Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The Bessemer Curb Market Saga Continues

It began with Yvonne Johnson promising City funding she knew she couldn't deliver to Ronda and Harold, the owners of Bessemer Curb Market. Many thought it ended with the closing of Bessemer Curb Market a few weeks ago.

But something in my head told me to dig a little deeper and find out what Ronda and Harold couldn't know was going on downtown so I reached out to the City of Greensboro asking for all the e-mails concerning Bessemer Curb Market and 932 East Bessemer Avenue from January 1, 2014 until August 13, 2015 be provided to me as part of a public information request. I included the City's response in Friday's post  A Strange Answer To A Public Information Request.

What I learned was that while 246 e-mails were deliberately withheld there were still so many e-mails about Bessemer Curb Market they wouldn't fit on a single disc. And attempts to use the FTP servers by myself and others failed miserably.

Harold from Bessemer Curb Market called me on Friday night wanting to know what business it was of the city to be prying into his personal and business taxes? After all, his city and county property taxes are public record available to anyone who wants to access the Guilford County Real Property Search. I couldn't give Harold any reasons as to why I thought the City of Greensboro should be looking into Harold and Ronda's personal or business taxes.

Yeah, Harold and Ronda owe a little bit in property taxes but no more than Mayor Vaughan and as far as we know Mayor Vaughan and Donald are in sound financial shape. Donald and Nancy are in sound financial shape, right? Harold and Ronda aren't so far behind that they can't pay it off a little at a time or pay it when they sell the property.

So this morning I replied to the reply to my PIRT request with the following:

I spent 6 hours attempting to download this file Friday evening. Others attempted as well. None I know of were successful. Suggestions?
Also, I'm puzzled as to why e-mails concerning Bessemer Curb Market would be protected by § 160A-168.  Privacy of employee personnel records.and § 160A-208.1.  Disclosureof certain information prohibited. when it appears I can easily get that same said information at the following website as I have done so many times in the past should I so desire: http://taxweb.co.guilford.nc.us/publicwebaccess/?ParcelNum=0033727 Seriously? It's public freaking record, Mayor and Donald Vaughan owe more in taxes than Harold and Ronda owe. It's hardly unusual for a business that is going out of business to owe a bit of back taxes. Harold and Ronda closed Bessemer Curb Market a few weeks ago but the response I'm getting from the City of Greensboro makes it appear as if the vultures have been circling for a very long time before its death.
Isn't that what it looks like to you, Marikay?

I've spoken with Harold and Ronda, owners of Bessemer Curb Market and they are rather confused as well. As a matter of fact Harold called me after reading the following post: http://greensboroperformingarts.blogspot.com/2015/12/a-strange-answer-to-public-information.html
He just couldn't understand and frankly I had no real answers for him but I know what I think it looks like.
Perhaps you could ask your bosses to explain. Are city resources being used to aid private developers in land grabs? Is this the job of the city? What is being hidden from us? And why?

Thanks -Billy Jones"

I think Harold and Ronda deserve to know. I'm not arguing there was any kind of conspiracy to put them out of business but there sure is a lot of communications surrounding just one Greensboro business that seems to me to be very much out of the ordinary. Think about it, 246 e-mails were left out and there's still too much to fit on a disc?

Can you imagine if the City communicated that much about every business in Greensboro?