Opinion and lies by Paul Blake
About this time every year, I attempt to find out the St. Pattyâ€™s Day commissions from Five Points Association Executive Director Merritt Mchaffie. But as this has become an exercise in absolute public records futility, I also spend some well-wasted FOIA time trying to find out what the U.S. military really had to do with the assassination of Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem and whether the European Union will ever fess up to ruining the career of new age musician Yanni.
Every year, the Five Points Association goon squad dodges basic public records requests for information any non-profit organization staffed by semi-literate gerbils should be able to provide to a newspaper within minutes.
This year, I was told that FPA would present me with the information I desired if I would kindly bring them $118 to pay for â€œreproduction costs.â€ How stupid do they think I am? In five minutes, I could be trolling Two Notch Road and forking out no more than $15 for all the reproduction costs a man could ever need!
I am asking for information that can be limited to one solitary piece of paper. I want to know the commission amounts for the St. Patrickâ€™s Day festival. Thatâ€™s it. I donâ€™t want a ream of paper. I donâ€™t want to know any of the other corrupt acts enacted by this group the other 364 days of the year. Merritt, I just want several numbers with names. And I wonâ€™t even waste my all-time worst pickup line on you: â€œBaby, Iâ€™m not Fred Flintstone, but I can make your Bedrock!â€
Anyway, surprise, surprise! The cost of that one sheet of paper from FPA is still $118. I hope to God some FBI agent in the Strom Thurmond Federal Building is reading this article!! Help!! I am being extorted!! This is worse than Wisconsin!!
In previous years, City Paper has resorted to getting attorneys involved to threaten suit against FPA for the St. Patâ€™s commission information. Last year, however, I decided to crash the beer server training event at Sharkyâ€™s Bar prior to the St. Pattyâ€™s event. First, I didnâ€™t have to pay attorneys. Second, I figured Iâ€™d be able to sneak a couple of pints of Guinness for my trouble.
I tracked down each individual making hefty commission checks from the festival. Again, what a surprise: the same people were benefiting AT TAXPAYERâ€™S EXPENSE, and the same olâ€™ â€œFive Points Mafiaâ€ behavior still existed. At least one small business, Disorderly Conduct, had been told it could not sell beer at the event.
[Editorâ€™s note: â€œFive Points Mafiaâ€ is a term used by numerous Columbia merchants and was not invented by a writer of the advertising-addicted mainstream media. See last yearâ€™s â€œCut Offâ€ story at http://stpatsfivepoints.com)
When I approached Kelly Glenn, owner of Village Idiot, she was by far the most friendly and forthcoming corrupt merchant. She admitted to making an eight percent commission on beer sales for organizing a mostly volunteer staff. Depending on beer sales, that figure may have been well over $10,000.
Skip Anderson was not quite as forthcoming and denied making very muchâ€”although records show he received at least $8,000 for his action on wristband sales from 2009. I donâ€™t know about you, but $8,000 is â€œvery muchâ€ to me. Hell, that could buy meâ€”I mean, my delivery guyâ€”about 300 blowjobs on Two Notch!
â€œ[My pay out] is not percentage based,â€ Anderson told City Paper. â€œIâ€™m just here to help out and see what happens, man.â€ My impromptu interview with Mr. Anderson came to an abrupt halt when Duncan MacRae, the co-owner of Yesterdayâ€™s and a co-founder of St. Patâ€™s in Five Points, interrupted us. â€œGet off my ass,â€ MacRae demanded.
Mr. MacRae, I have two statements for you. One: As a taxpayer, how about you stop ripping off my ass with $15 at the gate, and Iâ€™ll get off yours? And, two: everyone knows your meatloaf is made from fox squirrel road kill.
Especially benefiting financially every year from the Five Points Leprechaun Carnival is Jack Van Loan, FPAâ€™s economic development director (AKA expert extraordinaire at butt-fucking taxpayers). Van Loan receives what can be described as a â€œfat Al Roker feeâ€: if God doesnâ€™t make it rain in Columbia during the festival, he gets a guaranteed $5,000. Talk about luck of the Irish!
