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Greensboro City Council campaign finance dissected

by Jordan Green

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Not with standing a housing market collapse that inflicted a beating on Triad developers between the municipal elections of 2007 and 2009 in Greensboro, members of the real estate industry have consistently contributed one out of every three dollars received by victorious city council candidates.

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And while the total amount of money raised by candidates dropped significantly from 2007 to 2009, donors employed by companies that are represented by the Triad Real Estate and Building Industries Coalition, or TREBIC, have maintained consistent giving levels and their share has increased from 12 percent to 21 percent.

Candidates who won races for city council in 2009 raised varying amounts of money and relied on different patterns of fundraising to pay for their campaigns. Bill Knight led fundraising, with $29,596, although he still raised far less than his vanquished opponent, Yvonne Johnson. At the other end of the spectrum, Dianne Bellamy-Small raised less than $1,000, the level at which reporting is required.

Knight proved successful at raising money from retirees. Contributions to the campaigns of Trudy Wade and Jim Kee, who respectively won their races in districts 5 and 2, were dominated by real estate interests. Danny Thompson, who won an at-large seat, contributed about half of the modest total to finance his campaign. Zack Matheny’s top contributor is Bell Partners, the property management company where he is employed. Two out of five dollars raised by Mary Rakestraw came from her husband, Frank, an employee of apparel company VF Corp.

Keith Brown and George Hartzman contributed research to this project.

2009 election cycle

Total amount raised by victorious candidates for Greensboro City Council in the 2009 election cycle: $142,471

Top contributors, by sector 1. Real estate-development — $47,530 (33 percent) 2. Unidentified — $32,024 (20 percent) 3. Sales — $8,500 (6 percent) 4. Lawyers and law firms — $7,119 (5 percent) 5. Healthcare — $7,000 (5 percent) 6. Other — $41,548 (29 percent)

Top contributors, by employer 1. Kotis Properties (TREBIC) — $6,750 (5 percent) 2. Signature Property Group (TREBIC) — $4,600 (3 percent) 3. Harley-Davidson of Greensboro — $4,500 (3 percent) 4. Koury Corp. (TREBIC) — $3,600 (3 percent) 5. VF Corp. — $3,550 (3 percent) 6. Other — $138,768 (86 percent)

Top Contributors, PACs 1. NC Realtors PAC — $3,250 2. Greensboro Landlords Association — $1,600 3. Elect Mike Barber — $892 4. Triad Good Government PAC — $700

Amount of money received by victorious candidates to city council in 2009 from contributors whose income is derived from companies represented by TREBIC: $28,120 (20 percent)

2007 election cycle

Total amount raised by victorious candidates for Greensboro City Council in the 2007 election cycle: $251,717

Top contributors, by sector 1. Real estate-development — $88,441 (35 percent) 2. Unidentified — $55,146 (30 percent) 3. Lawyers and law firms — $19,855 (8 percent) 4. Banking and finance — $14,360 (6 percent) 5. Education — $13,354 (5 percent) 6. Other — $60,561 (24 percent)

Top contributors, by employer 1. Granville Capital — $8,200 (3 percent) 2. Carroll Cos. — $6,265 (3 percent) 3. Mega Builders — $6,000 (2 percent) 4. Koury Corp. — $4,900 (2 percent) 5. Other — $226,352 (90 percent)

Top Contributors, PACs 1. North Carolinians for Leadership in Government — $5,965 2. NC Realtors PAC (NC Realtors Association) — $5,500 3. Drive Committee (Teamsters) — $2,500 4. Triad Good Government PAC — $1,900

5. Skenes for City Council — $484 6. Build PAC (NC Homebuilders Association) — $450 7. Wakeup Republican Women’s Club — $200 8. Committee to Elect Kay Cashion — $100 Amount of money received by victorious candidates to city council in 2009 from contributors whose income is derived from companies represented by TREBIC: $30,421 (12 percent)

2009 victors

Highest amount raised:

1. Mayor Bill Knight — $29,596 2. Zack Matheny (District 3) — $23,960 3. Mayor Pro Tem Nancy Vaughan — $23,949 4. Robbie Perkins (at large) — $21,230 5. Trudy Wade (District 5) — $19,670 6. Jim Kee (District 2) — $10,065 7. Mary Rakestraw (District 4) — $9,190 8. Danny Thompson (at large) — $4,810 9. Dianne Bellamy-Small (District 1) — >$1,000

