Editor’s Note: How the Cleveland County Fair has gone broke and requesting the Commissioners to bail them out cannot be explained without going through some complex history, some complex circumstances, some basic corporate deficiencies, some basic leadership failures, some basic accounting deficiencies and a lot of dirty politics over years in the making, as well as last minute cover-ups by the Shelby Star and others. This is like a jig-saw puzzle, so please be patient with the details.
This is a story ninety two years in the making as the Cleveland County Fair was founded by the Shelby Kiwanis Club in 1924. It has been reported to me that the Poston Family donated the 120 or so acres for the Fair location to Cleveland County, probably for the Cleveland County Fair Incorporated to avoid property taxes, with the provision that the property would revert back to the Poston family (heirs) should the Fair ever be disbanded or relocated away from the present location. This report has not yet been confirmed, but may significantly figure into future use of the property as it has been rumored Cleveland Community College wants the property for themselves. It has also been rumored that there is a push from certain Kings Mountain residents to move the Fair to their property in or close to Kings Mountain. This also has not been confirmed with documents that I have been able to obtain. This is not unusual in Cleveland County as things that are rumored to be happening do not actually happen until it is a done deal and a few “favored” people make a ton of money.
The Cleveland County Fair, Incorporated is a non-profit corporation formed to run the Cleveland County Fair. I am not sure exactly when this non-profit corporation was formed, but as it exists today there are shares owned by the original founders passed down to their descendants as well as some shares sold later to others. (More details about the Cleveland County Fair Incorporated will be provided later.) These shareholders vote to form a Board of Directors and the Board of Directors vote for a Chairman and Officers. As I have looked into this since the June 21, 2016 Commissioner’s Meeting most of the details regarding this Cleveland County Fair Incorporated entity are almost top secret, which always throws up a “Red Flag” to me as a warning that something fishy is going on. One thing that becomes obvious with a certain amount of digging is the Fair Corporation shareholders like to control things and tends to hire family members, family friends or when thought necessary “fronts” consisting of well thought of citizens unaware of the hidden “problems” into high positions at the Fair.
Now, before we go any further, let’s discuss how this Fair loan issue came before the Cleveland County Commissioners at the June 21, 2016 Commissioner’s Meeting.
The commissioner meeting agenda usually has a number of items called a Consent Agenda.” This Consent Agenda usually contains many simple items that are all voted on together by a single vote of the Commissioners. Examples of typical Consent Agenda items are the minutes of a previous meeting, when a Sheriff’s Deputy retires and is awarded his service revolver, when a K-9 officer (a police dog) gets too old and is given to someone or when a small grant is awarded to a county agency and the money has to be transferred into that agencies account and the county budget. After attending many Commissioner’s meetings, these are routine matters and are part of the regular agenda, which itself has to be approved by a vote of the Commissioners.