4th bankruptcy in Rick Perry's tech fund adds to total losses
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A fourth Texas high-tech startup that received taxpayer money through Gov. Rick Perry’s signature economic development fund has filed for bankruptcy, pushing the total losses in the $194 million portfolio beyond what the state says the fund has earned.
The collapse of bioenergy producer Terrabon Inc., which was awarded $2.75 million in 2010 and was backed by large Perry political donors, raises the question of whether the state’s Emerging Technology Fund that began in 2006 is now worth less than what taxpayers have put into it.
The state’s venture capital-like fund has raised concerns about accountability and transparency, including a critical report from the state auditor’s office last year. Perry’s political opponents have also hammered him over ties between campaign contributors and fund recipients.
Terrabon’s bankruptcy, which was filed in a Houston federal court in September, is the tech fund’s biggest bust to date and brings the total amount of failed investments to $5.25 million. In the fund’s 2012 annual report released in January, Perry’s office estimated that the portfolio’s 133 investments were worth $4.5 million more than what the state had handed out. ....