One who intends to leave others better off for his having existed.


On the March 6, 2014 News and Record Civil Rights Museum article

“...I think people are suspicious of how long it took for the museum to come online and how much money it took to build the museum,” said Mayor Nancy Vaughan, who holds a seat on the museum’s board because of her position.

Some perceptions involving the museum are real (millions were raised and spent before construction began)...

Alston, for one, isn’t worried about what he calls the “few squeaky wheels” who are always accusing him of using the museum as a piggy bank.

By retaining fiduciary control, 
the City of Greensboro determined that Skip and Earl
could profit from the facility in the future via a taxpayer funded bailout. 

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.

Richard “Skip” Moore, the retiring executive director of the Weaver Foundation, was among the business leaders whose foundations and companies donated $4 million when the Sit-In Movement, the nonprofit group created to form the museum, estimated that that amount would be sufficient to finish what its leaders then envisioned as an $8 million project.

$8 million turned into $24 million.

Some of those who were involved in the museum very early on either did not return phone calls or did not want to be part of this article.

In those early days, millions of dollars had been raised and spent, with the idea of a civil rights museum seemingly stuck in neutral.

Costs and shifting opening dates renewed criticism over the project.

People wondered what happened to the money that had been raised.

So what did happen to the money?

Museum officials blamed the aging building for unforeseen costs. Millions were spent in structural reinforcement.

The original budget for climate-control and waterproofing issues, for example, was $600,000. But it would cost more than $3 million.

$24 million - $3 million = $21 million - $8 million = $13 million

What happened to the $13 million?

...a September 2006 report from the N.C. Auditor’s Office ... questioned some of its money-handling practices and the care with which the project had been planned.

...Former City Councilman Tom Phillips said... “I don’t think anybody pocketed that money — maybe they didn’t spend it as judiciously as they could have,” he said. “I think it’s mismanagement more than anything else. I really think they didn’t know what to do.

“And, no matter who you put on the board, with Skip and Earl behind the scenes, then nothing really changes.”

“You can’t be incompetent and competent at the same time,” said [Doug] Harris the attorney, who remains on the board. “If you are competent enough to navigate the IRS … and get $24 million into town, you can’t be so incompetent at the same time that you don’t know what you are doing,”

$8 million turned into $24 million.

Observers say the city taking over the museum or even a fresh board could draw more support, but some observers don’t see that happening.

“The truth of the matter is that it’s part of their legacy,” said Bob Davis, an N.C. A&T sociology professor who has kept tabs on the project. “And then you are asking (Alston and Jones) to walk away from it. I don’t know how realistic that is.”

Alston said he doesn’t have any plans to leave the museum’s board of directors, even though he stepped down as its chairman last year.

Davis acknowledged that as long as Alston and Jones are involved, some people will continue to hold it against the museum.

Skip Alston and Earl Jones among others 
need to legally step away from any interest in the museum, 
and a non-connected chairperson installed.

As the Greensboro Four were college students, 
NC A&T University student government association members 
should be provided with permanent representation on the board.

“We have to have a couple of more funerals, and then it won’t be an issue,” Davis said.

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

Zack Matheny was reported to describe the events 
as an “absolute voter manipulation to try and get some people elected.”

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

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