MOUNT PLEASANT, Wisconsin — When Foxconn — the Taiwanese tech giant best known for manufacturing iPhone components — struck a high-profile deal to open its first U.S. factory, the village of Mount Pleasant, Wisconsin, needed to make room. Local leaders rushed to convince 78 residents to sell their homes.
Everyone gave in, except Kim Mahoney. She was at work when she learned that the dream home she and her husband built was in the middle of what would become a factory for LCD screens.
“They literally want to take our property and give it to Foxconn,” Mahoney said. “And under the U.S. Constitution and under Wisconsin constitution and Wisconsin statutes, they have no authority to take our property and give it to Foxconn — no matter how much they offer to pay me.”
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed the contract with Foxconn in Sept. 2017. Mount Pleasant, and the whole state of Wisconsin, had been desperate to bring back manufacturing jobs.
Even President Donald Trump got behind the initiative. In a June 2018 press conference, Trump promised that the project would “provide jobs for much more than 13,000 Wisconsin workers” and dubbed it “the eighth wonder of the world.”
But so far, there’s almost nothing to show. There’s no factory, and Foxconn has only spent 1% of the $10 billion it promised. Trump’s also no longer using the deal as a talking point; he didn’t even mention Foxconn at his last Wisconsin rally in April of 2019.
“We didn't really know anything about Foxconn at the time, although you start doing research and they didn't have a very good history of actually following through with the projects,” Mahoney said. “We still won't know what's actually going to be built here, if anything.”
This segment originally aired May 9, 2019, on VICE News Tonight on HBO.