Breitbart bashes ‘Strange’s swamp pal’ (Corker) for Alabama ‘sweetheart deal’

Breitbart News — headed by President Trump’s former chief strategist, Steve Bannon – is tying Sen. Bob Corker’s business dealings into its reporting on this week’s Republican U.S. Senate runoff primary in Alabama.

Breitbart is promoting Roy Moore over Sen. Luther Strange in the race. Corker is backing Strange and reportedly urged President Trump to personally campaign for Strange, as he did on Friday.

Referring to Corker as “Strange’s swamp pal” in its second report on the subject, the arch-conservative news service says the Tennessee senator “is set to receive more money each year from Alabama taxpayers from the sweetheart deal in an Alabama retail development arranged by a law firm that is a big donor to Strange’s Senate campaign than he receives from his salary as a United States senator.”

Under the terms of that sweetheart deal signed off on by the Mobile City Council and the Mobile County Commission, Corker, as a 13 percent owner of McGowin Park Incentive, LLC, a Delaware Corporation, receives a prorated split of that entity’s hefty sales tax rebate from retail purchases made at stores in McGowin Park retail center in Mobile Alabama. The center is a huge development opened in 2015 of more than 24 stores, including “Dick’s Sporting Goods, Field & Stream, HomeGoods, Ross Dress for Less, Hobby Lobby, Best Buy, Old Navy, Petco, Ashley Furniture HomeStore and Dollar Tree,” as one publication noted, strategically located right off heavily traveled I-65.

That rebate is substantial; 28 percent of all city sales tax collected and 30 percent of all county sales tax collected from stores in the center is paid out to McGowin Park Incentive, LLC, in two securities known as City of Mobile Limited Obligation Project Revenue Warrants, Series 2013 and Mobile County Limited Obligation Project Revenue Warrants, Series 2013.

Corker received $40,459 in 2015 and $108,682 in income from City of Mobile Limited Obligation Project Revenue Warrants, Series 2013, and Mobile County Limited Obligation Project Revenue Warrants, Series 2013, according to financial reports he filed with the United States Senate. He is scheduled to receive $155,500 in income from those warrants in 2017; $168,808 in 2018; $192,000 in 2019; and $192,000 a year for the next 15-and-a-half years.

During the twenty years in which he receives money from this deal, Corker is expected to receive more than $3 million of the Mobile, Alabama, city and county sales tax revenue paid by customers who make purchases at the McGowin Park retail center in Mobile.

Corker’s current annual salary as a United States senator is $174,000 per year. If Corker were to win a third term in the United States Senate, his salary in 2019–the first year of that third term–is currently anticipated to be the same: $174,000 per year, or $18,000 less than he will receive from the City of Mobile and Mobile County.

Senator Corker’s office responded after our deadline with this three paragraph response:

We think the amounts you are referencing are based on hypothetical sales projections and are not guaranteed to the investors. Furthermore, Senator Corker had nothing whatsoever to do with the agreement between McGowin Park and the Mobile City Council and Mobile County Commission. As is custom in development projects, such agreements were in place long in advance of Senator Corker first being approached about being an investor in the project. And regarding your original report, the senator did disclose the value of the assets in both 2015 and 2016.

We are aware that the senator’s investments are of great interest to numbers of self-interested individuals, including large Wall Street hedge funds who are seeking to discredit Senator Corker and the work he is doing to protect taxpayers and reform our nation’s housing finance system. False accusations have been floating around D.C. since early 2015 in an effort to discredit him while he’s doing this important work.

It is disappointing that error-ridden opposition research we have strong reason to believe was compiled by the politically-motivated firm Fusion GSP – which sought to take down President Trump with a controversial dossier and is currently under investigation by the Senate Judiciary Committee – is now being used in an attempt to connect dots that simply do not exist.

Breitbart News states unequivocally that Fusion-GSP was not our source for this report.

Note: In an earlier story, Breitbart says a lawyer who has donated $28,000 to Strange also represented the development company involved in “a sweetheart deal that put over $100,000 of sales tax revenue paid by customers at the McGowin Park retail center in Mobile, Alabama in the pocket of the junior senator from Tennessee in 2016.”  A further excerpt:

“It’s absurd to say that the President is responsible for actions of others,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told Breitbart News in an email on Tuesday when asked if Senator Corker informed President Trump about his sweetheart investment in the Mobile, Alabama retail development when the two met in person at the White House on Friday.

“That’s like when someone gets shot and people say it’s the gun [manufacturer’s] fault. As a staunch conservative who I know must believe in personal responsibility I can’t believe you would argue otherwise,” she added.

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