Local News

Roanoke Rapids Hires Law Firm to Look Into Parton Dispute

Posted December 11, 2007
Updated December 12, 2007

— It appears the Randy Parton Theatre is making plans to move forward without its namesake.

The Roanoke Rapids City Council held a closed-door meeting for over an hour Tuesday night to discuss Parton's contract. When council members emerged, the only business they announced was the hiring of an attorney to represent the city in its dispute with Parton.

The action came the same day that Randy Parton's widely known sister, singer Dolly Parton, issued a statement supporting her brother.

Johnny Loper, an attorney with Womble Carlyle, said the city had hired his several days ago. Loper would not confirm whether the city wants him to tear up Parton's contract.

“I'm going to try to talk with my clients, gather the documents, review those, talk to my clients, probably talk to Mr. Parton's attorney, and we're going to try to come to a sane, rational decision,” Loper said.

City leaders were quiet after the meeting, but have previously said they want Parton gone. The new management company at the theater said it has been told to move forward without Parton in its plans.

“We have to at this point. That's the direction we've been given by the city,” said Jim Craig, an official with UGL Unico, the company the city hired to manage the theater after Parton was relieved of that duty.

The city released 178 pages of documents Monday detailing how Parton's production company spent more than $2.1 million in city money to launch his namesake theater, though Roanoke Rapids Mayor Pro-Tem Reggie Baird said the new documents don't have any "red flags" like paperwork released last week that showed Parton spent money on liquor and at Las Vegas shows.

Parton ended up using more than $2.4 million of a $3 million fund set up to start the project.

Mayor Drewery Beale has said Parton will not perform at the theater anytime soon. The city has already slashed Parton's compensation and transferred production duties to UGL, which is based in Boston.

Parton was sent home last Thursday before a performance. Beale said Parton was under the influence of alcohol at the time. The theater's management said he was "under the weather."

Parton denied the drinking allegation and said he is getting "a raw deal."

"I was trying to do something for the city and the community here in Roanoke Rapids, and this is the thanks I get," he said.

The city borrowed $21.5 million to build the 1,500-seat theater as part of an entertainment hub off Interstate 95.


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  • hdvoodooqueen Dec 13, 2007

    Thank you, enderby and skywatch_nc, for returning civility to this discussion. Roanoke Rapids has it's share of problems as all cities/towns do, but I'm tired of seeing this little town made the statewide laughing stock, when in fact, the problem is not the town. People who would come to the theatre would see that the show is very well done, and with the new management, there are lots of acts booked through next spring that would be of interest to a varied assortment of tastes. One day, this will all be forgotten and we'll all be proud again of the new growth and attractions that we'll be glad to share with all visitors.

  • enderby Dec 13, 2007

    Given the same acts or plays I would rather go to RR than downtown Raleigh.

  • Skywatch_NC Dec 12, 2007

    All cities/towns across the country have their problems ...and they eventually get them resolved and worked out. I'm sure RR will as well.

  • Six String Dec 12, 2007

    Agreed, Deer Hunter. Hope they work it out and get to the bottom of who did what. Randy Parton was not a good choice, but there's more out there than has been told about this, and I'd wager a goodly sum on it. Once the lawyers get into it on the public dime, they will have to open up the papers to the public. Want to bet that the RR officials will quietly settle this without going to court?

  • Deer Hunter Dec 12, 2007

    Let's pray for rain for Raleigh and maybe Roanoke will get this straightend out. We should be commenting on who did what wrong as far as the politicians and stop blaming each other and putting down the people of each area. This is a comment board not a place to throw stones at each other.

  • Six String Dec 12, 2007

    I shouldn't have said anything, it doesn't add to the discussion, so let's move on. In fact, I'd like to see the subject rest for awhile.

  • Six String Dec 12, 2007

    Wouldn't really care. But I wouldn't act like a big baby, either.

  • Skywatch_NC Dec 12, 2007

    Do we need to talk to your mommy? Good grief what a tirade.

    Would you seriously like it if folks went on a continuous soap box toward the citizens of Raleigh?

  • Six String Dec 12, 2007

    "Maybe you Triangle people should worry more about your water situation instead of the RP Theater. RR may have a bunch of "back woods rednecks" but at least they are not going to run out of water in February. You might want to visit the theater next year so you can see some nice green grass and maybe they might even serve you a nice glass of cold water. I recommend they charge you $10 a glass for it."-- Trueblue87

    Now add:

    "and all you people in Raleigh are big goo goo-faces...and...and...I'm gonna take my football and go home."

    Do we need to talk to your mommy? Good grief what a tirade.

  • Run_Forrest_Run Dec 12, 2007

    I remember when I first heard of RR building this attraction. I admit I was hopeful as there are some nice people that live up that way and if we ended up with another Branson, that would rock. However, they did know that like most of this area (west of the granite basin); that it is quite swampish up there and the mosquitoes in the summer would probably carry away small children that visited??