Local Officials Doubt MetLife Over $2M Break

CHARLOTTE (AP) -- Some North Carolina officials suspect they were duped before approving about $2 million to coax MetLife Inc. to bring 2,600 jobs from the Northeast and California.

The Charlotte Observer reports Mecklenburg County commissioners think MetLife had already decided to bring 1,300 jobs to Charlotte before getting a deal letting the insurance giant pay just 10 percent of its county property taxes for eight years. The company announced plans to consolidate jobs in Charlotte and Cary three days after the county's commitment.

Democratic County Commission Chairwoman Pat Cotham and Republican Commissioner Bill James said in emails last weekend they think MetLife already made its decision before wringing local tax breaks from them.

Rules for local and state incentives require officials to agree that the jobs won't come without the incentives.


Insurance giant MetLife Inc. is moving 2,600 jobs from offices in four Northeast states and California to North Carolina, which is offering tax and other incentives that could top $94 million.

The insurer said Thursday it is shifting the jobs from Lowell and Boston, Mass.; Somerset, N.J.; Bloomfield, Conn.; Johnstown, Pa.; Warwick, R.I.; and Aliso Viejo and Irvine, Calif.

The positions will be consolidated in Charlotte and the Raleigh suburb of Cary, with each landing about 1,300 jobs. Charlotte will be the U.S. headquarters for MetLife's retail business, while Cary becomes a global technology and operations hub.

MetLife spokesman John Calagna said the company employs about 23,000 U.S. administrative staffers and the consolidation will allow teams to work together in the same location while cutting MetLife's real estate presence.