The news broke on Monday that the Anson County Arts Council has filed a formal complaint against the town of Wadesboro, stemming from a grant the arts council never received for the Ansonia Theatre.
A member of the arts council told The Anson Record that the arts council had been talking to the town for months on end about the grant, but had never gotten a response. The lawsuit was threatened earlier this year, but was not filed until Nov. 21.
At the May Wadesboro Town Council meeting, the arts council’s attorney, Fred Parker IV, said that the arts council had taken a loan from Anson Bank & Trust in the amount of $200,000, with the expectation that a grant would be secured from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. As a condition of the grant, HUD required that the town handle the arts council’s required matching funds. However, the grant application was not turned in by the Sept. 30, 2011 deadline, even though the arts council had procured the loan.
According to the formal complaint, obtained from the Anson County Clerk of Court, former Congressman Robin Hayes had helped procure funds from HUD in the amount of $198,820 as part of the 2004 federal budget. The $198,820 grant was “provisional in nature and required Wadesboro to complete certain conditions, including submitting to HUD accounting records and documents. The grant also required Wadesboro to raise matching funds of approximately $801,180,” according to the court document. The arts council agreed to raise the matching funds.
Between 2004 and 2009, the court documents say that the arts council “worked incessantly” to raise the needed funds, but at the same time, the town of Wadesboro failed to provide the required quarterly accounting and status records to HUD. The complaint states: “Wadesboro did not submit any paperwork to HUD to ensure that the grant funds would be disbursed for the project.”
The complaint document alleges breach of contract by the town of Wadesboro, and includes the $198,820 that the arts council failed to receive from HUD. The document also alleges negligence by the town for not providing the needed paperwork to HUD so that the arts council could receive its grant funding.
Parker said at the May town council meeting that if the funds are not obtained by February 2013, the theatre may be foreclosed and the arts council may have to dissolve.