Another Impossible Rocky Mount Housing Situation -Grant Money

Many of you will remember when Lindell Kay was writing for The Rocky Mount Telegram. I credit his articles about the City Council and City Management as the beginning of a new day for Main Street and beyond. His articles gave people courage to stop talking in a whisper behind their hand.

The Council, when questioned or criticized, cry racism. This worked for a long time to silence critics. Mr. Kay’s articles emboldened the public to speak up about the reality of what was being done unto them. You need go no further than the housing in Wards 1-4 to recognize that those who work the system found there is no money to be made in saving the likes of shotguns and bungalows for their constituents. Am I saying never, I am not, but in the Wards with long sitting councilman, twenty plus years, was enough time to prevent the state of things today.

After Mr. Kay dared to expose the mismanagement of the city, an amazing group of young people came home, entrepreneurs listened to people like John Jesso, who was courting investors to Rocky Mount. Without Ben Braddock, Jesse Gerstl, Troy White, Troy Davis and OTHERS, where would we be? They are the Repairers of the Breach.

A great deal of hard work has taken place. People are taking a chance on building a future in Rocky Mount. They have invested money, talent, and determination, which is paying off. Those born and raised here, their memories, their family owned businesses, their leadership and financial support, it couldn’t be done without them.

This is a critical time when a lot of money is at risk left in the hands of those who never tell you where the grant money is spent or other significant details that would expose their dealings. We owe Mr. Kay our gratitude for continuing to write about Rocky Mount. I hope you will take the time to read his article printed below.

All people deserve dignity, safety, a home and neighborhood free of crime. The condition of our housing has nothing to do with racism but involves the so-called leadership that works the system for personal gain. With so much on the line, so much good that can be accomplished, saving the available housing is now.

Lindell J. Kay | Enterprise
Posted on January 20, 2022
Updated on January 21, 2022

Headline:

A convicted felon who owes back taxes, the owner of this house at 824 Star Street is set to receive a $25,000 grant from the city of Rocky Mount.


ROCKY MOUNT — The City Council is giving a $25,000 housing grant to property owners convicted of several drug counts and who owe thousands of dollars in back taxes.

Federal authorities are investigating city officials for similar situations to the housing grants, according to current and former city employees who have been interviewed by agents but have asked to remain anonymous because of the nature of the case and they’re not approved to speak publicly about the matter.

Councilman Andre Knight said at a Jan. 10 meeting that housing grant fund recipients have all been carefully evaluated. “This is not just free money that’s being thrown around or passed around,” Knight said. “The money goes to organizations that are vetted through our staff.”

The council on Jan. 10 approved $805,000 to be given to 11 organizations under its Housing Incentive Grants.

The Enterprise emailed questions about Triple CEE to city spokesman Kirk Brown. He said with the inclement weather, he would be unable to find answers until next week. Attempts to reach the Puddy family by telephone were unsuccessful.

The Puddy brothers owe around $20,000 to the state in back taxes, according to the N.C. Department of Revenue.

Carvel Puddy was convicted in 2015 of possession of Schedule IV drugs and maintaining a place for a controlled substance, according to the N.C. Department of Public Safety. Most recently, Puddy was cited and released during a July 2020 narcotics operation. Authorities charged Puddy in 2019 with possession with intent to sell and distribute marijuana, felony possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Those charges have been dismissed along with seven pages of criminal counts including drug possession, resisting police and intimidating witnesses, over the past few years, according to records at the Nash County Courthouse in Nashville.
Anivel Puddy has a criminal conviction history that includes drug possession, breaking and entering and tampering with an electronic monitoring device.
Knight contacted The Enterprise after online publication of this story to say the Puddy properties wouldn’t be funded.

“Grants not funded til requirements are met,” Knight said. “So this property would not be funded.” It wasn’t clear to which requirement Knight referred since the background of applicants would seem to be part of the vetting process and not part of the payout process.

Councilman Lige Daughtridge was the lone dissenting vote in the grant approvals.
“It’s not the first time I’ve voted no on these grants,” Daughtridge told The Enterprise on Thursday. Daughtridge said he doesn’t like the lack of proper vetting and that there’s no follow through audit to see how the grant money is actually spent. Daughtridge also raised concerns over some of the corporations that had requested funding had only recently been created.
One of the grant recipients, Around the Y Community Organization, purchased the property Dec. 22 for which it received a $100,000 grant.

Several city residents complained about the council’s grant selections at the Jan. 10 council meeting, calling the process shady, as first reported by Bill West who covers the city council for the Rocky Mount Telegram.
Adrienne Copland, who fixes up old buildings in the city, said she wasn’t happy about the situation.

Adrienne Copland

“So tonight, you’re going to vote on spending $805,000 more when you still can’t get the trash picked up and you can’t get crime under control and you won’t enforce codes and you won’t foreclose on tax liens,” Copland said. “Your job and your responsibilities are to everyone in the city, but you are derelict in your duties.”

Copeland said the council is picking winners because it’s giving them money that they will then use to make more money. In the meantime, 34 people were denied requests for help via the urgent repair program, 41 people were denied requests for help via the housing repair program and 22 were denied requests for help via the housing matching rebate program, Copeland said.

Samuel Battle, a resident who is frequently critical of the council, said it’s clear to him that the council is using the grants to repay friends of council and supporters.

Charles Roberson is a vocal supporter of the council. He is the agent behind multiple Delaware-registered corporations, owning vacant, undeveloped and deteriorating properties in and around downtown. He is receiving another consecutive grant through Grandma’s House in the amount of $175,000.

City Manager Rochelle Small-Toney announced today that she is stepping down in February. The city’s chief executive since July 2017, Small-Toney received scrutiny in a scathing 2020 state audit for spending taxpayer dollars.

2 thoughts on “Another Impossible Rocky Mount Housing Situation -Grant Money

  1. WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    What more do you need to know Rocky Mount?
    Clean house!
    “Stupid is as stupid does.” Sums it up pretty well.

    Like

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