Virginia Beach multimillionaire businessman Bruce Thompson wrote an op-ed to the Richmond Times Dispatch in which he states “risky offshore drilling is just not worth it.”
Not worth it, that is, for Bruce Thompson.
You see Thompson actually wrote it this way “For business owners like me, the takeaway is clear: risky offshore drilling is just not worth it.”
The problem for taxpayers like you and me is that we’re not “business owners like” Bruce Thompson. We don’t contribute close to $300,000 to politicians of both parties like Thompson does who then turn around and approve public-private partnerships in order to fund his business ventures.
Thompson is no ordinary, run of the mill business owner. He exemplifies what is known in today’s political world as a crony capitalist — getting politicians to get local taxpayers to carry the risk and the debt burden for personal profit.
Thompson’s public-private partnerships aren’t used to build schools or roads. For business owners like Thompson, these publicly financed projects are owned by him.
In the May 2017 edition of Virginia Business Magazine, Thompson is quoted as saying about his business model (which he helped pass into law during the McDonnell Administration) it “sits in the toolbox ready to go to provide the differential between market-rate deals and the aspiration of where a community wants to be to fill a void or gap in the market.”
Nice business model, huh?
When the market doesn’t support a project because there is too much risk to warrant normal private investment, Thompson uses a scheme where you and I pick up the rest of the tab.
It’s called gap-financing. Thompson says it is used to help the community. Yes, there is some community benefit, but let us be clear the primary beneficiary of his most recent projects in The Cavalier in Virginia Beach and The Main Norfolk will be: Bruce Thompson.
Thompson is a successful businessman. He is politically active and even helped write the legislation that he later used to build his financial future. Yet why is a multimillionaire businessman so opposed to offshore drilling? He says it poses too much risk — for Bruce Thompson.
What about the welder who wants to raise a family in Virginia Beach? What about someone who lives here and works on an oil rig? Or repairs boats?
Virginia Beach is a community, not the private fief of one man. Offshore drilling and energy alternatives are in the absolute best interest of Virginia Beach, even if they aren’t in the private interests of one businessman.
James Cohen is a Virginia Beach activist and prominent business conservative.