SUMMARY: Aerospace Coatings International has six employees stationed in Mexicali, Mexico, but that’s because Marsh’s business has expanded over the past four years, not because it relocated.
ANALYSIS: This is the second time the shadowy “Committee to Protect Alabama Jobs” has tried to connect Marsh with Mexico through digitally altered direct mail advertisements.
While Marsh agreed that, yes, Aerospace Coatings International does have six employees stationed in Mexicali, Mexico, the company has not -– as the most recent ad alleges -– moved out of the country, nor has it relocated any U.S. jobs to Mexico.
“We have never, ever shipped a job out of Oxford in our existence,” Marsh said. “In fact, having an international presence has enhanced our local business from 10 employees in 1991 to 140, all employed here in Oxford.”
In addition to having a Mexican facility, Aerospace Coatings International -– which creates parts needed for aircraft repairs and then makes the repairs at the company headquarters in Oxford –- also employs engineers in Hamburg, Germany, and in Malaysia. Marsh said all three international locations are used only to help facilitate the transportation of aerospace parts to Calhoun County or to provide quick fixes for those parts in transit.
Aerospace Coatings International didn’t become an international company until 1995, Marsh said, when increased work overseas required him to create a small European company base in Hamburg.
The Mexico facility was established four years ago and the Malaysian base even more recently, as the company continued to grow, Marsh said. But 95 percent of all the company's work is still done in Oxford, according to Marsh.
And far from moving jobs out of the country, the overseas bases in Germany, Mexico and Malaysia have helped to increase business, which, in turn, has increased the Oxford workforce by 10 percent over the past two years, Marsh said.
“So here’s the thing that really bothers me: I have 140 happy employees in Oxford and they see a piece like this, and it’s not really fair,” he said. “My employees don’t need to be concerned with something so ridiculous.”
Marsh said he’s also frustrated by the anonymity of the two direct mail ads that have tried to tie him to Mexican outsourcing and illegal immigrants.
Bama Fact Check tried Thursday to contact the ads’ listed sponsor, “The Committee to Protect Alabama Jobs,” just as we did last week when reporting on the first ad.
That mailer pictured a digitally altered Marsh as the ringleader of a mariachi band and falsely alleged that he “wants to invite illegal immigrants to burst through the border and come to Alabama.”
Repeated attempts to find out more about “The Committee to Protect Alabama Jobs” and its only listed chairman, one Richard Williams, have proved unsuccessful.
The company that registered the prepaid, presorted mailing permit with the U.S. Postal Service in Montgomery is a commercial mailing house known as Walker360.
Walker360 representatives would not release information Thursday about who contracted their company to print, sort and prepare the advertisement for mass mailing.
And last week, Bama Fact Check discovered that no PAC called “The Committee to Protect Alabama Jobs” is listed in the Alabama Secretary of State’s database. The mailer’s return address lists it as coming from a post office box in Birmingham. But the Secretary of State’s office has no record of a PAC created or chaired by a Richard Williams. And the Jefferson County Probate Office has no record of any sort of nonprofit called “Committee to Protect Alabama Jobs” being created in Jefferson County.
Wallace Wyatt, Marsh’s Democratic challenger, said he didn’t pay for the ad, nor does he know who did.
“I have not paid for anything to be mailed out about Del Marsh,” Wyatt said. “I’m running against Del Marsh, but I have nothing personal against him and he is a nice gentleman.”
Regardless of who’s paying for the ads, Marsh said both are completely untrue –- from their political claims to their digitally altered pictures.
“The voters deserve better,” he said. “I don’t own a sombrero; I don’t own a guitar either.”
(Editor’s note: A few months after this story ran, Bama Fact Check discovered that the Committee to Protect Alabama Jobs had indeed attempted to register as a PAC with the Alabama Secretary of State’s Office before running the “mariachi” ad. The group’s paperwork was misplaced by election officials, and was not found until Bama Fact Check began inquiring about the group again after the election. You can read about the follow-up investigation here: http://bit.ly/hSGTn8.)