Local News

Theater Records Show Parton Spent Money on Alcohol, Vegas Shows

Posted December 6, 2007

— City officials released financial records Thursday showing how Randy Parton spent part of his $3 million reserve fund, which taxpayers supplied for the Randy Parton Theatre.

Records show some of the money was used to buy alcohol, pay rent on an apartment and purchase tickets to Las Vegas shows. City officials said they frown upon any charges that did not relate to the operation of the theater.

Parton spent just under $2.5 million of the $3 million fund. Officials have only released records showing how he spent the first $254,000 of that money.

On July 17, 2006, Parton spent nearly $1,500 on Cirque du Soleil shows, which are marked as "training." Multiple hotels, restaurants and liquor stores are also noted in the financial records.

On Oct. 2, 2006, more than $2,400 was spent at the Belvedere Hotel in New York. A little more than $600 was spent at various liquor stores, including in New York, Las Vegas, Halifax County, Chowan County and Hertford.

Another $600 was spent on "partial rent" for an apartment.

Neither Parton nor his attorney made any public comments about the financial records Thursday.

Parton was recently replaced as general manager of the theater after it was troubled by lower-than-projected attendance and revenue numbers. The theater cost Roanoke Rapids $21.5 million in loans.

Boston-based UGL Unicco announced last week that it hired Rick Reno, the chief executive officer for the Crown Center in Cumberland County. A Louisiana native, Reno managed the opening of the Superdome in 1975 and has spent over 35 years in theater management.

Parton – the brother of country music legend Dolly Parton – both headlined and managed his namesake theater when it opened.

But attendance came in below projections of 300,000 for the first year (city officials have not released specific numbers), and on Nov. 20, the city council voted to rewrite the original contract and bring in a new management group.

The new contract engaged Parton to perform up to 36 times annually for a five-year period, but did not require a minimum amount of shows by him.

His annual salary was slashed from $1.5 million to $250,000, with a guaranteed payout of $1 million even if the theater closes before the contract expires.

Roanoke Rapids assumed a $475,000 debt Parton owed and banned him from accessing more than $500,000 remaining in his $3 million reserve fund. Councilman Jon Baker estimated the city will end up eating about $2 million on the contract.

The city will pay Unicco about $600,000 for the first year of a two-year contract.


Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • 68_polara Dec 7, 2007

    "I've heard the only people to show up at this place are retirement home folks, brought in on buses (probably against their will)... "

    shakennotstirred, You just made my day!

  • 68_polara Dec 7, 2007

    With a salary of 1.5 million one would think he wouldn't have to have abused the reserve fund to buy alcohol, unless he really wanted to take advantage of the suckers!

    Tax money should never have been used for something like this in the first place.

  • NCJB Dec 7, 2007

    Just play his country song backwards. RR will get their money back, their dogs back, their cars back, etc. hehe

  • A_Patriot Dec 7, 2007

    Who IS this buffoon?

  • retired and luv it Dec 7, 2007

    Christ sakes-just look at him and go with your gut feeling. He was just lucky enough to ride Dolly's coat tail all this time is his claim to fame. Put Willy Nelson in charge. At leat he is generous.

  • daMoFo Dec 6, 2007

    Big difference between Branson and RR. Branson had stars put their names on buildings and perform. People go to see big stars. I had never heard of Randy Parton before this story first showed up on WRAL. People don't go see hangers on and nobodies perform.

  • smitty Dec 6, 2007

    This isn't just a bummer for RR. The entire state got their privates kicked on this one. According to the Carolina Journal, this project received "$2 million in state grants for water and sewer improvements, [and] $3 million for associated road improvements".

    $5M of state money flushed down the tubes.

  • NE Raleigh Dec 6, 2007

    Shameful waste of money and resources. That part of NC deserves better.

  • happyncgurl Dec 6, 2007

    I swear.... who really cares about this guy.. the only reason his name is in the news is bc of his sister.. what a loser

  • alx Dec 6, 2007

    we should see the finances of the politicians who made this possible