ASPI Clarifies Washington Tire Land Deal - Tire Review Magazine

ASPI Clarifies Washington Tire Land Deal

Officials of ASPI Group, the company that sued to halt Washington Tire Corp.’s misrepresentation as a federally approved EB-5 Regional Center, has offered a clarification on its previous ownership of land now owned by WTC.

In response to parts of Tire Review’s recent stories on the lawsuit and subsequent injunction and the land deal, ASPI corporate counsel Kim Foster provided this statement to Tire Review:

“I have read with interest the series of articles you have posted on Washington Tire Corp. and Mr. Zhang. Recently, you included two references to ASPI Group in your articles. There were two clarifications/corrections that should be pointed out.

“In the article dated Sept. 2, you indicated that ASPI was the only approved USCIS Regional Center Immigrant Investor Program operating in the State of Washington. Actually, there are about seven federally approved Regional Centers in Washington State (out of about 100 nationwide). ASPI is the only approved Regional Center in Grant County, Washington, where the proposed tire factory is alleged to be built in the City of Ephrata. Our Immigrant Investor program is specifically limited to Grant County. ASPI brought the subject legal action against Zhang/Hengyucius because he was falsely claiming to be a USCIS Regional Center in Grant County, Washington, when, in fact, ASPI is the only one.

“In the article dated Sept. 8, you outlined the 2008 purchase of a large tract of property by Washington Tire Corp. in unincorporated rural Grant County. You stated that the seller in that transaction was TD Investments, an ASPI affiliated company. As a clarification, ASPI (and its affiliate companies) is a large landowner in Grant County with thousands of acres and hundreds of parcels. ASPI buys, develops, and sells properties as part of our business on a regular and ongoing basis. It is not at all unusual that ASPI or an affiliate entity would appear in the chain of title on properties in Grant County, Washington. ASPI’s TD Investments did, in fact, own the subject rural site but sold it to an unrelated third party(ies) in 1997. That third party then sold the property to Washington Tire Corp. in 2008. ASPI’s TD Investments was not involved in that transaction. Attached is a copy of the Grant County Assessor’s confirmation on title transaction regarding the same.”

Foster provided Tire Review with a copy of the county assessor’s history of ownership of the 171.4-acre undeveloped parcel, which differed from the ownership history Tire Review had previously received.

The third party TD Investments, which is part of ASPI Group, sold the parcel to, according to Foster, is not related to ASPI or WTC. The parcel, located a few miles southwest of the Port of Ephrata, where WTC proposes to build a $1 billion tire plant, is zoned for rural use and has no direct access to public utilities.

Foster did tell Tire Review that TD Investments owns 320 acres of land near the Port of Ephrata.

According to its court testimony in its lawsuit, ASPI said that WTC and its president Abraham Hengyucius had approached ASPI on at least three occasions seeking to buy property ASPI owned in Grant County and “specifically asking whether ASPI would be interested in including within its regional center an immigrant investor program that he proposed for Ephrata in Grant County called ‘American Tire.’”

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