NC Justice Center

Governor Pat McCrory wants lawmakers to give his administration more money to lure businesses to the state. The state’s main fund, the Job Development Investment Grant program, is nearly out of money. But, a new report from the liberal North Carolina Justice Center argues the JDIG program is ineffective. WFAE’s Ben Bradford joined All Things Considered host Mark Rumsey.

Duncan McFadyen

Chiquita has notified state officials the company will close its Charlotte headquarters slightly earlier than expected, with layoffs to begin in two months.

Duncan McFadyen

It was billed as a once in a decade opportunity, the chance to lure an international brand to relocate their worldwide headquarters to Charlotte. The pursuit was costly and controversial.

Chiquita's decision to leave Charlotte has been big news in state government – and rightly so.  After all, the state put up much of the roughly $22 million incentives package that convinced Chiquita to move from Cincinnati to Charlotte a few years ago, although most of those incentives have not been paid to the company.  

WFAE's Mark Rumsey discussed Chiquita's decision - and the state's use of incentives - with John Lassiter, a former Charlotte City Council member who now chairs the state's Economic Development Board.  

Julie Rose

Earlier today the 320 or so employees of Chiquita received an email which began “Dear Associate, We now embark on Chiquita’s next chapter.”

That’s how Chiquita told its workforce the company’s Uptown headquarters will be closed. This just three years after the company received an incentive package potentially worth more than $20 million to come to Charlotte and keep its worldwide headquarters here for 11 years. Now there are questions as to how much incentive money – and in what form the company has received. Tom Bullock joins All Things Considered host Mark Rumsey for the latest on this story.

Jeremy Brooks

WFAE's Duncan McFadyen reports on the mixed reactions to Wednesday’s news that Chiquita plans to close its corporate headquarters in Charlotte.

Chiquita Announcement Sent To Employees

Jan 14, 2015

On Wednesday, January 14, 2015, Chiquita announced it would close it's Charlotte-based headquarters. Below is the email interim CEO Brian Kocher sent employees. 

Dear Associate,

We now embark on Chiquita’s next chapter. We wish to inform you of changes at the Company that will result from our transition towards a more simplified and streamlined business model appropriate for the competitive markets we serve, and from a publicly listed company to a private enterprise.

On Wednesday, January 14, Mecklenburg County Manager Dena Diorio sent an email to Mecklenburg County Commissioners telling them of Chiquita's decision to close the company's Charlotte-based headquarters. 

Chiquita Closing Charlotte Headquarters

Jan 14, 2015
Duncan McFadyen

Fruit company Chiquita has announced it will close its Charlotte headquarters in the next 18 months. Chiquita employs more than 300 at that headquarters. The closure comes less than three years after state, city, and county officials lured the company from Cincinnati with a $22 million package of economic incentives in 2011. Mecklenburg County Commissioner Bill James is a critic of those incentives. He says today’s news shows why they’re a bad strategy.

"What kind of loyalty do you get? I don't want to sound crass, but, no one falls in love with a hooker. And in essence Mecklenburg County and the City of Charlotte, they've been hooking themselves out to these companies," said James. 

So far, the city and county have paid about $1 million. County manager Dena Diorio says Chiquita has agreed to return that money. The company also received $5 million up front for relocation expenses —no word if that will come back, too. (see note below) Chiquita has not said where it will relocate to. The company, Charlotte mayor Dan Clodfelter, and the county manager have all declined further interviews.

Mecklenburg County Manager Dena Diorio sent an email this morning to all county commissioners announcing the closure.

Correction: The final incentives agreement does not mention a $5 million upfront payment. While the payment was described as "upfront" money when the council initially approved the deal, the city says - and contracts with Chiquita show - any payment was going to be spread over three years and tied to the number of people employed. The city says this is the $1 million paid from city and county funds, and Chiquita has agreed to repay it.

Cannon Enters Prison

Former Charlotte Mayor Patrick Cannon is in federal prison in Morgantown, West Virginia. He reported to prison shortly before noon to start a 44-month sentence for public corruption. Cannon was on house arrest for more than a week leading up to his sentence for violating his bond when he voted in this month’s election, something his felony conviction prohibits him from doing.  His vote was later canceled.