HAMLET — An executive for the Foundation for The Carolinas said Friday that political debates like the one surrounding two grant applications from Hamlet ultimately could keep charity money from flowing into the town.
“It’s hard when you try to do good and you get weighed down by these petty issues,” said Brian Collier, executive vice president of the FFTC. “Everyone wants to walk away feeling good about the grants that they made, (but) when you get bogged down in side stories, it takes away from that.
“Maybe you … don’t want to look at that community again.”
Collier was responding to a story in Friday’s edition of the Richmond County Daily Journal, in which Hamlet City Council member Jesse McQueen questioned the actions of fellow council member David Lindsey.
McQueen wondered whether Lindsey should have recused himself from a vote on submitting a grant application to pay for Hamlet playground equipment when he knew his wife, Kim, also was applying for a grant for the Seaboard Festival, of which she is president. The Lindseys own property on which the festival hopes to build a stage.
Collier said that the two grant applications went to different agencies represented by the FFTC, and both were declined — the Hamlet grant because the FFTC saw no reason to take responsibility for a project that should be paid for with taxpayer dollars. He did not state a reason for the loss of the Seaboard grant.
As for rumors that someone from Hamlet lobbied against the city’s grant application, Collier named Lindsey’s wife, Kim, as the mysterious “Hamlet citizen” alluded to in an exchange of emails among council members McQueen and Johnathan Buie, and City Manager Jonathan Blanton.
Kim Lindsey never called the FFTC, Collier said, and even if she had, representatives never would have talked to her. FFTC representatives don’t talk about grant applications with anyone but the grant applicants, he said.
McQueen and Kim Lindsey have been embroiled in a public kerfuffle since the Seaboard Festival board promised build a stage and deed it to the city, then withdrew the promise. No contract ever was signed, though the city had one drawn up, spending more than $600 in attorney fees.
Reach Christine Carroll at 910-817-2673.