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UPDATE: Keeping track of taxpayer money with IBM

On Tuesday, ABC 17 News followed up with the Missouri Department of Economic Development about employment numbers at the IBM facility in Columbia.

ABC 17 News reported back in October that employment numbers dropped below 400 at the facility.

IBM came to Columbia back in 2010. The company promised 800 jobs in return for $28 million in tax incentives.

It’s a promise that IBM has never fulfilled and the state suspended some of the tax credits and programs earlier this year.

After more than a year of investigating the company, ABC 17 News requested an interview with the director of the Missouri Department of Economic Development.

The department declined an interview, so ABC 17’s Jillian Fertig sent an email to DED on October 14 asking the state seven questions:

1. The total dollar amount of all money received by IBM from the state since 2010.

2. Is there a deadline for IBM to raise their employment numbers above 400 before the agreement is null, meaning none of the incentives/programs can be restored?

3. Will IBM have to pay back the state for money received since they have not fulfilled their end of the deal?

4. Has the state verified that the employees reporting to the Columbia facility actually physically live in Missouri and work at the facility?

5. Has the state verified that training dollars IBM received actually went toward training?

6. Is the state aware that IBM is under investigation in Iowa for the petitioning of H1-B visas after laying off hundreds of American workers, similar to the mass layoffs here? If so, what is the state’s response?

7. What is the state going to do if IBM employment numbers continue to drop?

On the date the email was sent, DED said it would begin working to answer these questions.

More than a month and a half later, the state has still not responded, even after ABC 17 News reached out to DED again on Tuesday.

ABC 17 News also reached out to IBM, but the company quit returning phone calls to the station months ago.

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