North Carolina's third largest newspaper has waged of campaign to discredit a civil rights museum commemorating the 1960 sit-ins at a F.W. Woolworth store in downtown, Greensboro, the institution claims in court.
...In a complaint filed in North Carolina's Guilford County Superior Court on Nov. 23, ...they ...were able to raise millions of dollars through donations and by qualifying for federal tax credits under the Historical Tax Credit program and the disadvantaged neighborhood tax program to being their vision to fruition.
...the plaintiffs claim the Greensboro News and Record newspaper has consistently sought to undermine the museum and its board.
...the lawsuit claims, "On Nov. 20, 2014, the Newspaper ran a front-page, top of the fold headline, in bold print, stating 'Museum's debt close to $26M.'
This statement was completely false.
The same false statement was repeated on Nov. 23, 2014, on the Sunday editorial page, this time by Allen Johnson himself in which it was stated 'the Museum owed debtors $25.9 million.' It was accompanied by a cartoon depicting Earl Jones in a sinking boat. This, too, was entirely false."
Co-defendant Allen Johnson is the editorial page editor of the Greensboro News & Record.
"A week later on Nov. 30, 2014, a respected North Caroline A&T University professor, Michael Roberto who was an obvious of the Museum was duped by the News & Record's false representation and wrote in an article published by the News & Record, 'We can't keep throwing money at an enterprise whose 2013 audit reveals a $29.9 million debt and ticket sales of less than $400,000.00,'" the complaint says.
"The above statements were not only false, but known by the Newspaper and known by Allen Johnson personally to be false," the plaintiffs say.
They claim that John Swaine, the museum's chief operating and finance officer, sat for a "tape-recorded interview" with the newspaper and explained that it was way off on its analysis of the institution's debt because of its inclusion of the tax credits as debt.
...The plaintiffs say, "the paper ... knew full well that the average reader would believe that the Museum was hopelessly mired in debt and could never climb out. They further believed that the Board of Directors and the leadership of the Museum were hopelessly inept and had cast the Museum into an impossible hole when in fact the true story reflected extremely well on the Board of Directors and the leadership."
...It is represented by Douglas Harris of Greensboro, N.C. Representatives of the Greensboro News & Record did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment from Courthouse News.
Looks like Skip Alston has a case against the News and Record; "Sit-In Museum Says Paper Seeks to Discredit It"
"...Approximately $620,000 of the $1,500,000 of the funding from the City of Greensboro is reserved to satisfy the financial obligation of the New Market Tax Credits between fiscal years 2013 and 2016."
"The 42-page audit states the ICRCM owe $25,869,658 to creditors. However, Greensboro City Mayor Nancy Vaughan said the museum only needs to meet two requirements to burn off $23 Million in tax credits.
"$23 Million of the $26 Million is new market tax credits," said Mayor Vaughan. "There are two conditions that the needs to be met. And one is that there is a quarterly payment step-up and being made. And those have been set aside because of the loan the city gave," said Vaughan.
Vaughan also said the museum must stay open for another 26-months.
"I think it is important that we address that $23 million separately," said Vaughan."