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Hertz deal leaves $3.5 million in pot

May 7, 2013


After allocating $4.6 million to Hertz Global Holdings Inc., Lee County commissioners are left with about $3.5 million to lure companies that promise to create jobs, according to county officials.

The largest chunk of $25 million that commissioners set aside in 2009 for a job creation program was paid to Algenol Biofuels. Algenol reports employing 120 people at its research facility off Alico Road and headquarters in Bonita Springs. Commissioners paid $10 million for the research facility that aims to create ethanol from algae.

While commissioners hoped Algenol would build a commercial production facility in Florida, CEO Paul Woods warned last month if Gov. Rick Scott signs a bill repealing a commitment to mandate 10 percent ethanol in gas the company may have to look elsewhere.

Lee commissioners awarded $5 million to VR Labs, a company that was started a week before applying for Lee’s grant and providing financial information from an unrelated company, according to The News-Press reports.

The proposed health drink manufacturer reported creating nine jobs last year, including that of the company’s ex-CEO and former Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp. The company has until Dec. 31 to create the first 40 jobs of 208 jobs that were promised.

Lee gave $1 million to Chico’s FAS Inc., which the clothing retailer used to build office space for expanded operations on Metro Parkway in south Fort Myers.

Gartner Inc., a technology research and advisory company, received $1 million for adding to its local facility and operations in Gateway.

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