This site is about the overreaching political power of the NC Association of Realtors flush with money from cashing in your equity 6% at a time, leaving you to pay for growth with property taxes, year after year, with or without cash flow. In the last few years NCAR has pumped millions of dollars into NC political campaigns at the state and local level. They have spent millions more to defeat Local Options for Local Governments with misleading ads.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

NC Realtors Up The Ante

The North Carolina Association of Realtors filed a lobbying expense report May 14th that shows "Principal" lobbying expenses of $115,312.89 for the month of April. This does not include amounts paid to registered lobbyists which are reported separately. This brings the total amount of NCAR "Principal" lobbying expenses since January 1, 2007 to $366,115.16 spent mostly on a media campaign in opposition to proposed land transfer tax bills.

The April expenses include $18,561.31 for a "Legislative Reception" at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences on April 17th. The report describes 65 designated individuals attending with 3 immediate family members. Names of legislators are not listed though are not required to be.*(see below) The expense amounts to $272.96 per head.

The report also lists a $5,000 per month retainer to Public Solutions, Inc., the firm of Chris Sinclair who also runs the Triangle Community Coalition, an organization of builders, developers and realtors (formerly known as the Wake County Real Estate and Building Coalition) which is also actively opposed to local government funding option bills that include a land transfer tax for schools and infrastructure.

Public Solutions' other clients include Craig Davis Properties, a company heavily involved in South Carolina public-private partnerships, a construction project delivery method heavily promoted by the Triangle Community Coalition particularly for school building.

An amount of $10,000 is listed as "Contribution to Save Our Summers grassroot effort" at the address of the North Carolina Hotel & Motel Association which provides administrative support to the organization. Save Our Summers has been active in Wake County in opposing mandatory year-round schools and year-round school conversions and has been openly critical of the Wake County Board of Education which is struggling to accommodate phenomenal growth in the student population.

* NC Lobbying Laws include the following:

"When more than 15 designated individuals benefit from a reportable expenditure, no names of individuals need be reported provided that the report identifies the approximate number of designated individuals benefiting and the basis for their selection, including the name of the legislative body, committee, caucus, or other group whose membership list is a matter of public record in accordance with G.S. 132-1 or including a description of the group that clearly distinguishes its purpose or composition from the general membership of the General Assembly. The approximate number of immediate family members of designated individuals who benefited from the reportable expenditure shall be listed separately."
In the case of the Museum event NCAR did not correctly report "the basis for their selection" for the "designated individuals" who actually benefitted. The NC Realtors' report listed invited attendees as "all members of The NC General Assembly, Council of State, NC Supreme Court, NC Appeals Court." This blanket invitation approach circumvents the specificity required if 16 or more people show up. Looks like room for a tractor-trailer to drive through.

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