As my story in this week’s Floyd Press reports, the county Economic Development Authority gave Data Knight 365 (DK3) until Oct. 23 to put up or shut up about their announced plans to build a $67.8 million data facility on 51.5 acres of undeveloped land in the Commerce Park on Christiansburg Pike.
Few expect DK3 to meet the deadline. The company, formed in April and existing only on paper, missed the original Sept. 1 deadline for coming up with $100,000 as a deposit and closing on the $900,000 purchase of the land. Principals in the project have a history of announcing deals that never become reality
Yet Paul Allen, the English-born promoter named in a loan-kiting federal civil case in Tennessee and Bill Byler, the mysterious "Amish entrepreneur" and owner of record of DK3, continue to show up in Floyd and tell those who listen that they are working on the deal and that it will happen.
Last week, EDA officials told county administrator Dan Campbell to send letters to Byler and Dan Delfino, owner of telemarketing firm Power Direct — the company reportedly backing the project — that two deadlines must be met for the deal to proceed.,
- First, DK3 must provide county officials with documentation they originally requested six weeks ago and deliver that documentation at least five business days before the Oct. 23 closing deadline. The required documentation includes a listing of company principals, a verifiable letter of credit and a detailed explanation of what role Allen has with the company.
- Second, closing on the property sale, along with the $100,000 deposit, must be completed " no later than" Oct. 23.
Questions surrounding the controversial deal dominate discussions among county residents with some asking why the county continues to try and work a deal with DK3 after so many questions have been raised about the history of those involved with the company.
Some county officials involved in the deal tell me privately that they now regret supporting the project. EDA member Mike Maslaney says he and other authority members were assured that the principals in the proejct were "fully vetted" before the deal came before them for approval. Now he’s not so sure that happened.
"There are questions that must be answered," Maslaney said. Maslaney is running for the open Courthouse supervisor seat on the county board and some members of the board of supervisors say they have questions as well. Maslaney’s opponent, Casey Clinger, says he has concerns too.
If the deal falls through, the fallout from that failure could linger long beyond the Oct. 23 deadline.