• Osceola County commissioners vote to pay state to end Colt lease


    OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. - Osceola County commissioners voted to pay thousands in order to end a deal with a gun manufacturing company that never fulfilled its promises.

    Gun maker Colt promised to turn an Osceola County warehouse into a manufacturing plant and create 60 new jobs.

    But the warehouse near Neptune Road still sits empty and no one has been hired. The company received $150,000 in grant money and put $180,000 into improvements at the location.

    Commissioners met Monday afternoon and voted to re-pay the grant money to the state. Commissioner Fred Hawkins was the only one who voted no.

    "Colt's had enough time and enough deadlines have passed that citizens should already have jobs there with the higher wages that were promised," Hawkins said.

    The county had to cover the grant money in order to end the lease with Colt. Hawkins called the move a bailout.

    "They signed on the dotted line. They failed to uphold their agreement to Osceola County and its citizens," Hawkins said.

    The county blames Colt for the failed deal. Commissioners who supported the plan said there's no guarantee Colt will ever deliver on its promises.

    "We do get an opportunity to cut our losses here, get rid of it and get this group out of our hair," Commissioner Michael Harford said.

    The county is now talking to Valencia College about potentially leasing the building.

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