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To the editor: Follow the money

To the editor: Follow the money

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I recently took a look at the 2018 tax return for Friends of Live Music in Rocky Mount. Friends was set up as a non-profit to help ensure the Harvester’s sustainability. Sadly, losing $3 million in 7 years is an accomplishment for 345 Donald Ave. Accomplishment you ask? Yes, be grateful they didn’t lose $4 million.

In 2018, the non-profit received a total of $102,500. It had 16 officers listed, with each contributing 39 service hours/year.

There were very few financial details listed in the return, but three caught my eye. There was an anonymous donation of $100,000, a $5,000 commission paid, and $73,459 for "Underwriting of Loan to the Harvester Performance Center."

The $100,000 was very generous and we hope fiduciary responsibility is observed.

But, why would the Harvester need a loan in the first place? According to their financials, in 2018 the Town of Rocky Mount contributed $446,385.85, which was more than budgeted. But, who’s keeping count?

What were the terms of the loan(s)? What's the payback schedule? What is the collateral? More importantly, why don't we see this large amount of money on the 2018 financials that was released to the public?

We’re talking a lot of money and several questions need to be asked and answered: Is there a real paper trail to account for all that money? What’s the current balance? Is the anonymous donor aware of the commission paid? Was the money properly accounted for? Was there a second previously unknown bank account for the non-profit? What are the tax consequences for the money loaned to the Harvester by the non-profit?

Stay tuned as I believe I have a lot to disclose about the financial mismanagement of the Harvester. In the future, we’re going to begin to detail the Tax Credits meant to offset the construction of the Harvester.

Believe me, it's complicated; intentionally so. But with Town Council elections not until November 2022 it's going to be drip, drip, drip.

Bryan Hochstein

Rocky Mount Burger Co.

Rocky Mount

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