(CONTINUED FROM LEE COUNTY)
(Nov. 1, 2011)


     VR Laboratories LLC, a botanical pharmaceutical company that expects to create hundreds of jobs, has chosen Jeff Kottkamp, a former lieutenant governor for Florida, as its CEO. Wow !! A lawyer, with no business experience? 

" Kottkamp will oversee VR's operations, leading its efforts to manufacture botanical and medicinal foods and pharmaceutical products – and to bring them to market.

In a statement, Kottkamp said, "VR Laboratories will bring more than 200 new jobs and an estimated $40 million annually into Lee County's economy. Southwest Florida is my home and to facilitate the growth of this organization and establish its presence in Lee County is truly an honor.

As Florida's lieutenant governor, Kottkamp . .  led Florida's economic development efforts in aerospace sitting as the chairman of Space Florida. He also focused on growing the state's biotech and life sciences industry, helping to bring the Max Planck Research Institute to Florida."

Before he was elected lieutenant governor, Kottkamp was a lawyer.and a state representative for Lee, Charlotte and Sarasota counties for three terms.

Robert Gow, chairman and founder of HerbalScience, which licensed its proprietary technology platform to VR Laboratories, said there's no better leader than Kottkamp to introduce the new products to the global marketplace. Yes indeed, as a former CEO myself, I always said there is no one better to run your company (especially a tech-savvy green company like VR Laboratories) than a lawyer - especially one with NO business experience, and NO formal Technical Education. 

But then, Gow explained his decision thus:

"Jeff's experience in bringing global health care business to Florida during his tenure as lieutenant governor, his legal expertise as a top ranking attorney and his roots in Southwest Florida further strengthen VR Laboratories and its position in a growing and competitive industry." Reginald Steele, the chairman of VR Laboratories, said Kottkamp has been interested in what the company has been doing for some time. We think Jeff has got a lot of energy and is highly motivated and is a people type person and has expertise in managing a company such as us (sic)," Steele said.

So, political connections, top ranked  lawyering (BCS, Coaches Poll, AP ?) , roots, lotsa energy, and interest, are what's needed to run a million dollar corporation? Oh, and "he's a people person." 

And where exactly did Mr. Kottkamp get all that expertise in running a million dollar corporation?" Your millions, by the way.

This year Lee County Commissioners (people persons in their own right) approved financial incentives of $5 million for VR Laboratories, based on its promise to create more than 200 high-paying jobs over the next five years. The incentives were awarded through the county's Financial Incentives for Recruiting Strategic Targets (FIRST) initiative, which created a $25 million fund to spend on economic diversification (out of your tax dollars).

That probably explains it. 

The company now has six employees. Hmmm . . . I wonder if these people are part of those six jobs they have 'created.'



C (OMPTROLLER) 
SCHMIDT, MICHAEL PH.D.
3301 BONITA BEACH ROAD, SUITE 315
BONITA SPRINGS, FL 34134  

Title MGR 
GOW, KAY F DR.
3301 BONITA BEACH ROAD, SUITE 315
BONITA SPRINGS FL 34134 

Title D (irector)
GOW, ROBERT T (any relation to Kay ?)
3301 BONITA BEACH ROAD, SUITE 315
BONITA SPRINGS FL 34134

Title D 
KOTTKAMP, JEFFREY D (Former State legislator, who got them the (your) money)
3301 BONITA BEACH ROAD, STE 315
BONITA SPRINGS FL 34134 

Title D 
STEELE, REGINALD N SR
3301 BONITA BEACH ROAD, STE 315
BONITA SPRINGS FL 34134  

And I wonder how much each is receiving in compensation? 

'Entrepreneur' has become a throwaway concept in recent years. An "Entrepreneur" is someone who risks his own money to start up a business. Someone who risks my money (taxpayer), is not an "Entrepreneur." Where I come from, someone who gets taxpayer money from a politician, then hires that politician to run his company is a crook

You may want to check this out: Gow v. Commissioner

Or this:                                    Gow vs. IRS

THE "ENTREPRENEURS" OF THIS COMPANY WILL BE WELL COMPENSATED. THIS COMPANY WILL FAIL. THE TAXPAYER (YOU AND I) WILL GET STUCK ONCE AGAIN. SOMEONE SHOULD GO TO JAIL, BUT THEY NEVER DO. 

Well, Solyndra started small with your money. I feel truly honored. And you?



As spat
lingers,
hiring
on hold

Ft. Myers News-Press, September 1, 2012
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

REMEMBER WHERE YOU HEARD IT FIRST. WE NEED BUSINESS PEOPLE ON THE LEE COUNTY COMMISSION - NOT SOFT TOUCHES.
           Plans by a company that’s getting $5 million in Lee County tax money to bring more than 200 high-paying manufacturing jobs here are being stalled by a dispute with the contractor that’s building the plant. VR Laboratories is fitting out an 18,000-square-foot building off Alico Road to produce its line of V!Ah (pronounced V-ahh!) natural wellness drinks based on proprietary plant extracts.

