The Campaign Spot

McAuliffe Exaggerates Business Accomplishments; Sun Rises in East

Ken Cuccinelli’s campaign for governor in Virginia thinks they’ve caught their rival, Democrat Terry McAuliffe, exaggerating his business accomplishments again:

Did Terry McAuliffe Inflate Claims About His Home-Building Company’s Productivity?

In a speech to Loudoun County Democrats on June 1, 2013, Terry McAuliffe claimed that he “built 6,000 homes” during his tenure at American Heritage Homes.

“I’ve been in real estate; I’ve built 6,000 homes.” [Terry McAuliffe, Remarks to Loudoun County Democrats, 6/1/3013 http://youtu.be/OxpA0b6ys7o]

McAuliffe’s official LinkedIn page echoes the 6,000 homes claim.

“Within 5 years, McAuliffe and his team successfully built the company into one of the largest and most successful home building companies. During his tenure as chairman, AHH built over 6,000 homes and created thousands of jobs in the construction business.” [“Terry McAuliffe,” LinkedIn.com]

During his 2009 campaign, McAuliffe touted a different — yet still inflated — figure.

“McAuliffe then claimed that his home-building company built 1,300 homes at its peak, but an adviser later clarified that figure was closer to 800” [Amy Gardner, “McAuliffe’s Background Could Prove A Liability,” Washington Post, 5/3/09]

McAuliffe was Chairman of American Heritage Homes for five years, from 1996 to 2001.

“Chairman, American Heritage Homes, 1996-2001.” [“Terry McAuliffe,” LinkedIn.com]

“Terry McAuliffe also served as Chairman of American Heritage Homes — which he acquired when it was a struggling home building company on the verge of bankruptcy.” [“Terry McAuliffe,” LinkedIn.com]

Data from on Florida property records in counties where AHH operated, cross-referenced with deeds in which AHH was listed as the grantor indicate between 4,378 and 5,341 homes were built under McAuliffe’s leadership, depending on the exact dates of his tenure.

Voters may figure 4,400 to 5,400 is close enough to 6,000. However, this is something of a pattern for McAuliffe, and some of his past exaggerations have been considerably bigger:

McAuliffe’s tendency to exaggerate his successes adds to that perception. Describing the apartments he purchased with the union fund, McAuliffe said he “went through every apartment myself, like 1,600 of them, to make sure the toilets worked” — but then added: “Well, I didn’t go through 1,600. But I went through every property exhaustively. Sure I did! I owned them!”

McAuliffe then claimed that his home-building company built 1,300 homes at its peak, but an adviser later clarified that the figure was closer to 800. And at a candidates’ forum in December, in response to Moran’s claim to be the only candidate who had run a business and raised a family in Virginia, McAuliffe boasted of launching five businesses in Virginia.

It turned out that all five are investment partnerships, with no employees, registered to his home address in McLean.

Apparently Terry McAuliffe is just not a details guy.

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