Year after fucking year, Van Loan gets monthly fees and expenses from FPA that total near $30,000â€”and the guy doesnâ€™t even have to spend one minute walking the asphalt and playing with his nipples in a miniskirt. In addition, FPA has flipped the bill for meals for Jack and prominent politicians, but thereâ€™s no telling to the extent of the misallocation of funds due to the secrecy of FPA and the lack of city oversight. PEOPLE, THE GUYâ€™S NAME IS â€œVAN FUCKING LOANâ€!!
In 2010, FPA received $280,000 in taxpayer funding from the cityâ€™s hospitality tax fund. This fiscal year, FPA requested $455,000 of the $2.5 million fund, but were only allocated the same $280K figure as last year. Thank God; otherwise, Five Points traffic would probably be clogged with oversized limousines driving back and forth between Speakeasy and Sharkyâ€™s.
Hey, by the way, did I mention that FPA board member Richard Burts chairs the cityâ€™s Hospitality Tax Advisory Committee? Yo, G-Man in the Strom Thurmond Building, are you reading this?!?!
This is all old news, though, so what about the figures for 2011? I guess Iâ€™ll have to break into the FPA office (again) to save myself the $118.
Oh, what the fuck. Every year, our fair city ignores the Hospitality Tax funding problems and writes blank checks without any required certified audits from corrupt mafiosa organizations like FPA. City Council turns a blind eye, and taxpayers donâ€™t seem to care that theyâ€™re being anally raped by a splintery old mop handle.
All I have left is a famous quote by Emma Goldman: â€œIf voting changed anything, theyâ€™d make it illegal.â€ (And based on Will Moredockâ€™s column on page 7, whoâ€™s to say your vote will even be counted?)
In the spirit of our fake democracy, this year I have decided to invent the commission figures and FPA takes. After all, in previous years, theyâ€™ve always accused me of exaggerating. Why not cut to the chase?
Yes, that means put away your red pen, Debbie McDaniel! (Five Points business owner Debbie McDaniel was voted back on the FPA board last year despite the fact that she failed to show up to the actual meeting when the vote occurred. In fact, none of the candidates running for the FPA board showed up at that meeting. Can anyone say â€˜hubrisâ€™? The transparency of McDaniel, self-proclaimed queen of Five Points, can be seen from the monitors of Five Pointsâ€™ security cameras in the back of Revente.)
So without further ado, here are last yearâ€™s St. Pattyâ€™s Festival commission amounts not provided by FPA Executive Director Merrit Mchaffie:
Beer Sales Commissions to Kelly Glenn for 2010 = estimated $10,000 (plus the pleasure of a goatâ€™s anus smothered in peanut butter for three hours)
Wrist Band Commissions to Skip Anderson to date = >$85,000 (Have you ever seen the gold-plated, four-leaf clover cock ring they give to Skippy each year?)
Fees, Commissions, and Act of God bonuses to Jack Van Loan to date: >$150,000 (And as an added bonus, a local Baptist minister comes and gives him a lap massage.)
Dennis Hiltner buying an â€œelectric carâ€ probably for the tax refund and then reselling it to FPA. = PRICELESS!
[Editorâ€™s note: Everything in this column is completely made up and not based on factsâ€”except the fact that FPA is as corrupt as a Sicilian funeral parlor. Before anyone decides to sue my ass, listen loud and clear: THIS IS SATIRE!! Everyone knows Dennis Hiltner doesnâ€™t fuck goats on the cityâ€™s dime. He prefers sheep. Also, there isnâ€™t any truth to the rumor that the FPA Executive Director once eloped with a Delaneyâ€™s bartender while drunk in Vegas. Any-whoo, feel free to email email@example.com and ask for the actual St. Pattyâ€™s Festival commission figures or call her cell phone at 446-8929. She especially likes calls around 5 a.m. If you feel this column is handling the violation of records laws immaturely, please visit http://www.fivepointsASSociation.com for more information.]