The rented building sits vacant, however, because Bonita Springs-based VR Laboratories refuses to pay its general contractor, Fort Myers-based GCM Contracting Solutions, almost a million dollars of the $5.8 million contract.

“They owe us over $900,000” but won’t pay even though the job’s been essentially complete since July 17, GCM owner Robert Brown said. “They’ve never paid us anything” except about $4.7 million it’s drawn from the $5 million the county is providing from a pool of $25 million being used to attract good jobs here. GCM has filed a lien for $918,000, mainly to pay the remainder of what’s owed to subcontractors. Ten subcontractors have filed their own liens, which total about $750,000.

         B.J. Rosinus of Alico Road Business Park LP, which owns the building, said he’s concerned because VR “shouldn’t have allowed any liens to be put on the building. Our lease is very, very clear that they’re responsible for all the improvements they were making and planning to make.”

         VR Labs CEO Jeff Kottkamp, former lieutenant governor of the state, said the standoff is GCM’s fault, because the job wasn’t done properly.

       “We’ve given the general contractor a list of issues we’re concerned about,” Kottkamp said. “Obviously the job’s not finished. It’s a turnkey operation and has to be turned over to us as a fully operational bottling plant.”

        But Brown said there’s nothing wrong with the plant and that VR is stalling because it doesn’t have the money to pay for the rest of the work. A particularly sore point is the $2.4 million in the contract for high-tech bottling equipment. Brown said the equipment was paid for, but mostly not delivered by Williams Specialty Bottling Equipment. He questioned whether Williams, run by 30-year-old John Williams of Bonita Springs, really intends to supply the equipment.

       Kottkamp said Williams is a “genius” who’s come up with unrivaled sophisticated software for the equipment but declined to say more.
“Honestly now we’re talking about serious intellectual property,” Kottkamp said. “I don’t mean to be secretive but this is a very competitive area.”

      Jim Moore, executive director of the Lee County Economic Development Office, said he’s concerned that the dispute is preventing the plant from starting operations and that he’d like to see the equipment himself — at VR’s request, Williams hasn’t delivered most of it to the plant pending resolution of the dispute. Kottkamp said he’ll show the equipment to Moore although “I don’t think it’s all physically here (in Southwest Florida).”

       He called the project’s problems “speed bumps” that aren’t uncommon in complicated projects such as this, and said VR is producing its products at another company’s plant that’s been modified to make the V!Ah line. The jobs will eventually come, Kottkamp said, adding he’s already hired a chief operating officer and two quality control experts.

       “They spend every single day preparing for when we’re operational,” Kottkamp said.


By Dick Hogan

WHY DID THE COUNTY COMMISSION GIVE THEM THE MONEY IN THE FIRST PLACE? BECAUSE THE HORIZON COUNCIL SAID SO? BECAUSE JIM MOORE THOUGHT IT WAS A GOOD IDEA? 

I WARNED AGAINST VR LABS ON THIS PAGE.(http://www.naplesnews.com/videos/detail/election-2012-john-sawyer-lee-county-commission/ ) ONE WEEK BEFORE MR. HOGAN FILED HIS EXPOSE. ONE WEEK AGO !! COINCIDENCE?

 ARE YOU LISTENING NOW?






​VR LABS, AND OTHER B. S. 

Letter to the Editor - News Press (unpublished, of course) September 30, 2012



Once again Dick Hogan writes (“VR Labs doing fine CEO says” - Sept. 28) about yet another connected politician (John Manning) explaining that the VR Labs fiasco is a “private matter,” assuring us that he “feel (s) much better now than (he) did a few days ago” because VR Labs “retained counsel and they’re very committed to Lee County.” We’re all so relieved.

Where was the News-Press two years ago when those such as Commissioner Manning were contemplating the $5 million taxpayer-funded contribution to VR Labs? Why didn’t the BOCC and the News-Press Google the background of the VR ownership? I did; and discovered serious issues with director Robert Gow dating back to 2001, and an obvious conflict of interest concerning the appointment of ex-Lt. Governor Kottkamp as company CEO. In November of 2011, I published a strongly-worded and documented article on my website, with copies to the media, condemning the donation and stating flatly that VR Laboratories was a scam and would fail. Until August of this year, when I was contacted by an out-of-state attorney representing a VR sub-contractor, no one in the media bothered to investigate.

