Folks in New Hampshire are suspicious about "grant" money being handed out by Northern Pass Transmission and its sponsor, Eversouce. And one organization has returned the money when the "grant" didn't smell right.
“All our other grant awards come with letters of congratulations, including reporting requirements and specifications on how the funder would like to be recognized in Rec Center publicity,” she said, noting that the CCJCA award “came with no such letter.”
Morann said her board had recommended “that we apply for it (the CCJCA grant) and then wanted to see what the conditions were.”
“We were never able to discern the conditions” and whether they included giving public support to the CCJCA and Northern Pass, Morann said, “and after the check had been cut and I attended the ceremony at the request of the board of directors, the board met (Thursday) and decided to return the money.”
There's lots of press about Eversource sprinkling "grant" money around the proposed route of its transmission project.
But, of course, there are no strings attached to the money.
The money came by way of the Coös County Jobs Creation Association, which was created by Eversource, formerly known as Public Service of New Hampshire.
John Gallus, who chairs the Coös County Jobs Creation Association and is a former state senator and representative from Berlin, said there were absolutely “no strings attached” to the CCJCA awards, other than they be used to create or keep jobs in Coos County.
While Eversource is the financial resource behind it, the jobs creation association is independent, said Gallus, who is disappointed that the recreation center returned the grant.
“They knew where the money came from,” Gallus said. “The grants aren’t based on how anybody feels about Northern Pass and nowhere on our application did it say you had to sign up to great feelings about Northern Pass. We would give money to the biggest opponent of that project if they were creating jobs in Coos County.”
Is the "Coos County Jobs Creation Association" actually a legal entity that files an annual tax return? Or is it just an informal conduit to funnel this money into the community? Ut-oh, rabbit hole ahead!
The Coos County Job Creation Association is registered with the State of New Hampshire, to further the objects and purposes of the promotion and support of job creation for the growth and prosperity of the cities, etc. of Coos County. However, the organization doesn't seem to be registered with the IRS, or to have filed a tax return for 2014. How does New Hampshire keep track of its "non-profit" corporations if they don't file tax returns?
Even curiouser, there already seems to be an organization in Coos County that serves the same purpose. The Coos Economic Development Corporation has been in existence for many years and its purpose is to promote economic growth that fosters a strong and diverse workforce, sustainable employment, and a thriving business community in Coos County.
The documents show that a past president of CEDC was one of the initial directors of the CCJCA, but seems to have been omitted from the CCJCA's most recent annual state filing.
Why does Coos County need two separate non-profits doing the same thing? No wonder the Rec Center seemed uneasy and gave the money back.
Anyhow... the $200,000 in "grants" that the CCJCA has handed out with no strings attached, are just the tip of the iceberg, an appetizer if you will, for the $7.3M more the CCJCA will receive if the transmission project is approved and built.
Eversource has awarded grants to improve cellular service, and in founding the jobs creation association, it provided the entity with $200,000 in seed money while also pledging $7.3 million more if and when the transmission project is approved and built.
How did Eversource "pledge" this additional funding? Is there a written legal agreement that this money will change hands? And I notice that Eversource also "founded" and "created" the CCJCA, according to this news source. If that's so, why is Eversource not mentioned anywhere in the company's Articles filed with the State of New Hampshire?
There's big money to be had for communities that support invasive infrastructure projects, not just in New Hampshire, but nationwide. It's an opportunity for those not directly affected to throw their neighbors under the bus for a little scratch, as long as the project is "not in my backyard." This reverse-NIMBY scenario causes unrest and bickering in the community, and pits neighbor against neighbor. It's divide and conquer in its purest form, often engineered by out-of-state corporations for their own profit. Greed is an enticing motivator.
And, finally, one organization stands up and says no. Bravo! There's a lesson to be learned here by other communities who care for each other and the long-term well-being of their community as a whole, and not their own immediate personal gain.
There ain't no such thing as a free lunch. How much is your personal integrity in the community worth?