Nearly five months since the last confetti fell at the Democratic National Convention – and two years after Charlotte won the event – the host committee still owes $10 million.
Reports filed Thursday with the Federal Election Commission show the committee, charged with raising money for the convention, received just a half-dozen contributions totaling $345,000 over the last three months of the year.
“We’ve actually had more money come in so there’s been some more activity and we’re continuing to work on it,” said Dan Murrey, the committee’s former executive director.
Friday marks the two-year anniversary of the announcement awarding Charlotte the convention.
Murrey said the committee drew down the full $10 million line of credit guaranteed by Duke Energy Corp. Duke’s chief executive, Jim Rogers, co-chaired the committee.
The line of credit comes due at the end of February. Earlier this month Rogers suggested Duke shareholders might have to eat the $10 million loan.
“We’ll see how that goes,” Rogers told the Observer in mid-January. “At the end of the day we’ll do our best to get our money back. But if we don’t, it’s just a contribution we’re making, I think, for the greater good of our community.”
According to city officials, Charlotte already benefited from the DNC.
This week a consultant said the convention injected $91 million in new spending into the local economy, with a total economic impact of nearly $164 million. City and tourism officials called the DNC the city’s largest and most lucrative convention.
The host committee fell millions of dollars short of the original goal of $36.6 million called for in a contract with the Democratic National Convention Committee. Organizers said that goal was subsequently lowered through various cost savings.
Convention organizers created a separate fund called New American City. While the host committee is contractually obligated to accept no corporate money, New American City – another fundraising vehicle for the convention – is under no similar prohibition.
New American City has outstanding loans totaling $1 million, while the host committee itself has outstanding loans of $9 million.
At the end of December, the host committee still owed vendors more than $1 million.
That included $37,000 to the city of Charlotte for the Convention Center and $47,000 to Centerstaging, a company that provided musical productions. The biggest outstanding obligation is to Maryland-based Hargrove Inc., the convention’s exposition and event services provider. It was owed more than $985,000.
Murrey said those debts have since been paid.
“We satisfied our obligations at this point,” he said.
Murrey said he’s unsure what will happen to fundraising efforts after the line of credit comes due. In the meantime, he said, “We’re still trying to raise the money.
“We still have some way to go with it and we’ll work until the end to do that,” he said. “We’re happy about the economic returns that it brought to the city – and certainly think it was worth it.”
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