Michigan county postpones decision on forming EB-5 regional center
A county in Michigan has decided to postpone its decision regarding whether or not to establish an EB-5 regional center until next year.
The Macomb County commissioners voted 14-12 decided to delay the $40,000 decision after a contentious debate that saw political and personal attacks, according to the Detroit Free Press.
The commissioners had discussed whether joining Mt. Clemens and Clinton Township to form the Macomb County EB-5 Regional Center. Both municipalities would have to pay $30,000 along with the county's $40,000, reports the news source.
The EB-5 visa program was established in 1990 to help U.S. businesses attract foreign capital. Under the program, if a foreign national invests $1 million (or in specially designated areas, $500,000) and that investment results in the creation or preservation of 10 jobs, the investor becomes U.S. green card eligible.
EB-5 regional centers help direct and manage such foreign investments. According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration service, these centers can be "any economic unit, public or private, which is involved with the promotion of economic growth, improved regional productivity, job creation, and increased domestic capital investment."
Ultimately the commissioners decided it was best to hold off on the decision for a variety of reasons such as the fact that many of the officials will no longer be on the board of commissioners once it is restructured at the beginning of next year. In addition, they concluded that it would be inappropriate to spend money on such an endeavor when a new government would be taking over shortly and could decide on the matter itself.
Commissioner Phillip DiMaria mentioned missing Community Central Bank chief executive officer David Widlak into the debate. Widlak, who was last seen on September 19, had expressed interest in the program this last spring and mentioned that his bank might be able to put up some of the funding, reports the news source.
"Maybe there's a line between him missing and this program. That's not known, but we need the police to make that determination," DiMaria said.
If the county decides to form an EB-5 regional center, it would be one of the more than 100 nationwide. Currently, there are four EB-5 regional centers operating in Michigan.