There is an old adage in sports that goes, “Lose the loss, but don’t lose the lesson.”
On Wednesday, Golden Triangle Development Link CEO Joe Max Higgins confirmed what had been obvious since the start of the week: The grand, $600 million, 971-job Silicor project will not be coming to Lowndes County.
If there is a lesson to be learned from this two-year odyssey, it can be borrowed from a movie: Show me the money.
As far as we know (Silicor officials remain consistently mute on their version of events), Silicor never did have the financing needed to get the project off the ground. Higgins said Wednesday, the company hadn’t even made a loan application, let alone secured a loan.
On Wednesday, Higgins was not prepared to take the hit on not verifying Silicor’s financial viability. That task, he said, should be the responsibility of the Mississippi Development Authority, which offered $75 million in incentives to lure Silicor to the Lowndes County site.
Instead, the MDA, the Link and the Lowndes County Board of Supervisors relied on the good reputation of the man out in front of the Silicor project, John Correnti.
It’s understandable to a point. Correnti’s credibility was firmly established through his success in bringing Severstal to the county.
But reputation carries you only so far and it is very likely that Higgins will not make that mistake again. Otherwise, it will be Higgins’ credibility that suffers.
Higgins, ever the optimist, said his attention will turn immediately to finding new occupants for the site. Talks with several possible companies — some with big projects, some with smaller ones — have already started.
But he does admit that tying up the property for almost two years meant that other viable projects came and went.
Fortunately, the county and state are not out much money as a result of the collapse of the Silicor project. The real cost is what might have been.
Of course, there’s little value in fixating on that.
You lose the loss.
Hopefully, they will not have lost the lesson.
The Dispatch Editorial Board is made up of publisher Peter Imes, columnist Slim Smith, managing editor Zack Plair and senior newsroom staff.