Local News

Councilman: People Have 'Right to Know’ About Theater

Posted November 16, 2007 6:53 p.m. EST
Updated November 16, 2007 9:25 p.m. EST

— For the first time, a city official in Roanoke Rapids has spoken out against how the city has handled its contract negotiations with the Randy Parton Theatre.

City Councilman Jon Baker said the city should be more open with the public about the theater, which the city borrowed $21 million to build.

Baker released the following statement: “While I understand the sensitive nature of ongoing negotiations, I also feel a duty to the people I represent when decisions of this magnitude are being made. Full disclosure and transparency is what this community needs. The people have a right to know."

Mayor Drewery Beale said council members' hands were tied with current negotiations.

“There’s not a member of this council that would not like to go ahead and get this matter cleared up,” Beale said.

Beale said the city can't legally discuss the negotiations in public. Many are disappointed the city won't say more.

The local newspaper also criticized the city in an editorial saying the council signed a sweetheart contract with Randy Parton. The paper also wants the city to disclose more information.

The mayor said he recognizes a lot of people are upset but said the council has the community's best interests at heart.

Under the state's public records law, WRAL requested all e-mail between city leaders dealing with the Randy Parton Theater. City officials said they were compiling those messages.

As for the new contract with the theater, it could be released during Tuesday's city council meeting.