Like Herpes… Kinston’s infamous GlobalTrans Park is Baaaack!
I was among multi-thousands of Kinston/Lenoir County residents and expats that were thrilled in the early 90s about The Global TransPark (GTP).
“Arguably, the single largest political flim flam in the history of this state…”
This gory story is looong. But worth almost every word. Trust me…
GTP was not only going to revitalize a DuPont-less / tobacco-less Down East economy… it was gonna, by golly, do for Lenoir County and environs what RTP has done for “The Triangle”. WOW!
In 1992-93 I attended a presentation by GTP conceptor John Kasada explaining how J-I-T manufacturing/distribution was The Wave of The Future. Kasada spoke to a group of “us” Raleigh mover/shakers at The Ramada Crabtree. VERY impressive… Kasada was “passionate”. It was infectious.
As I recall – J-I-T was for “Just-In-Time” which meant a manufacturing plant located literally ON an airport runway could receive components by air when needed to complete production then ship-out the finished products using the same airport facility.
Maintaining a costly parts inventory was eliminated. The airport would be strictly for the facilities located with-in The Park… no commercial passenger traffic. Convenient truck and rail-access and a nearby seaport would also be nice.
Dozens of companies would clamor to relocate to Kinston supplying over 100,000 high-paying jobs by 2010 to an economically distressed /depressed area. That number fell short by 99,653 give or take…
Remember those last paragraphs. It’s important later on…
I owned real estate in Kinston. The prospect it might actually have resale value was exciting.
GTP kicked off with the usual ruffles & flourishes and bi-partisan political pontifications… of course. The NCGA appropriated oodles of tax-payer $$$… assorted other federal $$$ came in. Quite a “nest egg” to SAVE KINSTON… and THE WHOLE DOWN EAST AREA of NC… YIPPEE .
Over $300,000,000 in guvmint funds have gone into GTP… and never been seen again. Unless you count a few seaside mansions at Figure Eight and stuff like that.
Twenty-five years later there is ONE small industry at Kinston’s Stalling Airfield… ONE… that is the equivalent of there ain’t SQUAT.
What happened to all the $300,000,000 of public funding? What happened indeed…
“All that money” went into fancy leather-bound feasibility studies prepared by very well-paid feasibility studiers… and all sorts of legal and “public relations” (??) crap. A few million here a few million there… pretty soon – POOF – $300,000,000 was All Gone.
All gone to GOBs (Good Old Boys) who were long time supporters and contributors to North Carolina’s infamous Governor-for-Life James Baxter Hunt, Jr.
Hunt’s last life-term as Governor was 1993-2001… coinciding when GTP was approved for funding. Hunt’s iron-fisted hold on the Governor’s Office would be up in 2001. While the GTP “money pot” was under his control he would repay 30+ years of loyal contributors. Do I need to mention that Jim and his GOBs were all Democrats?
Jim Hunt’s GOBs lined up at the trough and James B. Hunt Jr. ladled out the moolah. Moolah intended to “Save Kinston, Lenoir County and all of Down East”.
GOBs have healthy appetites. Before you could say “Flim Flam… Scam… Crooked Sumbitches” all the GTP funding was gone… burp.
Jim Hunt went home to Rock Ridge where the GOBs still visit to “kiss his ring” and chortle over the Greatest Political Flim Flam in North Carolina’s history.
Jim Hunt’s long time pal in Kinston – C. Felix Harvey – unloaded some depressed real estate to GTP at a fancy price and got a little-used, highway spur named in his honor.
Neither I, nor anyone I know in Kinston, benefitted from any real estate sales as a result of GTP. But, goodness knows, C. Felix could always use a few more million. Bless his heart.
Soooo… GTP became a sad “punchline” around town / county. For the past 20 years, whenever anyone was having a problem with a relationship, job, car, sick pet, hemorrhoids, overdue library book, parking ticket… whatever… the stock response was “Don’t worry. The Global TransPark is going to solve ALL our problems. Just wait and see…” … sigh, sniff, sob.
Fast forward to This Week….
Maybe you’ve heard me mention my pal – Don “Kolchak” Carrington. Don is Executive Editor of The Carolina Journal.
A few of the Blockbusters that Don Carrington had “broken” over the years include:.
Don took the aerial photos of John Edwards’ palatial compound outside Chapel Hill. Edward’s “Other Other America”. Those photos and “Rielle” kiboshed John’s political career… much to the regret of The News & Observer especially their ace political sleuth – RobRielleWho Christensen.
