Richmond VA Hosts Occupiers Free: Charges, Audits Richmond Tea Party

There was an outrageous story a couple of weeks ago involving the Richmond, Virginia Tea Party, Occupy Richmond and Richmond Mayor Dwight Clinton Jones. In 2009 the Tea Party paid $8000+ for the privilege of using Kanawha Plaza for a Tax Day Rally. Occupy Richmond has paid nothing, has been “occupying” the Plaza courtesy of the tax payers, and I don’t think (unconfirmed) they have received so much as token billing. So the first story was, the Richmond Tea Party sent an invoice for $8,000 to the city, asking for their investment in the city to be returned to them. The second story is, the Tea Party has received an audit letter from the City of Richmond, no check attached – just a threat.

Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones

Kanawha Plaza was evacuated by police on October 31. It took another two weeks of Occupiers warning Jones that they had been invited to take up residence next door, which they did mid-November. Richmond citizen occupiers took Ray Boone up on his invitation to occupy his backyard,  right next door to Mayor Dwight Jones. You can’t make this stuff up. There was an increased police presence at the site since the Mayor lives next door. Cha-ching, cha-ching.

Our actions apparently struck a nerve. Our invoice to the Mayor was covered by hundreds of news outlets, including the AP, Richmond Times Dispatch, Baltimore Sun, and the Washington Post. On October 31, I appeared on Fox Business, Neil Cavuto’s show and was interviewed about our actions. Reportedly, at least two Richmond City Council members agreed with our plight. “I guess we’ll be writing a check to the tea party people,” said Councilman Bruce W. Tyler. “You can’t treat one group different from the other. It’s unfair.” as quoted in the Richmond Times Dispatch. Occupy Richmond Photo·Kanawha Plaza

On November 14th representatives of our Tea Party attended the City Council meeting to speak to the Mayor and Council during the citizen forum. Mayor Jones, apparently too busy to listen to his constituents, got up and left before we spoke. He had no problem inviting members of the Occupy group to his office for a closed door meeting days later, at the same time refusing to meet with us.

His administration, however, found the time to send us an audit letter (provided in full below). No need for the city to audit the Occupiers, because, as the Mayor knows, all of their costs were provided by the taxpayers of Richmond.(Gateway Pundit)

In the audit letter signed by Cynthia Carr, Field Auditor for the City of Richmond, it states that our Tea Party is delinquent in filing of Admissions, Lodging, and Meals Taxes with the city and as such our group has been targeted for a comprehensive audit. Well aren’t we special?  In fact, as part of the Business License we have with the City, a form is filled out by our treasurer every month (as required).  We have never charged admission, or had lodging or meals associated with our rallies.  Every month the forms are appropriately filled with zeros. Ms. Carr goes on to say that if we don’t respond within 15 days, the City will make a statutory assessment- meaning they’ll pick an amount to charge us.

So the City and Mayor apparently feels that the Richmond Tea Party has not paid its fair share for use of Kanawha Plaza. We challenged the Mayor’s unequal treatment between groups and he responds with even more unequal treatment. Read the entire story here, and thanks to Colleen Owens.

Mayor Jones visited the occupiers and in solidarity with them, infamously said that he is a “child of civil rights’ and “protests.” Mayor Jones believed he was “passing the torch.” But eventually he refused to renew permits they hadn’t paid for (and weren’t billed for perhaps) – and the next thing you know, there goes the neighborhood! Richard Boone, publisher of the Richmond Free Press, became their host.  In the video here, Mrs. Boone (who’s backyard is occupied), doesn’t understand why Mayor Jones is not issuing permits for Kanawha Plaza. Here is her answer.

Now the “comprehensive audit” begins. Read the letter from Cynthia Farr, Field Auditor here. No one is speaking up for the Richmond Tea Party. Appalling! Where are Richmond’s Defending Fathers?

Occupy Richmond Moves onto Richard Boone’s Property (video)

Linked by Grumpy Elder at Grumpy Opinions – thanks!

Posted by Maggie @ Maggie’s Notebook