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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 26, 2004

Schumer Meets With Ivory Coast Officials To Get Their Support Of "New York Chocolate" Venture In Fulton

Schumer, architect of the initial deal to get property donated, says that getting Ivory Coast officials behind the plant lends further credibility to the project and could encourage chocolate coop to expand its activities at Fulton

Schumer: Ivory Coast Minister of Economy & Finance and Ambassador to the US couldn't be more excited about chocolate production at the old Nestle plant in Fu

US Senator Charles E. Schumer met with top Ivory Coast officials Wednesday evening to get their support behind the chocolate production being done in Fulton, New York. Schumer said that now that prominent representatives from the Ivory Coast endorse the project, it has further credibility and could encourage the consortium to get even more active at Fulton.

"The Ivory Coast officials were excited about this project because they know this will be one of their nation's top economic enterprises for its cocoa producers," Schumer said. "Their support will give the project further credibility and could help us encourage even more activity and expansion at Fulton. That's good news for the Ivory Coast and it's also good for the local economy of Central New York."

In 2002, the government of Ivory Coast set up a new cocoa and coffee marketing cooperative, the Fonds de Regulation et de Controle (FRC). The FRC is owned by the growers, banks, insurance companies and the government (15 percent) and is an investor in the New York Chocolate company. Schumer said that because the FRC is partially government-owned, the enthusiastic support of the Ivory Coast government of the Fulton project could encourage the consortium to take on more business endeavors in Fulton, lending needed support to future expansion projects.

Schumer met Wednesday night with Antoine Bouabre Bohoun, Ivory Coast Minister of Economy and Finance, and Pascal Kokora, Ivory Coast Ambassador to the US. The officials told Schumer that they are behind the project and excited for the plant to open. In September, Schumer helped broker the deal that enabled Island Capital Ventures to purchase equipment used by the former Nestle plant to produce low-carb candy bars, a move that could save many local jobs.

A month later, Schumer convened the first ever face-to-face meeting between Duffy and the other investor in chocolate production at the site, Lion Capital Investment Group, which represented the Ivory Coast FRC. The meeting enabled the two investors to figure out ways to work together cooperatively at the site. Schumer's meeting provided the first opportunity for the principals from each group to let the other know of their general vision regarding the future of the site, and to explore ways in which to work together.

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