Within Three Weeks DCC Violates The Terms Of The Lease Agreement
Term # 16. Naming Rights: The Lessee shall have the right to install plaques honoring donors in certain specific exhibit areas, but shall not have the right to name rooms or parts of the leased property.
A couple of weeks after signing the Lease Agreement with the County Commissioners to use the Historic Courthouse for the Earl Scruggs Center, Destination Cleveland County kicks off its capital campaign to raise $7.5 million for the Earl Scruggs Center and the Don Gibson Theatre. The local goal is $4.2 million, and the remainder will be sought from foundations and other grant sources.
An article in The Star on April 6, 2008, tells that campaign general chairs Robin Hendrick and J.T. Scruggs said more than 80% of the local goal has been pledged. The amount includes the City of Shelby’s $500,000 matching grant for the Don Gibson Theatre and the Cleveland County government’s $1.5 million to be used for interior renovations of the courthouse, as well as donor gifts from early contributors.
As part of their campaign to raise money for these two projects, the next week Destination Cleveland County sent out a mailing by parcel post giving potential donors an opportunity to pay to have areas at the Don Gibson Theatre and the Earl Scruggs Center named to honor themselves, their family, or corporation.
“The Honorary Naming Opportunities” letter shows that some of the areas have already been “SOLD.”
It has been just three weeks since the County Commissioners voted unanimously to lease the Historic Courthouse to Destination Cleveland County for the Earl Scruggs Center, and DCC is already violating the terms of the lease agreement.
Offering “Honorary Naming Opportunities” to name rooms is a violation of the Lease Agreement. It is obvious that DCC is naming the spaces because the letter says “Honorary Naming Opportunities.” Also, all of the areas for sale listed for the Earl Scruggs Center on the sheet are rooms.
At the April 15, 2008, County Commissioners Meeting, resident Brendan LeGrand, who had received one of the Honorary Naming Opportunities offers in the mail, gave the Commissioners a copy of the letter and addressed them about DCC’s violation of term #16 of the Lease Agreement. Mrs. LeGrand requested the Commissioners require DCC to be in compliance with the lease agreement.
Chairwoman Jo Boggs responded to Mrs. LeGrand’s complaint about DCC’s violation by stating, “I want to say as Commissioners we will be sure that this lease is followed to the letter. You can rest assured.”
The minutes from the Commissioners Meeting that were written up and approved by the Commissioners state: Chairwoman Boggs assured Ms. LeGrand that Destination Cleveland County is in compliance with the lease agreement.
To say, “I want to say as Commissioners we will be sure that this lease is followed to the letter. You can rest assured,” is not the same meaning as Chairman Boggs assured Ms. LeGrand that Destination Cleveland is in compliance with the lease agreement. The latter implies that Mrs. Boggs is saying DCC is not in violation of the terms of the lease agreement.
Brendan LeGrand addressed the County Commissioners again at their June 3, 2008 meeting and referred to the discrepancy between what was written into the minutes of the April 15, 2008 meeting and what Chairwoman Boggs actually said. Mrs. LeGrand requested that the minutes be amended to reflect Mrs. Boggs’s accurate statement.
The Commissioners did not change the minutes to reflect what Chairwoman Boggs actually said because County Attorney Bob Yelton told them that, per NC General Statutes, minutes of the Board does not have to be verbatim.
Yet, why have minutes if they do not truthfully reflect the message of what was said?
Bob Yelton went on to say that according to Robert’s Rule of Order, the minutes should contain only what was done at the meeting, not a transcript of what individuals say.
“Honorary Naming Opportunities” Is Changed To “Honorary Recognition Opportunities”
At this June 3, 2008 meeting, Brendan LeGrand also presented to Commissioners another mailing she had received from Destination Cleveland County concerning the ‘Honorary Naming Opportunities.” The word “Naming” Opportunities had been changed to “Recognition” Opportunities. This is saying the same thing. To name, honor, or recognize someone with a sign acknowledging their donation is all the same.
Mrs. LeGrand requested that the Commissioners continue to monitor the progress of the renovation of the courthouse and see that Destination Cleveland is in compliance with the terms of the lease agreement.
Chairwoman Boggs spoke, “I as chair, request that the County Manager and the County Attorney continue to monitor the progress of the renovations of the courthouse and see that Destination Cleveland County is in compliance with the terms of the lease agreement.”
County Manager David Dear informed Commissioners that he and the attorney will review Item #16 of the lease agreement.
County Commissioners Approve Terms For DCC’s Reporting Of $1.5 Million Funds Allocated To DCC To Renovate The Historic Courthouse
Also at the June 3, 2008 Commissioners Meeting, County Manager David Dear explained the agreement that sets forth the necessary reporting of the $1.5 million the County Commissioners had approved for DCC to use to renovate the interior of the courthouse.
The agreement requires the county to budget and pay to Destination Cleveland County annually the sum of $250,000 per fiscal year for six fiscal years, including the fiscal year ending on June 30, 2008, for the sole purpose of making renovations to the courthouse building covered by the Lease Agreement.
