This morning, Joe sent along a comment mentioning a story about Foxconn from the national technology website The Verge. (Many thanks for the pointer.)
Josh Dzieza reports One month ago, Foxconn said its innovation centers weren’t empty — they still are (“Foxconn still hasn’t done anything with the buildings it bought in Wisconsin”):
Last summer, Foxconn announced that it would buy buildings across Wisconsin and turn them into “innovation centers” as part of its record-breaking $4.5 billion tax subsidy agreement with the state. The initial agreement with Wisconsin had been for a large-screen LCD manufacturing facility, but by 2018, the company had downsized the factory to a far smaller type. That factory would employ only a tiny fraction of the 13,000 people Foxconn had promised to hire, and the company’s plan to make up the shortfall was to hire people to develop an as-yet undefined “AI 8K+5G ecosystem.” These employees would work on Foxconn’s main campus in Mount Pleasant as well as in the innovation centers scattered across the state, which were supposed to open early this year.
In March, The Verge visited Foxconn’s innovation centers across Wisconsin and found them mostly empty. Several dozen employees worked in its Milwaukee headquarters, but only minor renovations had been done to the building, half of which was rented out to a financial services firm. The owner of a building Foxconn had promised to buy in Eau Claire had canceled the contract after the deal stalled and Foxconn tried to renegotiate. The other Eau Claire innovation center also appeared to be stalled, and no one involved with remodeling it had received a contract or been paid. In Green Bay, the parts of the building Foxconn bought that weren’t vacant were rented out to unrelated businesses. The same went for the buildings Foxconn had bought in Racine.
Foxconn’s Alan Yeung said the innovation centers were “not empty,” which prompted laughter from the crowd. Yeung also said The Verge’s story contained “a lot of inaccuracies” and that the company would issue a correction soon. He did not say what those inaccuracies were, and Foxconn never issued a correction, nor has it responded to repeated requests to clarify Yeung’s statement.
One month after Yeung’s comments and promise of a correction, every innovation center in Wisconsin is still empty, according to public documents and sources involved with the innovation center process. Foxconn has yet to purchase the Madison building Yeung announced, according to Madison property records. No renovation or occupancy permits have been taken out for Foxconn’s Racine innovation center, though a permit has been taken out for work on the roof of another property Foxconn bought for “smart city” initiatives. There has been no activity in Foxconn’s Green Bay building, either.
Honest to goodness: Foxconn – and its dwindling number of proponents in Wisconsin and in Whitewater – make excuses and tell lies as though the adult men and women of this state were dimwitted children.
Previously: 10 Key Articles About Foxconn, Foxconn as Alchemy: Magic Multipliers, Foxconn Destroys Single-Family Homes, Foxconn Devours Tens of Millions from State’s Road Repair Budget, The Man Behind the Foxconn Project, A Sham News Story on Foxconn, Another Pig at the Trough, Even Foxconn’s Projections Show a Vulnerable (Replaceable) Workforce, Foxconn in Wisconsin: Not So High Tech After All, Foxconn’s Ambition is Automation, While Appeasing the Politically Ambitious, Foxconn’s Shabby Workplace Conditions, Foxconn’s Bait & Switch, Foxconn’s (Overwhelmingly) Low-Paying Jobs, The Next Guest Speaker, Trump, Ryan, and Walker Want to Seize Wisconsin Homes to Build Foxconn Plant, Foxconn Deal Melts Away, “Later This Year,” Foxconn’s Secret Deal with UW-Madison, Foxconn’s Predatory Reliance on Eminent Domain, Foxconn: Failure & Fraud, Foxconn Roundup: Desperately Ill Edition, Foxconn Roundup: Indiana Layoffs & Automation Everywhere, Foxconn Roundup: Outside Work and Local Land, Foxconn Couldn’t Even Meet Its Low First-Year Goal, Foxconn Talks of Folding Wisconsin Manufacturing Plans, WISGOP Assembly Speaker Vos Hopes You’re Stupid, Lost Homes and Land, All Over a Foxconn Fantasy, Laughable Spin as Industrial Policy, Foxconn: The ‘State Visit Project,’ ‘Inside Wisconsin’s Disastrous $4.5 Billion Deal With Foxconn,’ Foxconn: When the Going Gets Tough…, The Amazon-New York Deal, Like the Foxconn Deal, Was Bad Policy, Foxconn Roundup, Foxconn: The Roads to Nowhere, Foxconn: Evidence of Bad Policy Judgment, Foxconn: Behind Those Headlines, Foxconn: On Shaky Ground, Literally, Foxconn: Heckuva Supply Chain They Have There…, Foxconn: Still Empty, and the Chairman of the Board Needs a Nap, Foxconn: Cleanup on Aisle 4, Foxconn: The Closer One Gets, The Worse It Is, Foxconn Confirms Gov. Evers’s Claim of a Renegotiation Discussion, and America’s Best Know Better.