In an ABC 17 News Truth Alert, we analyzed the latest ads and claims made by Missouri gubernatorial candidates Gov. Jay Nixon and Dave Spence.In a commercial from Nixon, the governor claims Dave Spence supported the bailout as a leader of Reliance Bank in St. Louis. It took some time digging to find information about Spence’s time at the bank. When ABC 17 News called the public relations contact on the company’s website, his mailbox was full. When we tried to email him, the message was kicked back. A call to the bank went to voicemail.According to media reports, Spence joined the bank’s Board of Directors in May 2005. He left in March 2011 and in November he announced he was running for governor.Nixon’s ad quotes Spence as saying, “Our bank, after I was in, took TARP funds.” That is true. Reliance Bank received $40 million in bailout money on February 13, 2009. According to federal documents, Reliance has earned more than $2 million in dividends off of bailout money and has not paid any of the $40 million back to the government.In a separate ad, Nixon’s campaign states Spence received an “insider loan” from Reliance Bank to pay for a $1 million home near the Lake of the Ozarks. According to tax records, Spence bought the property on Horseshoe Bend on April 19, 2010. Because of disclosure laws in most Missouri counties, we do not know how much Spence actually paid for the property. However, we do know that it is currently appraised at $750,000, well below what Nixon’s ad states, and that Spence took out a $1 million mortgage on the home. In a commercial from Spence targeting Nixon, the ad claims “Missouri’s economic growth remained stagnant” and is falling behind every state in the region. That data comes from the Bureau of Economic Analysis and was based on gross domestic product. It shows Missouri’s economy hardly grew in 2010 and was less than any of the state’s neighbors.Another Spence ad states jobs from Harley Davidson went to another state because Nixon refused to meet with the company and instead went to the state fair. It is true that Nixon’s ham breakfast was the same day Harley Davidson leaders visited Kansas City. The ad does not say that the governor participated with company leaders over the phone.As for the jobs statement, Harley Davidson chose not to build a factory or create jobs in another state and instead will keep its Kansas City plant open, which makes vehicle and power train operations.
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