Despite pouring money into the coffers of candidate John Winchester, Bill Assenmacher and other power brokers failed to defeat Pima County Supervisor Ally Miller in the Republican Primary. But Assenmacher’s company is set to win big today when the Pima County Board of Supervisors approve County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry’s recommendation to enter into negotiations for “a 15- to 25-year lease with either Vector Space Systems, Inc. or a developer who will construct and lease the facility to Vector.”
On Monday, Vector announced in a press release that it had “finalized an agreement with York Space Systems, an aerospace company specializing in small and medium class spacecraft, to conduct six satellite launches from 2019 through 2022 with the option for 14 additional launches.” In July 2015, York Space Systems announced that it had entered into a teaming agreement with CAID Automation. CAID is a closely held corporation, owned and operated by Assenmacher.
The Pima County PR department has been hard at work filtering glowing reports out about the project. On Monday, the Tucson Sentinel reported that “Vector forecasts a $290 million economic impact over five years as they build its 40-foot-tall rockets, and estimates about 90 indirect jobs will be created as a result of the expansion.” The glowing article made brief mention of the fact that the “county is still negotiating the terms of the lease, and specific details about the transaction weren’t yet available….”
And much information was not available. In fact, other than a glowing memorandum filled with vague references to a plan, supervisors were provided with virtually no details upon which to make an informed decision. Fortunately, the supervisors are only being asked to approve entering into negotiations.
In April 2016, in Tim Steller’s Political Notebook: County choices trouble titans of Tucson industry, Assenmacher was reported to be upset with the Goldwater Institute’s lawsuit against the County for the crony World View deal. Steller wrote, “the lawsuit against the county’s business-incentive deal with World View Enterprises does not sit well with many of these same leaders…. “ Assenmacher went so far as to tell Steller, “I suggested to my wife that she stop mailing checks to the Goldwater Institute, which she does every month.”
Caid Industries CEO Bill Assenmacher “plans to work to get “business-friendly” candidates elected to the supervisors,” according to Steller. Later, Assenmacher contributed heavily to Winchester and held one well-publicized fundraiser for him.
Winchester lost to Miller by double digits.
Prior to Winchester’s entering the race, Assenmacher advised Miller that he had a contract with World View. Steller made no mention of Assenmacher’s business connection to World View.