■A company affiliated with construction magnate Richard Spencer has donated $1.2 million to Measure E campaign.
■Chinese manufacturer has increased its stake in Kerman’s MEC Aerial Work Platforms, according to news reports.
■Spencer has been selling shares in MEC, reports state.
A Kerman lift equipment company affiliated with construction magnate Richard Spencer has made $1.2 million in donations to the newest iteration of Measure E.
Campaign finance documents show California Manufacturing & Engineering Co. made two $500,000 donations in January, following $200,000 in 2023 donations.
Those contributions make the company far and away the largest donor to the $1.4 billion Fresno County sales tax proposal to benefit Fresno State.
Reports Show Spencer Purchased MEC, Began Stepping Back After More than a Decade
Spencer and his company Equipment Parts Wholesale purchased the company otherwise known as MEC Aerial Lift Platforms in 2002, adopting the MEC name, according to industry magazine Vertikal.net
More than a decade later, Spencer began divesting from the company as Chinese manufacturer Zhejiang Dingli Machinery Co. increased its stake in the operation. In 2017, the company acquired a 25% stake.
By November 2023, multiple trade magazines reported that Dingli had increased its ownership of MEC to 49.8% with plans to take complete control of the company. Vertikal reported that its equity came directly from Spencer.
Dingli sells scissor and boom lifts much as MEC does. Dingli purchased MEC to further its market share in North America.
Multiple calls made to MEC and Spencer by GV Wire seeking comment for this story were not returned.
Open Corporates lists Spencer as a manager of the company.
If Measure E Passes, MEC Stands to Profit
The .25% Measure E sales tax would accumulate to $1.4 billion over 25 years. That money would be used for construction and maintenance projects at Fresno State so there’s the potential for MEC to profit with its lifts.
Spencer, the founder of Spencer Enterprises, funded the failed 2022 Measure E campaign nearly single-handedly. Disclosure documents show that Spencer and affiliates spent more than $1.5 million on that campaign.
The second attempt to pass Measure E has garnered more diverse financial support. Wawona Frozen Foods donated $50,000, according to campaign documents. The Northern California Carpenters Union has donated $50,000 and, in January, Panoche Creek Packing donated $100,000.
Aside from the MEC donations, Spencer and his affiliates have directly donated $12,960 to Measure E. Donations from a son, Steven Spencer, total $46,980.
Measure E will appear on the March 5 primary ballot.
Watch: Fresno State President Explains Measure E