Where was the oversight then among County Commissioners, who now too often can‘t “ be reached for comment?” Why am I the only candidate for County Commissioner who has spoken out in the past and continues to do so today? For that matter, why am I the only candidate who is not on board with the millions of dollars we are wasting on spring training baseball parks? Before the primary, candidate Larry Kiker was all over Ray Judah for his spending on ballparks. At the SW Florida Chamber luncheon Wednesday, he couldn’t say enough good things about adding more millions to acquire the Washington Nationals here for spring training. Now that Ray Judah is out, is irresponsible spending no longer an issue? 

“Under the terms of the grant, VR is required to create 208 high-paying jobs and make at least $16,413,370 in capital expenditures by the end of 2015 ” writes Mr. Hogan. Or what ? By entering into a written contract with the county, any failure on VR’s part to live up to the terms of that agreement become a civil matter, and criminal prosecution becomes nearly impossible. They will just declare bankruptcy and sail into the sunset - with our money, just as I predicted.

Well, John Manning feels better How about you








Written by
Rick Diamond 
Special to news-press.com
Filed Under
Opinion

October 5, 2012

“VR Labs doing fine, CEO says” was the headline in the Sept. 28 edition. In the same story, Lee County commission Chairman John Manning, after meeting with the company’s CEO Jeff Kottkamp and VR director Robert T. Gow said, “I feel much better now.”

Why?

Jim Moore, the executive director of the county’s Economic Development Office has expressed serious doubts as to whether the 2-year-old VR Laboratories LLC, the recipient of a $5 million county grant, will ever achieve its goal of creating 206 high-paying jobs.

VR Labs is currently involved in disputes with its general contractor and its bottling equipment manufacturer and has yet to announce when it expects to be operational. VR Labs has already spent $4.7 million of its $5 million grant and, in accordance with its performance agreement with the county, is required to invest $2.7 million of its own money in capital expenditures by the end of this year. However, under the lenient terms of the performance agreement, there is no way the timetable can be enforced.
So far, VR Labs has hired nine employees, including CEO Jeff Kottkamp at a salary of $240,000. Kottkamp is a former local attorney, a four-term state representative and former Gov. Charlie Crist’s lieutenant governor. Which raises the question: Why would that qualify him to run a high-tech, health drink company?

MY NOTE: YES THE QUESTION (SEE ARTICLE ABOVE) I RAISED A YEAR AGO.

VR Labs has acquired licensing rights to the “proprietary and breakthrough technology platform invented by Herbal Science Group LLC. The technology platform solves the credibility problems long associated with botanical health products.”

Gow, a VR Labs director, is also the Herbal Science’s managing partner. His wife, Kay F. Gow, who has a Ph.D. in business, is VR’s managing partner and chief administrative officer. Herbal Science, which started in 2000, has about 10 employees and occupies offices in the same Bonita Springs building as VR Labs.

Nearly five years ago, county commissioners set aside $25 million for the EDO to offer grants to national companies to open a Lee County office and hire employees at salaries well above our low median pay. The Gartner Co., a world-renowned information technology research company already had a small office here and, in 2009, it received $1.6 million grant to expand that office. A success story, Gartner now has 350 employees here.

That same year, Commissioner Ray Judah, knowing that Algenol BioTech Inc. had a small corporate office in Bonita, teamed with Moore to persuade the company to build its main plant here with the possibility of 1,000 jobs. Moore now states that, “While Algenol has lived up to all its $10 million grant agreements, it is still in the research phase and that converting algae to ethanol may never be commercially viable.”

To date, the EDO has had job creation success, on a smaller scale, with nearly a dozen companies. However with 60 percent of its $25 million committed to Algenol and VR Labs, it is doubtful that county commissioners will continue to fund the program if VR Labs is not successful.

Moore recommended the VR Labs grant, but said he had second thoughts when he had not received all the company’s documentations, and stated he notified three commissioners of his concerns. All grant recommendations are approved by the commission.

Moore, who once served as the school district’s chief business officer, stated: “With the wisdom of hindsight, I should have recommended revising the program’s guidelines to never consider startup companies and to require all companies seeking grants to have capital investments at least 10 times in excess of the grant.”

Decent jobs are desperately needed in Lee County, so let’s hope the program can be saved and revised.


CAN YOU SAY PLAGIARIZE?
ANOTHER SOLYNDRA?
ANOTHER SOLYNDRA?
ANOTHER SOLYNDRA?
JANUARY 16, 2013 UPDATE, UPDATE: (Buried in section "Z" of the News-Press)
  "KOTTKAMP RESIGNS AT VR LABS CEO" 
WHO SAW THAAAAAAAT COMING !?
CLICK HERE
JOHN W. SAWYER
FOR
LEE COUNTY
COMMISSIONER