John Hammer: "The Greensboro City Council uses the Greensboro Partnership to launder money"
...The Greensboro City Council uses the Greensboro Partnership to launder money, according to what the council was told at its work session on Tuesday, Feb. 22.
The council allocates $200,000 to the Partnership to be used by the Greensboro Economic Development Alliance (GEDA), but of that money $25,000 goes to Downtown Greensboro Inc. (DGI) and $30,000 goes to the Piedmont Triad Film Commission.
Dan Lynch, president of the GEDA, told the council Tuesday that the money was simply a pass-through. He said they were told to write a check for $25,000 to DGI and $30,000 to the film commission and he did, but he did not know why.
Councilmember Robbie Perkins said he knew. Perkins said, "The City Council under Keith Holliday wanted to support the film commission and at that time the chamber got $125,000. We said you have to give the film commission $30,000 and DGI $25,000."
...The council has been told repeatedly that DGI gets the downtown Business Improvement District (BID) money, which is revenue from an additional 9 cent property tax paid by downtown property owners, and that it also receives two allocations – one of $90,000 and the other for $155,000 – directly from the city. What the council had not been told until Tuesday was that DGI also receives a pass-through of $25,000 from the Partnership.
...According to the city budget, that $55,000 went to the GEDA for economic development, but the Partnership was directed to give the money to the film commission and DGI.
...The reason for the pass-through is that when the City Council is cutting budgets of city departments and telling employees there is no money for raises, it is not politically expedient to hand out money to the film commission or to give even more money to DGI, which has a large fund balance of its own.
...President of the Partnership Pat Danahy was attempting to explain how the different small business and entrepreneurship development divisions of the organization fit together, and said, "So that is really confusing."
He could have said that for the entire structure of the organization, which is led by a board of 60.
What board of 60 could possibly be effective at running an organization?
The Partnership is confusing and it cannot be helpful in recruiting industry to this area to have an economic development organization that even the president of the organization finds confusing.
...One of the more interesting statistics listed was that GEDA had recruited and retained 1,555 jobs in the past year. Unfortunately that does not include the 1,500 jobs that were lost when American Express decided to close its call center."