David Levine of Shepherdstown wrote an article last week in Forbes magazine about the Rockwool facility in Jefferson County — Three Truths and a Lie About the Economic Development Game.
He wants no part of Rockwool and wants it out of his neighborhood.
As do about 11,000 others who have signed onto the Concerned Citizens Against Rockwool Facebook page.
But David Levine is also a landlord. And one of his tenants is the Berkeley County Democrats.
In a letter this week to Senator Joe Manchin, Levine says that unless Manchin comes out against the facility, he’ll kick the Democrats out of his building.
“On September 27th you will be headlining the Rally in the Panhandle,” Levine wrote to Manchin. “I would like to introduce you. I will do everything I can to get everyone I can to that event. At the end of the event, I will ask my friends and neighbors on social media if they believe you are doing everything in your power to prevent Rockwool from locating in Jefferson County.”
“If we believe you are, we will work as hard as we can to get you elected. If not, I will be evicting the Berkeley County Democratic Party from their headquarters at 224 W. King Street in Martinsburg, a building I own. The Party does not have a lease, as I have donated the space.”
“You are at the top of the ticket. You have a lot of power. I have no power beyond my personal property, and I am willing to use it if I have to.”
After sending out the letter and posting it to Facebook, Levine said that he had a conversation with Keith McIntosh, state projects coordinator for Senator Manchin.
Levine has arranged for a meeting later today with Manchin in Shepherdstown and then a longer meeting with Manchin’s staff tomorrow in Washington, D.C.
“Keith has a farm in Kearneysville,” Levine wrote on Facebook. “He said to me — Ranson Renewed is what what we were all expecting. So much went into the planning.”
“Manchin has read my articles and the letter and understands the urgency,” Levine wrote. “He knows he can be a hero.”
“[McIntosh] also told me some of the people who are quietly against Rockwool, and you would be surprised at some of the names. But there is serious pressure on him now.”
“I’ll visit with Manchin briefly today, but more importantly, his legislative director will set up a full meeting at his office in DC with all the staff. They will mobilize and act. And they understand the optics of the Democratic Party getting kicked out of their Berkeley County headquarters would not be good.”
Manchin favored the Rockwool facility in Jefferson County and was at the June 2018 groundbreaking ceremony.
“I’m excited to see this investment in West Virginia,” Manchin wrote on his Facebook page at the time.
“But a lot of people who were at the groundbreaking have changed — they now are quietly against it,” Levine said. “This is going to be a single issue election in Jefferson County.”
What does Manchin have to say on September 27 for Levine not to kick the Democrats out from his building?
“He has to say that Rockwool is not right for Jefferson County, that he is going to do everything he can to stop the process. He needs to call for a full investigation and find out if there were improprieties that led to the siting of the project and if there were, we cannot site the project there. Our main goal is to stop it. Stop spending money until we figure out everything that went wrong, why it went wrong and who is responsible.”
“If he doesn’t, there will be a moving van in front of my building on September 28,” Levine said.
“The people here have had the Rockwool pulled over their eyes,” Levine said.