Most real estate-dependent:

1. Trudy Wade, District 5 — 64 percent 2. Jim Kee, District 2 — 53 percent 3. Robbie Perkins, at large — 46 percent 4. Zack Matheny, District 3 — 41 percent 5. Mary Rakestraw, District 4 — 23 percent 6. Mayor Pro Tem Nancy Vaughan — 20 percent 7. Danny Thompson, at large — 19 percent 8. Mayor Bill Knight — 9 percent

Most TREBIC-dependent 1. Trudy Wade, District 5 — 50 percent 2. Jim Kee, District 2 — 44 percent 3. Robbie Perkins, at large — 27 percent 4. Zack Matheny — 23 percent 5. Mayor Pro Tem Nancy Vaughan — 17 percent 6. Mary Rakestraw — 15 percent 7. Mayor Bill Knight — 6 percent 8. Danny Thompson — 4 percent

Most diversified donor base:

1. Mayor Pro Tem Nancy Vaughan 2. Mayor Bill Knight 3. Zack Matheny, District 3 4. Robbie Perkins, at large 5. Jim Kee, District 2 6. Trudy Wade, District 5 7. Mary Rakestraw, District 4 8. Danny Thompson, at large

Most complete reporting:

1. Trudy Wade, District 5 —95 percent 2. Jim Kee, District 2 — 90 percent 3. Zack Matheny, District 3 — 88 percent 4. Robbie Perkins, at large — 85 percent 5. Mayor Pro Tem Nancy Vaughan — 80 percent 6. Mary Rakestraw, District 4 — 79 percent 7. Danny Thompson, at large — 67 percent 8. Mayor Bill Knight — 49 percent

Bill Knight

Total amount of money raised by Mayor Bill Knight in 2009 election cycle: $29,596

Top contributors, by sector

1. Unidentified — $15,161 (51 percent) 2. Real estate-development — $2,550 (9 percent) 3. Lawyers and law firms — $2,194 (7 percent) 4. Other — $9,691 (33 percent)

Top contributors, by employer 1. Battleground Restaurant Group — $1,742 (6 percent) 2. DH Griffin Wrecking Co. — $1,000 (3 percent) 3. [3-7] Alliance Urology — $500 (2 percent) 4. [3-7] American Industrial Contractor — $500 (2 percent) 5. [3-7] Joseph Guarino, physician — $500 (2 percent) 6. [3-7] Roberts & Dennis Insurance Group — $500 (2 percent) 7. [3-7] Signature Properties (TREBIC) — $500 (2 percent) 8. Other — $24,354 (82 percent)

Top Contributors, PACs 1. Greensboro Landlords Association — $350 2. Elect Mike Barber — $302 3. Committee to Elect Joe Wilson — $150

Amount of money received by Knight from contributors whose income is derived from companies represented by TREBIC: $1,900 (6 percent)

Nancy Vaughan

Total amount of money raised by Mayor Pro Tem Nancy Vaughan in 2009 election cycle: $23,949

Top contributors, by sector 1. Real estate-development — $4,775 (20 percent) 2. Unidentified — $4,671 (20 percent) 3. Sports management/marketing — $3,003 (13 percent) 4. Other — $11,500 (48 percent)


Top contributors, by employer 1. ISP Sports — $1,600 (7 percent) 2. [2-3] Key Resources — $1,000 (4 percent) 3. [2-3] Kotis Properties (TREBIC) — $1,000 (4 percent) 4. Other — $20,349 (85 percent)

Top Contributors, PACs 1. Triad Good Government PAC — $200 2. Elect Mike Barber — $100

Amount of money received by Vaughan in 2009 from contributors whose income is derived from companies represented by TREBIC: $4,150 (17 percent)

Robbie Perkins

Total amount of money raised by Robbie Perkins (at large) in 2009 election cycle: $21,230

Top contributors, by sector 1. Real estate-development — $9,705 (46 percent) 2. Unidentified — $3,100 (15 percent) 3. Banking and finance — $1,915 (9 percent) 4. Other — $6,510 (31 percent)

Top contributors, by employer 1. [1-2] Bank of America — $1,000 (5 percent) 2. [1-2] Kotis Properties (TREBIC) — $1,000 (5 percent) 3. Bell Partners — $750 (4 percent) 4. Other — $18,480 (87 percent)

