Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Breaking News

July 9, 2013

Elkhart County Commissioners invite Chinese delegation for fall trip

GOSHEN — A delegation of Chinese businessmen and government officials want to visit Elkhart County this fall, and Elkhart County’s commissioners are interested in helping to make that happen.

During a meeting of the Elkhart County Board of Commissioners Monday, the commissioners approved a request by Aaron Zou of Aaron, MacGregor & Associates, an Elkhart-based exporter of RVs to China, to have the board write a letter of invitation for the delegation. Zou hopes the letter will help expedite their entry into the country this September.

“There is a group of visitors in China, including government officials and businessmen, interested in coming to Elkhart to visit,” Zou told the board Monday. “The main reason is RV-related. RV’s are getting more and more popular in China, and they realize that Elkhart is the RV Capital of the World, so they expressed a desire to visit. It is their desire to have the County Commissioners send an invitation letter out to them so they can start the process of getting their passports and visas to enter the United States.”

According to County Commissioner Terry Rodino, such requests are fairly typical when involving business and government officials from other countries, as such letters of support can often mean the difference between a denial of entry and an approval.

“This is pretty much standard procedure to get them invited in,” Rodino said. “This just helps expedite it, coming from county officials, to help speed up their process with visas and what have you, for leaving China and coming to America.”

Zou agreed.

“The delegation from China has Chinese government officials, so the county invitation letter will be appropriate to start that process,” Zou said. “And there is a slight chance that their visas may be denied by the U.S. Consulate, so the County Commissioners invitation letter would be a stronger indorsement for their visit.”

Pending lawsuit

Monday’s meeting is reportedly not the first between Rodino and Zou.

Back in March of this year, Rodino’s former business partners, Amit Shah and Tim Dugle, filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in South Bend claiming Rodino used his position of authority to profit from a Chinese business deal. Rodino touched on the subject briefly during Monday’s meeting before introducing Zou’s request for a letter of invitation.

“Based upon some of the things that have happened over the last year or so about some comments about the Chinese,” Rodino said, “we just want to kind of make this as transparent as possible.”

According to the lawsuit, Rodino is accused of using his position as county commissioner, in partnership with Zou, to sell five RV’s to a Chinese-owned business after the two took a trip to China as part of a local delegation. The Elkhart County Convention and Visitors bureau put up $20,000 to help pay for the trip.

Rodino’s partners in Elkhart pallet company Duro Inc., Dugle and Shah, claim in the lawsuit Rodino made about $100,000 as a result of the sale, and in doing so violated the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO. The lawsuit also claims Zou, Rodino’s partner in the company that engineered the $1.63 million RV transaction, American Travel Palace, also profited from the transaction. Zou is also accused of making a $30,000 payment to Rodino for helping to facilitate the deal.

The lawsuit involving China is not the first filed against Rodino by his estranged business partners. Dugle and Shah, minority partners in the pallet firm controlled by Rodino, currently have three other lawsuits pending against Rodino in LaGrange Circuit Court. Those lawsuits accuse Rodino of mismanaging the firms and improperly diverting funds from the company. The suits seek reimbursement for those funds.

1
Text Only
Breaking News
  • Middlebury man burned in water heater blast 
 MIDDLEBURY — Authorities say a Middlebury man has been hospitalized after he was injured when a water heater exploded. Firefighters tell WSBT-TV the man in his 20s was trying to light a water heater that had run out of gas and used too much fuel. The

    July 26, 2014

  • Clinton Frame leaving IN-MI Mennonite Conference over same-sex marriage

    After nearly 100 years of being in the Indiana-Michigan Mennonite Conference, Clinton Frame Mennonite Church officials announced it will be leaving because of the controversy related to same-sex marriage.

    July 24, 2014

  • Red D Mart armed robbery New Paris Police ask for public's help in identifying would-be robber

    Elkhart County police have released still photos captured from video of the man who attempted to hold up Red D Mart gas station, 68310 Ind. 15, New Paris, on Saturday, July 19.

    July 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • Red Cross in urgent need of donors

    The American Red Cross is facing a blood shortage, leading to an urgent need for donors of all blood types to roll up a sleeve and give.

    July 23, 2014

  • Huron Street residents under boil order

    Tuesday morning, Goshen water crews shut down the water main on Huron Street to replace a broken fire hydrant.
    The Indiana Department of Environmental Management requires the Water Utility to issue a boil water order for the affected area, which is Huron Street from West Lincoln to Pike Street.

    July 23, 2014

  • GN140723 CR34-Ind. 13 Crash 1 LaGrange man airlifted from scene of crash A motorcyclist was seriously injured in a crash at Ind. 13 and C.R. 34 at 1:48 p.m. Tuesday. Terry Fry, 44, LaGrange, was airlifted by MedFlight from the scene. Elkhart County police said he was taken to South Bend Memorial Hospital with fractures to

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Suspicious blinking package with battery pack causes police to evacuate business area

    A package with a battery pack and a blinking red light found on the desk of an employee at MSC, 28551 Laura Court, Elkhart, caused police and firefighters to evacuate the area this morning.
    The package turned out to be a GPS tracking device and not a bomb.

    July 22, 2014

  • Cat beaten to death in burglary

    A house cat was found beaten to death following a burglary at a home in Howe Sunday.

    July 21, 2014

  • GN140721 Kosciusko Fatal Photo #2.jpg Fiery crash kills one, critically injures two in North Webster

    A fiery crash in North Webster left a Pennsylvania man dead and two others critically injured at 3:21 p.m. Sunday on Ind. 13, near Esterbrook Drive.

    July 21, 2014 4 Photos

  • GN140719 obit mcdaniel Jeanine M. McDaniel OSCEOLA — Jeanine M. McDaniel, 61, died Thursday afternoon at Elkhart Hospice House. She was born Feb. 16, 1953 in Noble County, to Everett and Nyra Lucille (Reynolds) McDaniel. Surviving are two sisters, Patty (William) Wray, Paducah, Ky. and Bever

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
AP Video
Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow
Poll

With military action and tensions escalating between Russia and Ukraine, as well as Israel and Palestine, are you worried that the U.S. and other nations may get drawn into these conflicts?

Yes, it is a great concern of mine
I’m a little worried, but not too much
No, I’m not worried at all
     View Results