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City files lawsuit against rodeo

By BRAD KELLAR

Herald-Banner Staff

Published: December 22, 2008

GREENVILLE — The attorney for the City of Greenville has filed a lawsuit against a North Texas professional rodeo, even though a former official of the organization attempted to provide paperwork detailing how the rodeo spent the city’s tourism dollars.

Brent Money said he had filed the suit Friday morning, even though the former treasurer for the Pro Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) North East Texas Stampede Rodeo appeared before the City Council during a special session last Thursday night.

“I did not know they were coming to the meeting,” Money said, adding that even though Sandra Salley handed in a folder of documentation at the meeting, “What they provided for us is not what is required under the contract.”

The City of Greenville charges a tax of 7 percent on each night’s stay in a local hotel or motel room and then divides the money among the various groups which have applied for the funds. The events they sponsor must enhance and promote tourism and the convention and hotel industry in Greenville. The applications are reviewed by the Tourism and Convention Advisory Board, then the Board’s recommendations are presented to the City Council, which has the final say as to what is eventually included in the annual city budget.

The rodeo received $10,000 in funding this past year and in May hosted the seventh annual rodeo in the arena at the Hunt County Fairgrounds. Under the contract, the rodeo is required to provide either an audit or a copy of a similar form filed with the Internal Revenue Service. Money has said what the rodeo had earlier submitted had numerous problems and that the IRS had not received any report.

Salley told the Council Thursday she had not been involved with the rodeo this last year, but when she learned about the potential lawsuit she attempted to obtain what the city was seeking.

“I compiled it and put it all together,” Salley said, adding the current official with the rodeo had been undergoing a series of personal difficulties.

“Hopefully, this will take care of this matter,” Salley said. “I’m terribly sorry this has taken this long.”

But Money said what was turned in, which he described as a spreadsheet of expenses, was insufficient.

“There is no verification for any of this,” Money said. “I really don’t know what it is, to tell you the truth.”

Money said he appreciated Salley attempting to make good, but the city would need additional documentation in order to be satisfied.

“Hopefully we can work this out,” Money said. “But as of now, it is not over yet.”