4th bankruptcy in Texas gov’s tech fund pushes losses above $5M, clouds earnings
AUSTIN, Texas — A fourth Texas high-tech startup that received taxpayer dollars through Gov. Rick Perry’s signature economic development fund has filed for bankruptcy in the $194 million portfolio’s biggest bust yet.
The collapse of bioenergy producer Terrabon Inc., which was awarded $2.75 million in 2010 and was backed by large Perry political donors, raises questions about whether the state’s Emerging Technology Fund launched in 2006 could now be worth less than what taxpayers have put into it.
Terrabon is the fund’s second bankruptcy in the past four months, losses that severely cut into state estimates that the fund has so far delivered a $4.5 million return on investment.
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.