Trevor Milton, Nikola

Trevor Milton, executive chairman and founder of Nikola Corp., speaks in July during the groundbreaking for Nikola’s manufacturing plant in Coolidge.

COOLIDGE — A major shift in Nikola Motor Company’s leadership will not affect plans for the manufacturing facility it plans to build in Coolidge, officials say.

The company confirmed Monday that the decision made by founder Trevor Milton to step down as executive chairman will not impact plans for the Coolidge facility. In an email, Nicole Rose, director of public relations and corporate communications, said the “Coolidge facility remains unchanged and on schedule.”

Milton’s decision to resign from the board comes on the heels of fraud allegations made by short seller Hindenburg Research, sparking investigations from U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and, according to the Financial Times, the U.S. Department of Justice.

Coolidge City Manager Rick Miller said he is hopeful the project will continue moving forward.

“Obviously this is a very important project to Coolidge, to the region and to Arizona, and we’re hopeful that it will continue,” he said. “Trevor (Milton) had the vision and passion about the truck, he elected to step aside, and he has a lot of confidence in his team to move this project forward.”

Miller noted that Nikola has already begun obtaining a number of permits to start the construction processes at the Coolidge site, located on Houser Road. To date they include Pinal County dust control permits, preliminary grading and drainage, and permits for the installation of a construction “village" on the site.

“The next step is for them to bring in plans, and we’re hopeful that they will continue to move forward with those,” he said.

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