Don broke the story of the “Queen Mary” Easley Scandal at NC State. “Queen Mary’s” cozy deal with NCSU Trustee McQueen “Howdy Doody” Campbell. That one took down “a Queen”. a Chancellor, a Provost, a Howdy Doody, two turtle doves and a partridge in a pear tree.
Don busted the infamous Randy Parton Theater Scam in Roanoke Rapids. I was sitting with “Kolchak” at THE Goofiest Press Conference Ever at The (toney) Umstead where Randy, Jethro, Elly Mae and Boss Hogg put on a Hoot I’ll never forget. Ya had to be there…
Don is really good at what he does.! This week Don released his story on Return Of The GTP. Yep…. It’s BAAAAACK!
Seems a young fellow – Allen Thomas – who was most recently the Mayor of Greenville is coming to Kinston to be Mr Global TransPark. His gig in Greenville, albeit prestigious, didn’t pay well. Apparently this new gig with GTP does… pay well.
Have I mentioned that Allen’s dad – Joe Thomas – was a Jim Hunt GOB? Here we go again.
When Ray/Roy “Chicken” Cooper whupped McCrory back in November (with those 10,000 midnight votes), Young Allen stood in the “Got anything for me, Roy?” line. Allen was thinking Head of DOT but Roy had already promised that plum to 5-6 others who outranked Joe’s boy Allen.
Ray/Roy dug around in the pile of “easy gigs with 6-figure salaries that I can give to people like Allen Thomas”. VOILA… Roy came up with Mr. GTP.
I’ve never met Allen Thomas. I bet he’s a fine fellow. A real Go-Getter. He is a white male. Lets assume he’s heterosexual. The people that “own Roy Cooper” i.e. Rev “Bully” Barber and the LGBT Gang don’t allow Roy to appoint all that many straight white males to these crony jobs. Be thankful there’s at least one… maybe.
I’ve reached the 1,000 word mark. Do you want me to stop? I’ll be glad to if that’s what you want? …. OK… I’ll continue.
WARNING: It gets a tad Silly now!
If Mr GTP can cajole one itty bitty company to relocate to “The GTP”. That will be a 100% improvement over the ONE that has come in the past 25 years. You can bet that’s how The Cooper-lovin’ N&O will spin it too.
Earlier I noted, John Kasada’s model for GTP included convenient Interstate access… convenient railroad… and, ideally, a convenient seaport.
Ideally, a 500-mile circle from GTP would include many large population areas. Draw a 500-mile circle from Kinston and 40% of it IS THE ATLANTIC OCEAN… uh oh.
Fred Smith chose centrally-located Memphis as HQ for FedEx for sound business reasons… not just the ribs at The Rendezvous.
Louisville KY would have been a terrific location for GTP… but then Jim Hunt’s GOBs woulda been SOL twenty years ago. … and Allen Thomas still waiting for Roy Cooper to come up with “something for Joe’s boy”.
What about “close proximity to a major Interstate”? I-95 is fifty miles away … that’s 23 stop lights, six barbecue joints and eleven Dollar Stores.
Kinston’s Celebrity Chef Vivian Howard could put on a Bake Sale to raise the Billion. OK… maybe 3-4 Bake Sales.
Access to a major seaport to utilize That OCEAN that takes up 40% of the market area?
Dredge out a DownEast/Panama-esque Canal from Kinston to Morehead City using The Neuse River? Sure why not? … those fellas that dug up The Ram Neuse 40 years ago could probably do that. Another dozen or so Vivian Howard Bake Sales minimum. More lemon bars Vivian!
One of my BFFs – MaryPage – could help. MaryPage is a lifelong Kinstonian, a lifelong PDEW, and a VERY VERY fine artist. She really is… all three!
PDEW = Pretty Down East Woman… for those of you who don’t follow BobLee. Is there anybody who “doesn’t follow BobLee”?
MaryPage could organize a Starving Artist Sale at Fairfield Park… in addition to her most excellent works perhaps she could find a few velvet Elvis’… and Dogs Playing Poker prints are always popular.
Vivian, MaryPage and a bunch of other locals… maybe local Bojangles Tycoon Cam McRae could kick-in a nickle for every Bo-biscuit he sells on Tuesdays. Whattaya say Cam?
By golly… GTP might work this time around… giggle, giggle. You just know “Joe’s boy” is gonna go gangbusters… working tirelessly day and night and weekends scouring the countryside for…. at least one more business so GTP has a total of TWO.
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There are 100s of sad tales like this one all across America. Political hacks and $300,000,000 flim-flams are nothing new.
This expose won’t make a bit of difference. But, if through the utter futility of it all, it made you laugh… what else might you have done the past ten minutes that woulda been a better use of your time. Really?