SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY) - On Tuesday, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell finally held his meeting with Defense Secretary Robert Gates concerning the Pentagon's desire to close Hampton Roads-based Joint Forces Command (JFCOM).
Thousands of local jobs, estimated Tuesday as 3900, are at stake.
WAVY News 10 spent Wednesday talking with people close to the situation who say that deals are being worked on behind the scenes, and that Virginia lawmakers could step in to save the day.
"Virginia's got a seat at the table," said Gov. McDonnell on Tuesday following his highly-sought, but long delayed meeting with Sec. Gates.
But much of what was discussed at the table, and the direction of future discussions between the Pentagon and Virginia lawmakers, are still uncertain.
The Pentagon wants and needs to save money, but since the August 9th announcement of JFCOM's closure, the Department of Defense has failed to give any details on how much money would be saved if the command is shut down.
"We have been given no analysis at all to buttress this decision, still at this late date," Rep. Randy Forbes said following the meeting.
10 On Your Side was in Arlington Tuesday when Sen. Mark Warner pointed to the investment the Department of Defense has made into the JFCOM facility in Suffolk as an indication that closing the command could end up costing the government more money than it would save.
"The American taxpayer has invested more than 270 million dollars in buildings and communication capabilities in Suffolk," said Warner. "If we were to walk away from that right now we would be looking at a 61 million dollar bill, in terms of breaking leases."
WAVY News 10 looked into who holds those JFCOM leases. The facility in Suffolk is essentially broken into three parcels. The JFCOM J7 building is leased by a company out of New York called Urban America. The other two parcels are leased by Inland America out of Illinois and Lake View Development Group of Suffolk.
The cost of these lease agreements could figure prominently into Virginia lawmaker's efforts to save JFCOM.
Insiders tell WAVY News 10 that there have been some discussions about Virginia purchasing the property in Suffolk and leasing it to the Department of Defense at a very low rate in order to help save jobs at JFCOM.
However, representatives from the offices of Rep. Forbes and Gov. McDonnell told WAVY News 10 on Wednesday that option was never discussed in Tuesday's meeting with Sec. Gates, and that such talk is nothing more than a rumor.
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