Richmond Tea Party audited after seeking redress over Occupy special treatment

Posted by: ST on November 28, 2011 at 5:52 pm

Why am I not surprised? Via the AP:

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – The Richmond Tea Party is being audited by the city in what the conservative activist group calls retaliation for seeking refunds for rally permits and fees.

The audit is outlined in a Nov. 14 letter by the city’s Department of Finance. It states the group has not paid admissions, lodging or meals taxes collected by the city, so is now being audited.

The Tea Party said Monday it has never charged an admission or offered meals or lodging associated with its rallies.

“Every month the forms are appropriately filled with zeros,” Tea Party spokeswoman Colleen Owens wrote in an email.

The group said the audit is punishment for its complaint that the city had charged it $8,500 for permits and other costs for rallies held in Richmond, while Occupy Richmond activists have not been assessed any costs related to their former occupation of a city-owned plaza.

The Tea Party sought a refund, unsuccessfully, from the city.

[…]

The Tea Party said Jones’ administration sought permit fees, portable toilets and other demands for their events, but had given Occupy Richmond a free pass.

The Occupy movement pitched tents for two weeks on a city-owned plaza until police cleared them out in a pre-dawn sweep on Oct. 31.

The occupation costs the city $17,640, primarily for police and public works overtime costs, according to a city accounting based on a Freedom of Information Act request filed by the AP.

The costs did not include a subsequent occupation on the lawn of the mayor’s neighbor.

Here’s the City of Richmond’s letter of notification to the Tea Party regarding the tax audit.

Colleen Owens herself wrote a piece at Big Government with even more details:

First some back story: as reported on the front page of the Richmond Times Dispatch, the Richmond Tea Party delivered an invoice for charges incurred in our previous three Tax Day rallies at Kanawha Plaza because Mayor Jones chose to allow Occupy Richmond protesters to convene in the same park for two weeks.

The Mayor not only allowed the Occupiers to break the law, but he visited them in the city-owned park. “Jones said that as a ‘child of civil rights’ and protests, he had allowed the group to remain in the park but understands his mayoral responsibility to uphold laws of the city,” reported the Richmond Times Dispatch.

Apparently his mayoral duties included preferential treatment for a group he sympathizes with ideologically at the expense of the taxpayers.

The blog Virginia Right reported that the city provided services such as portable toilets, trash pickup, etc. The incomplete invoices obtained from the city totaled $7,000. This was only a portion of the actual costs to taxpayers because the costs of police, helicopter and incarcerations were not included. Also not accounted for was the 24-hour police protection of the Mayor’s home after the Occupiers moved their camp next door to the Mayor’s house. The Richmond Tea Party, conversely, paid for all services for our rallies, including the police, portable toilets, park fees and permits, amounting to approximately $8,500.

Our actions apparently struck a nerve. Our invoice to the Mayor was covered by hundreds of news outlets, including the AP, Richmond Times Dispatch, Baltimore Sun, and the Washington Post. On October 31, I appeared on Fox Business, Neil Cavuto’s show, and was interviewed about our actions. Reportedly, at least two Richmond City Council members agreed with our plight. “I guess we’ll be writing a check to the Tea Party people,” said Councilman Bruce W. Tyler, as quoted in the Richmond Times Dispatch. “You can’t treat one group different from the other. It’s unfair.”

On November 14th, representatives of our Tea Party attended the City Council meeting to speak to the Mayor and Council during the citizen forum. Mayor Jones, apparently too busy to listen to his constituents, got up and left before we spoke. He had no problem inviting members of the Occupy group to his office for a closed door meeting days later, at the same time refusing to meet with us.

Hmmm.  Sounds like liberal groups are being shown favoritism by a Mayor who is supposed to represent ALL the people, not just those who voted him into office.  Please contact the Mayor’s office, especially if you are a resident of Richmondy, VA, and let his administration (politely but firmly) know what you think:

900 E. Broad St., Suite 201
Richmond, VA 23219 USA
Phone: (804)646-7970
Fax: (804)646-7987
Email

Here’s contact information as well for Richmond City Council members. Click on the individual pictures for office phone numbers and email address links.

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7 Responses to “Richmond Tea Party audited after seeking redress over Occupy special treatment”

Comments

  1. Drew the Infidel says:

    It will be a good chance to show displeasure at the ballot box as well. Those angered will remain so while the flea party element will not even look back thinking they have gotten away with something they were “entitled” to in the first place.

  2. Bill G says:

    Sounds like the mayor wants to turn “Commonwealth” in to common wealth.

  3. PE says:

    Betcha he gets an honorary doctorate from Robert Mugabe University’s College of Government.

  4. tj says:

    Here is what I sent the idealog Mayor:
    The occupation costs the city $17,640, primarily for police and public works overtime costs, according to a city accounting firm
    Sounds like liberal groups are being shown favoritism by a Mayor who is supposed to represent ALL the people, not just those who voted him into office. The audit was punishment for its complaint that the city had charged it $8,500 for permits and other costs for rallies held in Richmond, while Occupy Richmond activists have not been assessed any costs related to their former occupation of a city-owned plaza. Cronyism will get you booted out of office come next election! I certainly will be giving to your opposition. PAY THE BILL!

  5. DaveO says:

    Mayors, like Presidents, do not represent all the people all the time. Not even some of the time. Mayors, like our current SCOAMF POTUS, only represent those that voted for them, gave money to them, and don’t particularly care how the job is handled.

    This is a job for AG Cuccinelli, who was elected to represent equal application of Virginia’s laws.

  6. kajun says:

    If I still lived in VA I’d be sending letters, emails and making phone calls to the City Council members, State Reps and Senators and double dosing the State AG about this. The local TEA Party members/supporters should be shutting down the ‘switchboard’ at local and state offices in getting this Mayor investigated and any and all due punishment given to him.
    This is just stupid. Sounds like Richmond has become a Washington,DC,Jr. Wherein the AG and Mayor will fight the cases they want and not the ones they don’t want to fool with.
    Could it be that the words of Thomas Jefferson, “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants”, are coming to fulfillment?
    The politicians don’t want to listen so we need to speak louder and not with just our voices.