Oddly, the company announced its intention last week when it sent a lengthy e-mail to 400,000 people in Alabama, including a long list of editors, reporters and state legislators who got the same message.
Hold onto your wallets, folks, this one smells.
The e-mail implied that the company has approximately $37 billion “available” for the project, but a stock filing two years ago indicated that $37 billion was the amount of stock the company hoped to sell — over-the-counter at penny-stock prices, the Mobile Press-Register reported.
When a federal auditor (one of those nasty Washington bureaucrats) took a look at the filing, it was found that the company was so poorly capitalized in July 2010 that it was in danger of going out of business.
To make this story more unusual, the Press-Register also reported that Mathias is a registered sex offender in Pennsylvania. Nevertheless, he is pushing ahead with the plan. In 2008, he met with Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey, then leading the Black Belt Action Commission, and claims to have met with Joe McInnes, who was state transportation director under the Riley administration.
Ivey’s office would not say if she endorsed Mathias’ scheme. McInnes did not recall such a meeting, and when asked about the plan, he replied that it “sounds like pie in the sky to me.”
It sounds the same to us.
State officials should be more than skeptical of any undertaking that requires state endorsement and is likely to eventually include taxpayer money. Federal regulators and our congressional delegation should also keep an eye on this Shah Mathias and Ameri-Metro.
As for those who might be tempted to buy stock in this scheme, remember the old adage, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”