The Checkered Past of David L. Rocker and Project Blue
By Paul Gable
Additional revelations about David L. Rocker, Chief Operating Officer of Covation, the company associated with the Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Authority’s embattled Project Blue, reached Grand Strand Daily in the last several days.
Project Blue ran into trouble a month ago when myhorrynews.com and the Myrtle Beach Herald broke several stories about Rocker’s criminal history, which includes a tax fraud conviction, jail sentence and continuing tax liens.
Among other facts, the stories outlined a Klein conspiracy where corporate receipts from National Capital Group, Inc., an alleged investment entity run by Rocker, were diverted to other bank accounts for Rocker’s personal use. Additionally, a trust account in an ABN AMRO Bank branch in Canada is mentioned.
The secrecy in which the MBREDC has tried to cloak Project Blue and the constant references to the “1,000 jobs” the project will allegedly bring to Horry County while details about the company and its principals have been kept quite vague raised warning signals to us from the beginning.
MBREDC asking for up to $24 million in public dollars incentives to get a start-up company up and running at no cost to the principals is not a good deal for the county, in our opinion.
A source in Georgia sent us an e-mail regarding Rocker and Project Blue earlier this week. A follow-up phone call revealed this source was familiar with a person who lost approximately one and one-half million dollars because of the National Capital Group Klein conspiracy.
It took years and “a huge amount of money” to get this person out of the legal mess surrounding the demise of National Capital Group. Ultimately, federal investigators determined this person was “duped” by Rocker, according to the source.
Speaking of Rocker, the source said, “I think there’s more to the story than just tax evasion. I had heard that he defrauded ABN AMRO Bank for millions of dollars at about the same time this was going down. I don’t know why they didn’t prosecute him. They probably didn’t want it to get out that he had gotten them. I was under the impression that he fled to the Philippines not only to avoid prosecution but also because there was a contract out on him.”
“I am pretty appalled that your Development Authority even considers making pre-payments for anything like this,” continued our source. “I hope you were able to save your community from this guy’s talons. Good work and good instincts.”
Third reading approval and public review of Ordinance 53-12 will again be missing from the agenda for the October 16th regular meeting of county council. The ordinance proposes to issue up to $8 million in county general obligation debt to guarantee the purchase of land and construction costs of a building for the project.
The $8 million included in the county ordinance is in addition to approximately $2.5 million in up-front money (mostly from the county) for equipment purchases included in the deal. The remaining approximately $14 million are various tax breaks.
We are hearing that officials of the MBREDC are continuing to lobby around the county in support of Project Blue.
Bringing 1,000 jobs to the county is a wonderful goal. But, is it worth giving away millions of public dollars especially to a group that includes Rocker and his checkered past?