CRVA board fires back at Mayor Foxx and Charlotte City Council | CLT Blog

CRVA board fires back at Mayor Foxx and Charlotte City Council

Posted on 6 Jul 2011 by Larry Shaheen Jr.

The gauntlet has been thrown down and the CRVA Board, who had been pressured in past weeks to let go of their Chief Tim Newman, has answered with a very firm “no thanks!”

In a letter sent today by Joe Hallow, chair of the visitors authority board, to Mayor Anthony Foxx and members of the Charlotte City Council, Hallow informed Charlotte City Council that the CRVA Board would be keeping CEO Tim Newman and COO Mike Crum even though their contracts have expired.

A little history on the letter can be found via the Charlotte Business Journal article today.

The executives’ most recent contracts city expired June 30. Newman and the visitors authority have been criticized by the mayor and council members in recent months for financial losses at the NASCAR Hall of Fame, entertainment expenses and bonus policies. Council members withheld millions of dollars in tourism funding last month, pending an expected overhaul of operating guidelines due July 22.

According to [CRVA Chairman Joe] Hallow’s letter, written with CRVA board Vice Chair Vinay Patel, the decision on Newman and Crum “was reached after considerable discussion concerning both immediate issues and longer term strategic direction for the CRVA.”

By an 83 vote, the [Charlotte City] council last month approved $2.5 million for the visitors authority , 25 percent of the $10 million requested for the new fiscal year that began July 1.

Council members debated what must be done to secure the rest of the money. Foxx, a frequent critic of the CRVA, said he wants to see a plan, rather than “a plan to have a plan.”

The visitors authority also recently released a 17-page written report by PriceWaterhouseCooper assessing various aspects of the tourism organization.

Among other things, the report raised questions about the credibility of attendance projections at the visitors authority-operated NASCAR Hall of Fame, suggested greater transparency for how employee bonuses are awarded and recommended revised standards for expenses and entertainment.”

There has long been speculation among individuals close to this issue that the motives behind Mayor Foxx and Councilman Barnes’ attacks on CRVA were to pressure the Board into letting go of Tim Newman and making political changes on the Board with preparations for the DNC underway.

There is also speculation that this is a personal issue between Anthony Foxx and Tim Newman. What would be refreshing from this citizen’s seat would be to hear the real story about why Foxx and Barnes are so keen to have Newman gone.

One thing is certain: For those in the business community who wanted to see the CRVA off of page 1 and first stories of local news, they are going to have to wait a little longer as this just became a fresh and red hot issue. This move by the Board to keep Newman sets up a showdown on July 25th when the CRVA funding will once again be before the city council. The CRVA was created to be set apart from just this type of political maneuvering and it will be interesting to see the next move from Council now that they have seen that the Board will not be pressured politically.

Stay tuned for more updates here at CLT Blog. (And watch for my upcoming column, “The State of Mecklenburg”.)


  1. Sharky Dowd 7 Jul 2011 at 8:06 AM

    The CRVA reminds me of Charlotte’s United Way and Tim Newman reminds me of Gloria Pace King. Is there any transparency in regard to things like his expense account and monies spent on office decor? … Of course in this case the worthy “charities” served are Charlotte businesses:

  2. Mel Morganstein 7 Jul 2011 at 12:21 PM

    Of course the CRVA board is going to support Newman, he gets them what THEY want. The reason that they don’t care what it costs is because the taxpayers are picking up the tab for it all, not the fat cats.

    Make the financial interests BEHIND the board actually pick up the costs and watch things change. Of course, the city political puppets will not cut off all public funding and do what’s right for several reasons. One, they probably don’t have the cojones to do it. Two, as related to me, Newman and crew have been kicking back so many perks and goodies and kickbacks etc and thus knows where all the skeletons are buried, that THE POLITICIANS WOULD NOT DARE TO DO THAT!!

  3. Jack Brosch 8 Jul 2011 at 4:26 PM

    I think the main focus of this article in the Business Journal was “the end justifies the means”. Perhaps with TOTALLY private funding, you may get away with this — but NOT with public funding — as the PCW report includes – transparency and oversight are missing in the CRVA. If you want to have your own “little” (relative term) slush fund, then FULLY fund this with private dollars — reduce the hotel / motel tax and let them fund the Authority DIRECTLY. And, I do mean ENTIRELY private funding, including taking the coliseum and NASCAR museum PRIVATE.
    As to Tim Newman – I just wonder how many of the board of directors would support a mid-level manager in one of their companies who behaved with such disregard for INVESTORS (ie tax payers in the CRVA case) or senior managements wishes?