Local News

Roanoke Rapids taxpayer sues Parton, colleagues

Posted July 28, 2008

— A Roanoke Rapids taxpayer has filed a lawsuit against the brother of country music star Dolly Parton and others involved in an embattled theater project.

Milton Jim Garrett says in his lawsuit that the backers of the Randy Parton Theatre misled the city to get public financing.

City officials cut ties with Parton in December and renamed the facility to the Roanoke Rapids Theatre after slow ticket sales and accusations of misused funds.

The city spent about $21.5 million to help build the site, hoping it would be an entertainment destination and help the region's struggling economy.

The theater lost more than $1 million in the first three months of this year, including the costs of buying singer Randy Parton out of his performance and management contract.

The North Carolina Institute for Constitutional Law – an anti-economic-incentives group funded partially by former conservative state lawmaker Art Pope – filed a similar lawsuit last month claiming Parton and his business partners at the time "lured" the city in an agreement to build the theater so that they could personally profit at taxpayers' expense.

Parton's attorney, Nick Ellis, has said his client denies anything improper when negotiating with the city about the theater.

"He and Roanoke Rapids reached a settlement concerning their contractual obligations, in which Roanoke Rapids paid Mr. Parton $750,000, and the parties completely released each other from all claims they had, including any claim relating to the theatre [sic]. As such, we do not believe there is any merit to this lawsuit," Ellis said in a statement.


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  • RR Native Jul 29, 2008

    Milton does NOT represent me. I would appreciate it if he would stop making us all look like idiots.

  • silverado32 Jul 29, 2008

    Yal also need to sue Roanoke Rapids too. they are at just as much fault has Randy. Our area is and will never be a tourist stop. We have nothing here to stop for. I mean really who on I95 is going to stop at a theater while traveling long distance. We are nothing but a sleep over place.

  • pbjbeach Jul 28, 2008

    Question that should be asked is did anybody do a feaseablity study as to the possibly amounts of tourist traffic & expected gross revenues that could be expected too vist this theater in rr, nc evidently not or this total failure at the expense to the Halifax county an the city of rr along with out a doubt there was also probably some hidden revenues from the state of nc an federal monies both were probably utlizied in this great boondoogle thank you

  • WRALblows Jul 28, 2008

    I think I'll move to Roanoke Rapids. It may be the only place on earth where I could be considered the smartest guy in town.

  • bs101fly Jul 28, 2008

    oh this is the best yet! only one thing,

  • OLD PIRATE 2 Jul 28, 2008

    Jim is not a racist! He made a statement that one black member of the committee said offended him.So Jim apologized to him. Where are the city fathers that caused this mess....Is someone afraid this suit might involve conflicks of interest? Some are trying hard to blow smoke on Jim and get the attention away from their own behavior. Keep up the pressure Jim, its working.

  • oneday8035 Jul 28, 2008

    The taxpayers of Durham voted down the bond for the DBAP...nice place. Wonder if we should sue? Nah, all the cities money is going to pay for the wonderful choice the citizens made for the former DA.

  • Doctor Dataclerk Jul 28, 2008

    You might have made a fool of your selves.

  • Adelinthe Jul 28, 2008

    Why don't they go after the city officials or the consultant who's information the city officials based their invitation to Parton on?

    God bless.

    Rev. RB

  • inspectacar2 Jul 28, 2008

    all this bad press and no one will ever make this thing work. without all this bad press it would take years to make money anyway. rr needs to work together.