Come one, come all to the American Legion World Series Baseball games. The. yearly flim-flam known as the American Legion World Series 7th Inning Stretch scheduled for August 10, 2019 and the baseball games scheduled August 15-20, 2019. You might as well. You have already paid $millions, you just didn’t know it. And be sure to call the thief mastermind, ALWS Chairman Eddie “Massa Eddie” Holbrook at 704-466-3103 or drop by the ALWS Baseball, Inc headquarters at 117-A West Warren Street in Shelby for your free tickets. Well, not really free since you have already paid dearly for them, but you just didn’t know you had already paid for them. Many times over. Tell “Massa Eddie” that Robert A. Williams sent you.
Folks, I am going to make this article as short and sweet as possible. But it is complex, so pay attention.
Let’s start with the arithmetic and lies.
Taxes: The Commissioners always lie about taxes.
Property Taxes: 57 cents per $100 evaluation. A lie within a lie.
Evaluation is the amount the county says a piece of property is worth. North Carolina law requires property (land) be re-evaluated every eight years. More often is allowed if the County wants to do the re-evaluation more often. This is important to this article because Cleveland County always re-evaluated as often as they could because property values tended to go up. 57 cents per times a new evaluation increase resulted in more taxes being levied, but the commissioners would always claim that tax rate, 57 cents, had not gone up. Now, the big recession hit in 2008 and property values went down. Way down. And way below the previous valuation when property values were way up.
So, what do the commissioners do? Do they lower their valuation to help all those folks who became un-employed. Over 15% of us became unemployed and lots of us that stayed employed worked for lower pay. Lots of folks lost their homes too. But Nooo! The commissioners refused to re-evaluate property until state law said that they had too. Artificially keeping the tax bills high. And they stayed high. Note that this artificially high taxation, without relief from accurate evaluations from about 2009 until around 2017. This time frame is important because that is about the time Massa Eddie Holbrook got elected as a county commissioner and the ALWS craze hit Cleveland County. And don’t forget the tax hike, despite citizens voting overwhelmingly to reject the Holbrook sales tax increase for fire and emergency services, that county fire taxes were raised 75% by Holbrook and his dunce commissioners to make up for the taxpayer rejection of the sales tax increase. Remember that? It just happened a few years ago.
Now, the time frame noted above included a double whammy on county employees. Their pay rates were frozen but the cost of living increased. Do you county employees and their families remember that? All except for County Manager and the so-called economic development whiz, David Deer. His pay was by contract and he demanded and got four bonus’s that I am aware of at $10,000 a pop. On top of his high salary to begin with. Besides him flipping houses in a resort area for major profits in the hundreds of thousands of dollars range. And other business dealings more local. There is much more along this line, but that is a story for another day.
Taxes, in short, during the time frame of the ALWS were kept artificially high by the contrivances (notice I did NOT say “COLLUSAION”) of Eddie Holbrook and the commissioners; all the while the ALWS in Shelby was firing up. Regular citizens as well as county employees had their wages either lowered (some to Zero) or frozen-for years. While I will show later in this article that Massa Eddie Holbrook and his commissioner buddies were diverting $Millions in county tax dollars directly to the ALWS Baseball accounts or directly to Massa Eddie.
Secret Sale of the Hospitals and other county owned healthcare facilities to Carolinas Medical Services (CMS) for $100 Million:
First of all, this secret sale of the Hospitals was touted, once it was done, as CMS had come to the Commissioners to make this sale, but wanted it kept confidential. The terms of the sale as described by the commissioners and the Star, never made any sense to me. They were certainly not in the best interest of Cleveland County citizens. The county had financed $77 Million for CMS for 27 years at ZERO interest. So, all the County got up front from this $100 Million sale was $23 Million to build a new Health Department building–which has since been put up for a loan to build the New North Shelby School Project, give Shelby $11.5 Million for help building water and sewer lines to Clearwater Paper plus $Millions more directly to Clearwater Paper as incentives. All to get only $3 Million per year from CMS on that $77 Million they owed. Which was cheap for CMS as the value of the Hospital property was much likely worth way more than $100 Million to begin with. On which they were renting for $1.4 million per year to start with.
It took several years to learn from sources that the deal to sell the Hospital was the other way around. The Commissioners themselves, under Massa Eddie Holbrook’s instigation, went to CMS begging them to purchase the huge county owned assets for a bargain price. The county was drawing down on their reserve funds and almost dead broke from the recession as well as all the so-called economic development incentive giveaways. It took several years more to learn about the $Million Dollar Check the county wrote to Eddie Holbrook and the ALWS. A secret check that was clouded in mystery and downright lies. A check that most likely was a fee secretly charged by Massa Eddie Holbrook to CMS for handing them the Hospitals on such good terms. OR just a plain old bribe from CMS to Holbrook. Read on for the details.
I have attached a copy of that $1,000,000 check as well as a list of $Millions more in county checks to the ALWS. Totaling about $4 Million from 2009 thru 2017. Probably another $Million since then. And who knows how much County dollars the ALWS will get for 2019. We will look into that very soon. But the rub here is this, a telling account of how Cleveland County Commissioners have cheated citizens out of $Millions under false pretenses. The ALWS crowd associated with Eddie Holbrook have continually lied-saying funding for the ALWS was from donations and grants. In reality, the major funding actually came out of Cleveland County fund accounts put up by taxpayers. Like I said before, read on.
Without further ado, let’s look at some details related to that $1,000,000 check written on County accounts on April 4, 2013. Just about the time the Hospitals were sold to CMS.
For many years I had never heard a peep about this Million-dollar check or all of those other checks totaling another $3 Million. But about mid-year in 2018 sources began to report some shady deals regarding ALWS Baseball and Eddie Holbrook. As the reports came to me they described two Million Dollar checks. One directly to Eddie Holbrook, which Holbrook allegedly deposited directly into his own personal account. Then Holbrook either came to believe or was advised that if he got caught, he might go to prison. So, Massa Eddie then decided to transfer the $Million from his account to the County account and then have the County issue that $Million check attached below to the ALWS Baseball, Inc of which Holbrook was the chairman he was the Chairman. Basically, laundering that million dollars back to himself.