Former CEO admits to manufacturing plant swindle

The Moberly City Council holds a special meeting discussing Project Sugar investigation costs and participation in a joint investigation agreement at 3 p.m. on Friday, October 28, 2011 at Moberly City Hall. The meeting was the first public council discussion of Mamtek after the project failed. | Courtesy of KOMU News/Flickr
The Moberly City Council held a special meeting about Mamtek in October 2011 (above). Mamtek CEO Bruce Cole has since pleaded guilty to three felony counts. | Courtesy of KOMU News/Flickr

The former CEO of a company that announced it would open an artificial sweetener plant in a small north Missouri town, but never did, has pleaded guilty to three felony counts connected to the scandal.

In 2010, Mamtek CEO Bruce Cole persuaded city leaders in Moberly to issue $39 million in bonds to build the plant, which was to employ 600 people. Shortly afterward, the state’s Economic Development Department kicked in $17 million in tax credits for the project.

But the artificial sweetener plant never opened. Construction on the facility halted after Mamtek missed its first bond payment in September 2011. Moberly’s bond rating was downgraded as a result. In 2012, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster filed charges against Cole, including charges that he funneled some of the bond money intended for the plant to make payments on his home in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Read more from St. Louis Public Radio

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