EDA chief dispels ITFederal rumors

FRONT ROYAL – The area economic development chief fielded questions about theories and rumors regarding the delayed ITFederal project.

The firm broke ground a year ago on a $40 million project to build a new facility on a 30-acre site in the former Avtex Fibers. ITFederal expects to hire about 600 people at the facility. But the project has run into delays since the groundbreaking.

The company recently prepared two different site plans for the proposed facility, Jennifer McDonald, executive director of the Front Royal Warren County Economic Development Authority, told Town Council on Monday. The EDA and ITFederal are still waiting to hear from Virginia Department of Transportation about funds requested to extend West Main Street through Avtex, McDonald said.

“What we’re waiting on is approval of the industrial access funds to see if this West Main Street is gonna get constructed any time soon,” McDonald said. If VDOT doesn’t approve the funds, ITFederal will go with the second site that uses Kendrick Lane.

Vice Mayor Hollis Tharpe asked McDonald if ITFederal would submit both site plans to the department of Planning and Zoning Director Jeremy Camp.

“Once we hear from VDOT, if we don’t hear from them in the next two weeks, you’re going to get the plan that shows them coming off Kendrick Lane,” McDonald said. “That’s their deadline. They can’t wait any longer.”

At the meeting Monday, Councilwoman Bébhinn Egger asked McDonald to clear up some rumors circulating online about ITFederal. Egger first asked McDonald to explain the type of contracts ITFederal has and their total value. ITFederal has contracts with the “nuclear defense department,” which area officials likely would never see given their content, McDonald said. The company did have a contract valued at $130 million, McDonald added.

ITFederal has received more contracts since then. The firm has been working out of a satellite office in the Front Royal area while awaiting a letter from the Environmental Protection Agency pertaining to the proposed site and word from VDOT regarding the extended West Main Street.

“So they have been working on these contracts while we’ve been waiting on that,” McDonald said.

Egger asked McDonald to explain the $10 million loan that Front Royal made to the EDA related to ITFederal.

“That was for them to start construction when we thought … we had everything we needed,” McDonald said. “They have used that for some of their engineering services but they still have the bulk of that in the account that we have access to.”

Egger asked McDonald if she had heard of Front Royal Farms LLC and its relationship to ITFederal. McDonald said the owner of ITFederal also owns Front Royal Farms and purchased the property on Happy Creek Road. The owner plans to live at Front Royal Farms, McDonald said. Egger said Front Royal Farms’ website makes it look like it’s a business but McDonald said it’s not. While the owner plans to start a business on the property, he currently intends to use the property as his residence, McDonald said.

Front Royal Farms is described on its website, frontroyalfarms.com, as a “fully integrated cattle farming company,” and lists an address of 934 Happy Creek Road.

Information on the State Corporation Commission database identifies the registered agent for Front Royal Farms LLC as VDN Systems Inc., based in Great Falls. The limited liability corporation registered with the state agency effective Feb. 15, 2016. The agency database identifies Terry L. Fox, of Burke, as the registered agent of ITFederal LLC, effective June 3, 2016, and the old registered agent as VDN Systems.

In response to a comment from Egger, McDonald said VDN Systems is a separate, limited liability corporation from ITFederal. Egger said an ITFederal website she found says the firm is a subsidiary of VDN Systems.

“Our ITFederal does not have a website,” McDonald said.

“OK, ’cause there was a website out there that says they’re a division of VDN Systems,” Egger said.

“That is correct,” McDonald said. “That website was created the day after we made the announcement. Someone bought ITFederal.com.”

ITFederal does not run ITFederal.com, McDonald said. Nor does the phone number listed on the website belong to the owner, she added.

“So that’s odd,” Egger said.

Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or abridges@nvdaily.com.