Top Contributors, PACs 1. NC Realtors PAC — $1,500 2. Triad Good Government PAC — $300 3. Greensboro Landlords Association — $100

Amount of money received from contributors whose income is derived from companies represented by TREBIC: $5,645 (27 percent)

Danny Thompson

Total amount of money raised by Danny Thompson (at large) in 2009 election cycle: $4,810

Top contributors, by sector 1. Personal care — $2,200 (46 percent) 2. Unidentified — $1,610 (33 percent) 3. Real estate-development — $900 (19 percent) 4. Demolition — $100 (2 percent)

Top contributors, by employer 1. Comfort Keepers — $2,200 (46 percent) 2. Essa Properties — $300 (6 percent) 3. DH Griffin Wrecking Co. — $100 (2 percent) 4. Other — $2,210 (46 percent)

Top Contributors, PACs 1. NC Realtors PAC — $500 2. Greensboro Landlords Association — $100

Amount of money received by Thompson from contributors whose income is derived from companies represented by TREBIC: $200 (4 percent)

Jim Kee

Total amount of money raised by Jim Kee (District 2) in 2009 election cycle: $10,065

Top contributors, by sector 1. Real estate-development — $5,350 (53 percent) 2. Unidentified — $977 (10 percent) 3. Education — $718 (7 percent) 4. Other — $3,020 (30 percent)

Top contributors, by employer 1. Kotis Properties (TREBIC) — $2,500 (25 percent) 2. NAI Piedmont Triad (TREBIC) — $1,250 (12 percent) 3. One Step Further — $520 (5 percent) 4. Other — $5,795 (58 percent)

Top Contributors, PACs 1. NC Realtors PAC — $500 2. Citizens for Goldie Wells — $300 3. Greensboro Landlords Association — $100

Amount of money received by Kee from contributors whose income is derived from companies represented by TREBIC: $4,400 (44 percent)

Zach Matheny

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Total amount of money raised by Zack Matheny (District 3) in 2009 election cycle: $23,960

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Top contributors, by sector 1. Real estate-development — $9,725 (41 percent) 2. Unidentified — $2,785 (12 percent) 3. Banking and finance — $2,250 (9 percent) 4. Other — $9,200 (38 percent)

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Top contributors, by employer 1. Bell Partners — $1,450 (6 percent) 2. Granville Capital — $1,000 (4 percent) 3. Kotis Properties (TREBIC) — $1,000 (4 percent) 4. Other — $20,510 (86 percent)

Top Contributors, PACs 1. [1-2] Greensboro Landlords Association — $250 2. [1-2] NC Realtors PAC — $250 3. Triad Good Government PAC — $100

Amount of money received by Matheny from contributors whose income is derived from companies represented by TREBIC: $5,425 (23 percent)

Mary Rakestraw

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Total amount of money raised by Mary Rakestraw (District 4) in 2009 election cycle: $9,190

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Top contributors, by sector 1. Textiles and apparel — $3,650 (40 percent) 2. Real estate-development — $2,150 (23 percent) 3. Unidentified — $1,945 (21 percent) 4. Other — $1445 (16 percent)

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Top contributors, by employer 1. VF Corp. — $3,550 (39 percent) 2. [2-3] Koury Corp. (TREBIC) — $500 (5 percent) 3. [2-3] Signature Realty Group — $500 (5 percent) 5. Other — $4,640 (50 percent)

Top Contributors, PACs 1. Greensboro Landlords Association — $350 2. Elect Mike Barber — $245

Amount of money received by Rakestraw from contributors whose income is derived from companies represented by TREBIC: $1,350 (15 percent)

Trudy Wade

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Total amount of money raised by Trudy Wade (District 5) in 2009 election cycle: $19,670

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Top contributors, by sector 1. Real estate-development — $12,525 (64 percent) 2. Sales — $4,350 (22 percent) 3. Unidentified — $1,000 (5 percent) 4. Other — $1,795 (19 percent)

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Top contributors, by employer 1. Harley-Davidson of Greensboro — $4,000 (20 percent) 2. Signature Realty Group (TREBIC) — $2,250 (11 percent) 3. Mega Builders — $1,750 (9 percent) 4. Other – $11,670 (59 percent)

Top Contributors, PACs 1. Greensboro Landlords Association — $350 2. NC Realtors PAC — $250 3. Elect Mike Barber — $245

Amount of money received by Wade from contributors whose income is derived from companies represented by TREBIC: $9,845 (50 percent)

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