One might assume the $7 million stimulus contract that Deerfield Beach businessman J. David Eller recently won for his family's manufacturing company, MWI Corp., was the result of some successful schmoozing or campaign donations to his congressman, U.S. Rep. Ron Klein.
But Eller's no Klein fan. When contacted last week, Klein spokesperson Melissa Silverman was not familiar with the deal and was certain it didn't come out of a meeting with her boss.
Instead, Eller is a former Jeb Bush business partner and longtime GOP donor. Members of his family have contributed a hefty $9,400 to Republican Allen West's campaign, according to the nonprofit Center for Responsive Politics.
West, as my colleague Tom Francis has reported at length, is an extremely sane, nonviolent guy who supports oil drilling off South Florida's coast and will surely be a good watchdog for the big business interests in his district.
And speaking of that $7 million contract that MWI got to supply water pumps for a dam renovation project in California... how many jobs did it create? This was, after all, a stimulus project, ostensibly intended to jump-start the local economy.
Yet according to government records compiled by OMB Watch
, a nonprofit watchdog group, the contract, awarded to MWI in January, has so far created no jobs at all
. It's still in the planning stages.
UPDATE: According to the federal stimulus website Recovery.gov
, the company has created the equivalent of 1.72 jobs, based on the number of hours worked on the project so far.
Eller, who says he's semiretired from the company and not familiar with daily operations, is not sure how many people have been hired recently. The company has 240 manufacturing employees, but the only new hires he could name were two managers.
He did, however, mention that many employees have been working extra shifts lately and putting in an "enormous amount of overtime" to handle the increased workload.
Excellent. People working longer hours but not creating new jobs. Just what the American economy needs right now.