stated Faraday Future's funding source, Jia Yuteng, had his assets frozen by a Shanghai court for what amounts to fraud.

The treasurer's office said it continued to press for financial information from the company and refused to issue a $175 million bond without detailed information. 

"I described it once as a Ponzi scheme, and I think I would still stick with that label," Nevada State Treasurer Dan Schwartz said. "It was a mirage. I guess it's fitting that the project should have been built in the desert where mirages are an everyday occurrence... They promised a billion dollars and 4,500 jobs, and that just was never real."

Schwartz said he cannot envision a scenario in which Faraday Future will ever build anything in Nevada. 

"No," he said. "It's done."

Copyright 2017 KVVU (KVVU Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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