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Federal project works through minor hiccup

November 24, 2019
By Amy H. Peterson - Staff Writer , Estherville News

Jeff Robinson told the Estherville News Tuesday about an investment hiccup with the Department of Defense project he and his group have been working on for two years.

It's a story of inside and outside. Robinson's investment company was responsible to raise money for the outside of the building, and he did. The money has been sitting in an account for about a year and a half. Construction papers have, Robinson said, been signed, sealed and delivered.

"Now in typical federal government fashion, we have a situation where the inside of the building is not ready to go," Robinson said. The cause is the fact that these other investments were found to include investment companies who have touched foreign money.

Part of the reason Robinson's group landed the project was because of the need to avoid foreign investment. Robinson said the federal government had been "all up and down Wall Street," and looking at various investment companies and hedge funds around the nation, but could not find a group that was not tainted with foreign investment funds.

"The money we found was good old Midwestern money. Minnesota money, Iowa money, all clean and verified money," Robinson said.

The Department of Defense than asked, "Jeff, can you help us finance what's going inside the building?"

Robinson agreed, but wished he'd been approached to finance both sides a year ago or more. Robinson's group is now vetting investors for the inside of the building.

Robinson said while the group signed a contract with a construction company in Virginia familiar with building facilities for the CIA, FBI and NSA as well as the Department of Defense, building facilities across Iowa, starting with Estherville, will be a monumental task and the Virginia company will subcontract tasks to companies in Iowa.

Robinson also said the project will need other contractors. For expenses over $5,000, vendors, suppliers and service providers need to get on an approved list. Lyle Hevern, Estherville and Emmet County economic development director, is in charge of helping local businesses get on the approved list, a process that can take months, Robinson said.



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