Fayetteville (NC) Reduced to Begging For Taxpayer Dollars
Hoping to get some of over $5 million in taxpayer monies, the
Fayetteville Festival of Flight may be left up the creek. It
overestimated how many attendees would enjoy the (reportedly
fantastic) show; and some of its vendors are still looking to get
paid. The event took place last May, when this young girl got to
sit in performer Mike Goulian's ship.
According to Michael
Clinebell in the Fayetteville Observer, the nonprofit
Festival of Flight organization is perhaps a quarter-million
Four vendors, all of whom were owed less than $250, have been
paid in full. The thirty-one others have been given checks for $250
each, the extent the Festival is able to pay, through additional
donations. Still unpaid are some large bills, though: Clinebell
says that, for instance, Aviation Week, which printed
20,000 programs, has an unpaid invoice for $100,000. The publisher,
he says, agreed to take $10,000.
The paper says Freeman Companies, of Dallas (TX), which did the
work of putting up and taking down the exhibits, is owed some
$86,000. There are several other sizeable creditors.
Even so, the paper thinks Executive Committee head "Mac" Healey,
Dr. Franklin Clark, vice chairman; Stuart Walters, secretary and
treasurer; George Breece; and Loleta Wood Foster, could be
personally responsible for the bills. Healey has said he's not
contemplating ditching the responsibility through bankruptcy.
The committee's next step, the Observer reports, is,
"...to state legislators asking for state help." Foul up an event;
get taxpayers to take the burden: it's the American way. Healey,
though, said in a letter that he doesn't think it should be
that way. He thinks some of the monies already set aside for the
centennial celebration should have been available: "The North
Carolina Legislature previously approved over five million dollars
to help communities throughout the state celebrating flight.
All of the funding was appropriated to the Outer
Banks area for their celebration. Our community's Festival
of Flight received none of that funding."
We were not able to reach officials for comment, over the
weekend. The Governor may indeed be on the hook, though. [Note his
press release, issued on opening day, linked below, as well as the
Centennial's 'partners' note --ed.]