by Harry Painter
Reporter, Pope Center
Through no fault of her own, maybe, singer/actress Liza Minnelli is at the center of a public records dispute in North Carolina. She, along with the North Carolina Symphony, is the inaugural performer at Cape Fear Community College’s $41 million Humanities and Fine Arts Center, brought to us by the taxpayers. Yet when local station WECT asked for the contracts for all the center’s performances, the center’s director said he was unable to divulge that information.
“In terms of her cost, we are unable to release those details, because it’s a confidential agreement between her and her agency and at this point we are not allowed to talk about it,” director Shane Fernando told WECT.
The college says that ticket sales and sponsorships are paying for the performance, not state funds, but an expert at the UNC School of Government says the law requires Cape Fear to release the figures.
Tickets are $225, so if sales and sponsorship don’t cover the price for bringing Minnelli to Wilmington, the college must have spent an exorbitant amount. Could this be a reason Cape Fear is resisting a perfectly standard public records request?