Ducey denies he ordered Nike incentives withdrawn

Exposition of Nike sport shoes in Italy. Nike is one of the world’s largest suppliers of athletic shoes and apparel. The company was founded on January 25, 1964.

By Howard Fischer | Capitol Media Services via Arizona Capitol Times

Gov. Doug Ducey denied Tuesday that he unilaterally ordered the Commerce Authority to rescind a $1 million incentive that had been offered to Nike to locate a manufacturing plant in Goodyear.

The cash offer disappeared after a series of early-morning Twitter posts by Ducey on July 2 who said he was upset about the decision by the company to cancel rollout of a new sneaker that featured the “Betsy Ross flag.” The move by Nike apparently followed concerns that the flag would remind blacks that it flew during a period when slavery was legal.

But the governor insisted he never actually ordered the state authority to withhold the cash.

“I’d direct you to re-read the tweet,” he said.

The tweet, however, does not back the governor’s contention.

“Nike has made its decision, and now we’re making ours,” he wrote at the time. “I’ve ordered the Arizona Commerce Authority to withdraw all financial incentive dollars under their discretion that the state was providing for the company to locate here.”

On Tuesday, Ducey defended the move. But the governor did not explain how he, as one member of the Commerce Authority, had the legal ability to rescind the grant, offering at time conflicting explanations.

“The Commerce Authority did not vote for the incentive,” he said.

Yet Ducey also claimed that he actually had the backing of the agency’s public-private board.

“Sometimes boards agree with me, sometimes they don’t,” he said. “In this instance, they did, they agreed with me.”


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