Wednesday, July 21, 2010

VIP Room, Amphitheater and Hotel: Socialistic and/or Crony Capitalistic Wealth Redistribution in Greensboro and Guilford County?

D1 Councilwoman Dianne Bellamy-Small:
"You don’t actually provide beds at the coliseum, do you?"

Coliseum Director Matt Brown: "Not yet."

Jordan Green

Dear businesses looking to relocate or expand in Greensboro, NC:

Our elected leadership, of which some appear to have been “purchased” by entrenched special interests through campaign donations, and/or some government employees, some of whom control access to to our Coliseum Complex, may decide to retard your profitability in order to support “chosen” for-profit businesses who provide “grants” or campaign contributions in exchange for monopolistic government contracts and legislated benefits unavailable to the non-wheel greasing general public.

Disappointment may follow expectations of Greensboro’s paper of record defending free market capitalism and support for local for-profit businesses against socialistic government intervention, for the Editorial Board and news division editors appear to be indifferent to the entrepreneurial spirit that made America a great country.

Many may be coming to realize that an oligarchy of a majority of Greensboro’s elected leadership, news executives and top city and county employees, have set upon the course of transferring wealth out of the hands of taxpayers and businesses to a select chosen few, while the overwhelming majority of the population remains unaware.

George Hartzman
Triad Watch

A proposed downtown hotel is one step closer
to $26 million in federal recovery bond financing.
"It's a good start," said Bridget Chisholm,
whose Urban Hotel Group is one of the developers of the hotel.
Joe Killian

Council approves 2 coliseum projects

…The City Council on Tuesday night approved a new $1.2 million VIP lounge, to be funded almost entirely with grant money provided by Ovations, the coliseum’s food vendor.

Grant money, which if asked for,
could probably have been used to reduce the Coliseum’s $1.8 million
annual taxpayer subsidization?

Grant money to build a publicly owned catering venue
that will literally take business from for-profit business in Greensboro
in the same way a publicly subsidized downtown hotel
intends to extract profits from non-taxpayer supported hotels?

And while they were at it, Perkins questioned whether the city could use those same funds to help finish work on an amphitheater at the coliseum, a project the City Council had quashed earlier.

Sure enough, Brown had already reached an agreement with Ovations to release $125,000 in September to help get the amphitheater operational.

Isn’t it an amazing coincidence
that after a Sunday High Point Road/Coliseum story and Editorial
and a follow up article in the Greensboro News and Record on Monday,
Robbie Perkins, Jim Kee, Bellamy Small and Nancy
authorized Carte Blanche for the Coliseum’s Matt Brown
after being informed of possible budget manipulation
and free perquisites to the Coliseum Complex for Council Members,
possibly involving Robbie Perkins, Jim Kee, Bellamy-Small and Nancy?

…Mayor Bill Knight and Councilwomen Mary Rakestraw and Trudy Wade voted against the amphitheater and the VIP lounge contract.

“This is so wrong on so many levels. I think it’s shame on us,” Rakestraw said of the vote on the amphitheater.

Councilwoman T. Dianne Bellamy-Small said…the city should complete projects such as the amphitheater because the new aquatics center will be added to the coliseum soon…

If Bellamy-Small said she talked to a lot of the “little people”
about how happy they were to be employed at the publicly owned Coliseum
while Bellamy-Small was attending the ACC Tournament,
and if the tickets she received were complimentary, should she,
and any other Council Members who have received free Coliseum passes and perks
have disclosed said “gifts” and recused themselves from voting
for Coliseum Complex appropriations and projects?

The VIP lounge will be built almost entirely with grants provided under the coliseum’s food contract with Ovations.

Who’s going to pay to clean it?
Who’s going to pay the heating and air bills?
Who’s going to pay for to repaint it?
Who’s going to pay when something breaks?

The coliseum also will give contractor D.H. Griffin and Brady/TRANE HVAC items such as memberships to the Carlyle Club and ACC Tournament tickets in exchange for performing some work on the new lounge.

If there’s nothing wrong with contractors swapping season tickets for work,
is there something wrong with swapping advertizing,
editorial support and an overemphasis on journalistic publicity,
like what many considered to be a propaganda campaign
before Tuesday’s coordinated Perkins/Brown spectacle,
and the inevitably forthcoming positively spun rectum kiss
by the Greensboro News & Record’s editorial board
without disclosing the specifics of the tickets for advertizing agreements?

…[Trudy] Wade questioned whether the money from the food vendor contract could be used for other things at the coliseum instead of adding a new amenity. “I am just concerned about adding another project at the coliseum,” Wade said. “We don’t maintain what we have.”

Brown said the vendor money could be used only to improve food service operations such as the new VIP lounge.

Why not tell the vendor to use their kickback dollars
for whatever whoever tells them to allocate the money to,
or else tell them they are not the vendor anymore?

Regarding the amphitheater, the coliseum staff already had begun work on the project last year when the council realized it was being built. …After Perkins raised the issue Tuesday night, Councilwoman Nancy Vaughan asked the council to reconsider its earlier vote on the amphitheater. Brown said the amphitheater could be operational by March with about $221,000 of grants from Ovations and other vendors.

Could “grants” from privately held vendors to a publicly owned entertainment venue
be considered by some to be a backdoor bribe,
locking in future profit at the expense of local non-taxpayer supported businesses?

“Now, we have a private investment,” Vaughan said. “And we are going to have a return on the investment.””

Amanda Lehmert
Greensboro News and Record


A form of government in which all power is vested in a few persons
or in a dominant class or clique;

Government by the few.

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