Daughter says dad is 'serial con man'

Short wanted to renovate a building near the former Buick City site
FLINT His name is Richard or "Rick" Short. He's the CEO of a company known as RASCO that just Tuesday announced its plan to settle into the Vehicle City.

Wednesday it was learned that he is also a convicted felon on parole. Short stood by Gov. Jennifer Granholm in Lansing to accept tax credits worth about $9 million.

The company, called "Renewable and Sustainable Companies LLC," is an alternative energy business.

Short wanted to renovate a building near the former Buick City site to house the company's headquarters. Those plans though are on hold for now.

Short was arrested at this home Wednesday by Department of Corrections Investigators and the Michigan State Police.

The home's address was registered as the office of his company. As we said, Short is in fact a convicted felon who was until Wednesday afternoon was out on parole.

In 1999 Short took a plea deal in Genesee County and was sentenced to one year in jail for attempted uttering and publishing.

The original charges were forgery and uttering and publishing.

Court records show he -- with help from a Delphi co-worker posing as his estranged wife -- defrauded a mortgage company in Oakland County.

Short obtained a more than $73,000 check and cashed it in Genesee County.

Short also spent time in prison after being convicted of embezzling money from a business in Norton Shores in Muskegon County.

When asked Tuesday, Short denied he had been in prison.

Wednesday morning he said he, in fact, did have some "legal issues" in the past and even agreed to an in-depth on-camera interview Thursday.

Short said he didn't want his past negatively interfering with the "good" he was trying to do in Flint.

While Short's actions shocked many across the state, they come as no surprise to those who knew him best.

We spoke to his daughter. Holly Baker says this is typical behavior for her dad. She says she's glad the law has finally caught up to him.

It's not how most daughters describe their dad. But 31-year-old Baker was at a lost for words when she talked about Short.

She says she was simply floored when she saw her dad on stage with the governor as she announced more than $9 million in tax credits for the company.

Baker says her dad has pulled stunts for years, including using her social security number and even faking cancer.

Even though it is her dad, she says she hopes his arrest will be a learning tool to show that good always triumphs evil.

Baker says her dad has tried contacting her over the years. She says it's been about 10 since she's seen him, and she has no plans on visiting him while he's here at the Genesee County Jail.

"All in all, you have three fraud-based convictions and a man who got $9 million in tax credits from the state of Michigan," Leyton said.

Short is on parole now, and according to a corrections spokesman, owes $96,000 in restitution and never reported that he was working again.

Dougovito personally spoke with Short several times yesterday and today. She says he denied he had been in prison yesterday. Today he admitted he had some legal issues in his past and had even scheduled an in-depth interview for tomorrow.

"It was a plea back in 1999. The original charges were forgery and uttering and publishing, and it was reduced to an attempt uttering and publishing. He defrauded a mortgage company," explained Leyton.

It's not clear if state officials knew his history. "It's not all that hard to find out this person's background. All we had to do was go on a computer and find it. So, I suspect someone didn't do their homework," guessed Leyton.

Statement from Flint Mayor Dayne Walling:

"Mr. Short met with my staff on a number of occasions beginning approximately 6 months ago. During these meetings Mr. Short shared his business model and expressed his interest in establishing his company's headquarters in the City of Flint. My staff provided basic information about tax incentives and doing business in Flint.

Because there has not been any direct action by the City of Flint, we had not yet performed our own background check or financial analysis of Mr. Short of RASCO, LLC. These two processes are performed during the final stage of our due diligence investigation into any potential economic development project seeking tax incentives from the city. As a result of not yet entering into this final stage of our investigation, we were unaware of Mr. Short's legal issues."

Dayne Walling
City Of Flint

Statement from Gov. Jennifer Granholm's office:

"Governor Granholm was informed of the details surrounding Mr. Short and RASCO early this afternoon. She is disappointed, and the MEDC has been directed to review its procedures and processes to ensure that this does not happen again, which they are in the process of doing. The MEGA tax incentives have proven to be a great incentive for creating jobs, and it would be unfortunate if the program was in any way diminished by this incident.

"It bears noting and repeating that the state has lost nothing from yesterday's approval of the MEGA for RASCO, which is now on hold. There is no up-front cash involved in this award, and the state has not granted any funds to this company or any other MEGA awardee."

Statement by Greg Main, MEDC President and CEO, regarding RASCO, LLC:

Among 13 projects approved yesterday for tax credits by the Michigan Economic Growth Authority, one was awarded to RASCO (The Renewable and Sustainable Companies).

We have since been advised that a person identified by the company as "Principal & Chief Executive Officer," Richard (Rick) Short is currently on parole after being convicted and serving two years in prison for financial fraud.

We are advised that Mr. Short is under investigation for possible parole violations. It bears noting and repeating that the State has lost nothing from yesterday's approval of the MEGA for RASCO.

There is no upfront cash involved in this award and the State has not granted any funds to this company or any other MEGA awardee.

When a MEGA award is approved, the company and the state agree it will receive tax credits when it reaches investment and job creation or retention measures as spelled out in the agreement.

There is no cash involved as part of the MEGA award except an application fee paid by the company. The MEGA award is performance-based and costs the state nothing if the company fails to meet the terms of its agreement.

No one associated with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and the Michigan Economic Growth Authority (MEGA) was aware of Mr. Short's personal history.

The MEDC conducts due diligence on all MEGA applications prior to submission for consideration by the MEGA board. Included in the company's MEGA application is a requirement for disclosure of any current, pending or expected legal action that may impact the company's ability to meet the obligations set forth in the MEGA agreement.

There was no disclosure by the company of Mr. Short's ongoing parole requirements and supervision.

In this light, we will add to the MEGA application a more explicit requirement of the company that it disclose any prior felony convictions by senior company executives.

In addition we will perform a background check of all company officers prior to any final MEGA award.

Needless to say we are embarrassed by this matter. We work hard to grow, expand and attract business in Michigan and are proud of our achievements. We are taking the anecessary steps to ensure situations such as this do not happen in the future.

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