By Phil Kabler, Charleston Gazette-Mail
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The state wrote off $24.33 million in losses on a $25 million venture capital loan program created almost two decades ago, according to a legislative audit released Tuesday.
Seven venture capital companies have repaid just $674,222 of the principal on $24.51 million in state loans. Four of the companies collected a combined $16 million in loans landed in receivership. Two companies took in $8 million and never invested in West Virginia companies.
“In summary, it is the legislative auditor’s opinion that the loan program did not achieve the intended outcomes and what was achieved is difficult to quantify,” the audit concludes.
State Economic Development Authority Associate Director Caren Wilcher wrote to auditors that five companies invested a combined $41 million in 25 West Virginia companies, creating or retaining 409 jobs. That would work out to an average cost of nearly $60,000 a job, based on the program’s losses of $24.33 million.
Citing missing or incomplete records, auditors could not verify Wilcher’s findings…