WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – Americans for Prosperity, a national group that promotes cutting taxes and decreasing government spending, is working to keep city council from spending taxpayer money on a baseball stadium.
That's why hundreds of Wilmington citizens have gotten calls from the group. The call is an automated recording, which is also known as a robocall.
On it, Chris Farr from Americans for Prosperity states, "Did you know the Wilmington City Council is considering spending around $40 million to build a baseball stadium for out-of-state baseball team owners? This would result in another tax increase—a massive one. Do you think the city should vote to spend the taxpayers' money on a baseball stadium?"
Then, the call prompts you to press #1 if you want to speak to a member of council. From there, you are connected to a councilmember or Mayor Bill Saffo's office.
Councilman Kevin O'Grady said his phone has been ringing.
"I had some very nice conversations with a few of them," he said. "We disagreed sometimes but usually by the end of the conversation, we agreed to have an open mind."
The robocall even rang O'Grady at his home, asking him to press #1 to talk to a member of council.
"What do you know, they were asking me if I was dissatisfied," he said. "That's when I got disturbed with it because there was a level of advocacy in the call which I would say is fairly misleading."
The robocall states that building the ballpark would require a "massive" tax increase.
O'Grady said council does not yet know how much city or public funding will be used to fund the potential ballpark.
"They painted the biggest horror you could think of and said, ‘Aren't you against this.'" O'Grady said.
Meantime, Americans for Prosperity is taking issue with a statement made by O'Grady at Tuesday's council meeting.
O'Grady commented that he has not seen AFP protesting plans for a baseball stadium in Charlotte.
In response, Farr wrote in an email, "If Mr. O'Grady was intimating that AFP supports taxpayer funding for the Charlotte stadium, he pulled that out of thin air. It is simply false. We are against taxpayer funding for baseball stadiums. Since Mr. O'Grady raised the topic, though, I hear that the City of Charlotte is considering $8 million of tax dollars for their stadium." Farr went on to write, "It pales in comparison to the $40 million the Wilmington City Council is asking the taxpayers of a much-smaller city of Wilmington to fork over."
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