Monday, November 17, 2014

Civil Rights Museum Property is Owned by Skip Alston and Earl Jones etc..., Who Stand to Profit from the City Bailout

Hello Mr. Hartzman: Below are some of the answers to the questions you have regarding the Civil Rights Museum;

...Does the Museum’s Landlord stand to earn income from the property under any scenario?

"Possibly, if their museum tour/ticket sales increase."...

Thank you,

Public Information Desk
City of Greensboro
300 W. Washington Street
Greensboro, NC 27401
"The museum is currently owned by Museum Landlord LLC – a for-profit company – not the non-profit corporation Sit-In Movement Inc., which holds the annual banquet and has been working on getting the museum open since 1993.

Museum Landlord LLC owns the building and land, and is itself owned by ICRMC LLC, a for-profit company. Alston is the only member of ICRCM LLC listed, but he said Jones is also a member of the LLC. 

Alston said the other members of the LLC, who actually own the museum, are Greensboro attorney Doug Harris, retired vice president of community relations for WFMY-TV Shirley Frye, Smith Moore Leatherwood attorney Carol Bruce and President of the Weaver Foundation Skip Moore."

John Hammer
"...City staff and council were informed before the vote that some money the museum was to receive did not look like it was merely meant to pay off loans tied to saving the facility, but connected to Skip Alston and Earl Jones maintaining control and being in a position to profit from the taxpayer bailout if the museum became profitable in the future...

2014 “Contributions/Membership” expectations rise to $800,000 from $112,758 in 2013. “Rental Income”, $35,957 in 2013, is projected to be $442,000 in 2014. After receiving $35,130 in grants during 2013, the museum expects $700,000 in 2014. On “Special Event” revenue of $117,096 in 2013, the plan projects $370,000 for 2014, and $825,000 in 2015.

...Robbie Perkins, reported to have personally identified and advocated for Mujeeb Shah-Khan to be hired as Greensboro’s City Attorney, was an honorary Chair of the ICRCM/Simkins 2013 golf tournament. Perkins advocated for the museum bailout, employed Alston’s former campaign manager, voted for what appears to have been an unnecessary police settlement, a television show and Skip Alston’s $150,000 commission via the Bessemer Shopping Center deal.

Greensboro’s City Council was informed of Shah-Khan never having reviewed the highly detailed and complicated tax credit information in writing, but relied on telephone conversations to determine the museum’s obligations before deciding it was legally ok for City Council to vote for the bailout.

Public monies were distributed in a rush just before a city election and without a signed contract.

Only the obligations necessary to saving the museum should be paid for with tax dollars. The city could purchase the property and its contents for $1 if necessary, leaving the loans not tied to saving the facility or its contents in default.
If the Carolina Bank loan is guaranteed by the Sit in Movement, which doesn't own the property, why are taxpayers being asked to provide a bailout to "assist with repayment of a loan with Carolina Bank"?

Who received the $4,500,000 developer fee and what happened to the money?
News and Record City Council Candidate Question; Civil Rights Center;

Should the city provide long-term or continuing financial support for the International Civil Rights Center and Museum?

"Simpkins' PAC members should be eliminated from fiduciary control.

If some loans are unsecured by the property, it should not be Greensboro taxpayer's role to bail out non real estate related debt.

The investors and financial institutions who invested in this unsustainable project should take sever haircuts on their positions."

George Hartzman

The ICRCM was deemed “High Risk” 
by the City of Greensboro’s Internal Audit Division 
Civil Rights Museum Financial Review
as of April 30, 2013.

George Hartzman, Yes Weekly
Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A Comparison of Hartzman's Yes Weekly Column on the Civil Rights Museum and the News and Record's
News and Record Editorial Board misleads readers on Greensboro's Civil Rights Museum questions and answers