In making the grants the County is requiring DCC to use the funds solely for the renovation of the interior of the courthouse building and to submit an annual report on the use of the funds, and DCC has agreed to submit the report.
On or before June 1, each fiscal year in which the grants are made to DCC, DCC must submit to the County Manager a complete report as to how the grant funds have been used. If all of the funds have not been spent during any fiscal year, the report shall also contain an accounting of how the funds are invested. The report shall be prepared by a Certified Public Accountant. If DCC fails to submit the Annual Report, the County may withhold all further grants until the report is submitted. This agreement cannot be altered or modified except in writing signed by County and DCC.
AGREEMENT: This agreement was made and entered into on this the 3rd day of June 2008 by and between CLEVELAND COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA, a governmental sub-Division of the State of North Carolina, hereinafter referred to as the County” and DESTINATION CLEVELAND COUNTY, INC., a North Carolina Non-Profit Corporation, hereinafter referred to as “DCC”,
WHEREAS the parties hereto have heretofore entered into a Lease
Agreement dated March 18, 2008, covering buildings located on the Old
Court Square in the City of Shelby, North Carolina;
and WHEREAS the County subject to annual budgetary requirements has
agreed to grant to DCC the sum of $250,000 per fiscal year for 6 fiscal years,
including the fiscal year ending June 30, 2008, for the sole purpose of making
renovations to the building covered by said Lease Agreement, and WHEREAS the
County in making said grants is requiring DCC to submit an annual report on
the use of said funds and DCC has agreed to submit said report;
NOW THEREFORE, in consideration of the premises and the mutual covenants
herein contained and set forth, the parties agree as follows: 1. County,
subject to annual budgetary requirements, shall grant the sum of $250,000
per fiscal year for 6 fiscal years, including the fiscal year ending June 30, 2008,
to DCC for the sole purpose of renovating the interior of the buildings covered
by a Lease Agreement between the parties.
2. DCC agrees to use said annual grants for the sole purpose of renovating the
interior of the buildings covered by said Lease Agreement.
3. On or before June 1 each fiscal year in which grants
are made to DCC, DCC shall submit to the County Manager of Cleveland
County a complete report as to how the grant funds have been used. If all
of the funds have not been spent during any fiscal year, the report shall also
contain an accounting of how said funds are invested. The report as
required by this Paragraph 3 shall be prepared by a Certified Public
Accountant. 4. If DCC fails to submit said Annual Report, the County may
withhold all further grants until such report is submitted.
5. This Agreement constitutes the entire agreement between the parties
concerning the subject matter hereof, and it shall not be altered or modified
except in writing signed by County and DCC.
6. This Agreement shall be binding upon inure to the benefit of the parties hereto,
their respective successors and assigns.
7. This Agreement shall be governed by and construed in accordance with
the laws of the State of North Carolina. IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the
County and DCC have caused this agreement to be duly executed, this the
day and year first written above. CLEVELAND COUNTY By: Rebecca Jo
Powell Boggs, Chairwoman Cleveland County Board of Commissioners
DESTINATION CLEVELAND COUNTY, INC. By: Martha R. Plaster,
Chair, Destination Cleveland County Board and By: John Schweppe, III,
Secretary, Destination Cleveland County Board.
Cleveland County Historical Museum’s Artifacts Are Moved From Historic Courthouse To Storage Facility
May 2 and 3, 2008, the artifacts were moved from the courthouse to a storage facility at the gymnasium of the former Hunter School building on Pinkney Street in Shelby by a professional moving company. The movie folks who were in town shooting the film, “Blood Done Sign My Name,” needed access to the inside of the courthouse and paid to have the artifacts moved so filming could take place without delay.
The Cleveland County School System owns the Hunter School building and the County is paying to have the artifacts stored there. Also, the county is allocating DCC money to pay the salary of Annmarie Reiley-Kay as curator for the artifacts. Ms. Reiley-Kay is paid with county money but reports to DCC. Once the Earl Scruggs Center opens, Ms. Reiley-Kay will be the curator of the museum, with salary paid through DCC with money from Cleveland County taxpayers.
A Second Violation Of The Terms Of The Lease Agreement With Destination Cleveland County For The Earl Scruggs Center
Term #17. Restored Court Room:
The lessee shall make the restored Court Room located on the second floor of the leased property available, at no cost, for governmental functions and educational activities. The County and the Lessee shall develop a policy that will govern the scheduling and ancillary cost of any use of the restored Court Room/
Ancillary costs shall include but are not limited to costs associated with providing security and staff for the facility during said use.
Museum Planner Cissy Anklam comes to Cleveland County April 30-May 1, 2008 for four public meetings to discuss DCC’s plans for the Earl Scruggs Center. She returns May 18 with five preliminary master planning designs, which DCC Executive Director Marta Holden shows to County Commissioners at their May 20, 2008 meeting.
A June 12, 2008 article from The Star says that on Wednesday, June 11, 2008, at the Arts Council building, Cissy Anklam along with exhibit writer John Hubbell, reveals the master site plan for the Earl Scruggs Center to DCC board members and officials.
They showed a tentative floor plan of the courtroom, which she called the “Great Hall” that could provide several seating accommodations, but only after the removal of the wooden pews that line the old courtroom floor.
“If we kept the pews, I think we would have been really limited in what you could do in that space,” she said. “We’re going to return it back to its original grandeur as a beautifully elegant space but it will be multi-use also. It’s very important for museums right now to be sustainable and one major way to do that is to have rental opportunities.” The area might eventually support meetings, reunions, and wedding receptions for sources of income, she said.
The Lease Agreement says three times that the courtroom will be restored: Term #17. Restored Court Room
The lessee shall make the restored Court Room located on the second floor of the leased property available, at no cost, for governmental functions and educational activities. The County and the Lessee shall develop a policy that will govern the scheduling and ancillary cost of any use of the restored Court Room.
The courtroom was not restored, as required by the Lease Agreement, it was renovated into a reception hall.
Museum Archival Committee Is Appointed By County Commissioners
At their meeting on June 17, 2008, the County Commissioners appointed a Museum Archival Committee to oversee the artifacts. Wanda Crotts, Libby Sarazen, and Meloni Wray were appointed to serve on this board for a three-year period to conclude on June 30, 2011. At the end of that time, the three were reappointed to serve from July 1, 2011, to June 30, 2014.
Destination Cleveland County Board Of Directors July 1, 2008-June 30, 2009 Brownie Plaster, President Adelaide Craver, Vice President John Schweppe, III, Secretary Jason Gragg, Treasurer Emily Epley, Executive Director Myra Dixon
David Jenkins, Theatre Director
DCC’s Visions To Include Local History At The Earl Scruggs Center
On July 1, 2008, Emily Epley begins as the new Executive Director of Destination Cleveland County to replace Marta Holden, who moved to Texas. According to an August 8, 2008 article in The Star, DCC Chairwoman Brownie Plaster says the Earl Scruggs Center is tentatively slated for a late 2010 opening.
DCC’s team of ‘story catchers’ work on the Oral History program for the Earl Scruggs Center, interviewing residents and recording stories to be used in collaboration with professional museum planners and writers to weave together and share the comprehensive story of the people of Cleveland County through the Earl Scruggs Center.
In an article in The Star on August 17, 2008, DCC Chairwoman Brownie Plaster says, “The reader might remember that in DCC’s research of successful museums across the country, we learned that the objects and the archives do tell the history, but what makes them come alive is the story of the people behind the objects. That’s how we came up with the title- the ‘Earl Scruggs Center- Songs and Stories of the Carolina Foothills’ for bringing alive the 1907 courthouse and its contents in an innovative fashion.”
If it is DCC’s intent to use the local artifacts to tell what is unique and pertinent to the people of the Carolina Foothills, one wonders why they later changed the name to encompass the entire southern United States when they renamed it the ‘Earl Scruggs Center- Songs and Stories from the American South.’
Earl Scruggs Returns For Second Concert For DCC
Earl Scruggs returned to his native Cleveland County on Friday, June 19, 2009, for a “Home Again” sold-out concert at the Malcolm Brown Auditorium at Shelby High School.
Proceeds from the concert benefitted the Earl Scruggs Center- Music and Stories of the Carolina Foothills, slated to be completed in late 2011.
While he was here, a film crew came to film him walking around the court square and walking down the sidewalk as an intro film to be shown at the Earl Scruggs Center: Music and Stories of the Carolina Foothills. (Is this another new name?)
Destination Cleveland County Board Of Directors July 1, 2009-June 30, 2010 Brownie Plaster, Chairwoman Adelaide Craver, Vice Chair John Schweppe, III, Secretary Jason Gragg, Treasurer Emily Epley, Executive Director Myra Dixon Shannon Kennedy
David Jenkins, Theatre Director
DCC Is In Violation Of The Lease Agreement For A Third Time And Is In Default Of The Lease Term #14. Commencement and Completion of Renovations:Lessee shall commence renovations to the leased property within twelve (12) months from the date of this Lease. Default. Lessee shall be deemed in default under the terms of this Lease if: (c) Lessee fails to fulfill any duty or obligation imposed by this Lease.
The Lease Agreement specifies that DCC is to begin renovations to the courthouse within twelve (12) months from the date of the Lease, which was executed on March 18, 2008.
One year later nothing has been done except an asbestos survey has been conducted at the Historic Courthouse
From the minutes at October 6, 2009, County Commissioners Meeting: Commissioner Johnny Hutchins asked J.T. Scruggs about the statue of the elevator at the Historic Courthouse. Mr. Scruggs explained that the architect is looking at that now and hopes to have a design by the beginning of January. 
An article in The Star on January 25, 2010, states: Scruggs Center eyes renovations, opening- It’s been almost two years since the ink dried (on the lease agreement). There’s been no construction. Emily Epley says phase one design for the Scruggs Center began last quarter. There are substantial grants in the works for the Scruggs Center, Epley said, and construction could be dependent if and when they go through. As it stands now, officials hope construction could start in the second half of 2010.
By this time DCC has received $500,000 of the $1.5 million county commitment to renovate the courthouse, plus the $250,000 Golden LEAF grant for the courtroom.
Since DCC has received this money, why has renovation not begun? Where is this money?