Richmond City Audits Local Tea Party After Standoff with Mayor

Two weeks after the Richmond Tea Party delivered an invoice to Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones for costs incurred for previous rallies, we received a letter from the City of Richmond formally stating that the city is auditing our Tea Party. Coincidence? This audit is an obvious attempt to intimidate and harass us for standing up against the unfair treatment and discrimination against our Tea Party.

First some back story: as reported on the front page of the Richmond Times Dispatch, the Richmond Tea Party delivered an invoice for charges incurred in our previous three Tax Day rallies at Kanawha Plaza because Mayor Jones chose to allow Occupy Richmond protesters to convene in the same park for two weeks.

The Mayor not only allowed the Occupiers to break the law, but he visited them in the city-owned park. “Jones said that as a ‘child of civil rights’ and protests, he had allowed the group to remain in the park but understands his mayoral responsibility to uphold laws of the city,” reported the Richmond Times Dispatch.

Apparently his mayoral duties included preferential treatment for a group he sympathizes with ideologically at the expense of the taxpayers.

The blog Virginia Right reported that the city provided services such as portable toilets, trash pickup, etc. The incomplete invoices obtained from the city totaled $7,000. This was only a portion of the actual costs to taxpayers because the costs of police, helicopter and incarcerations were not included. Also not accounted for was the 24-hour police protection of the Mayor’s home after the Occupiers moved their camp next door to the Mayor’s house. The Richmond Tea Party, conversely, paid for all services for our rallies, including the police, portable toilets, park fees and permits, amounting to approximately $8,500.

Our actions apparently struck a nerve. Our invoice to the Mayor was covered by hundreds of news outlets, including the AP, Richmond Times Dispatch, Baltimore Sun, and the Washington Post. On October 31, I appeared on Fox Business, Neil Cavuto’s show, and was interviewed about our actions. Reportedly, at least two Richmond City Council members agreed with our plight. “I guess we’ll be writing a check to the Tea Party people,” said Councilman Bruce W. Tyler, as quoted in the Richmond Times Dispatch. “You can’t treat one group different from the other. It’s unfair.”

Read more here.

Tea Party to Mayor: Make ‘Occupy Richmond’ Pay Up

The Richmond Tea Party is accusing Mayor Dwight Jones of taking a soft stance against the “Occupy Richmond” protesters and is demanding that the group pay up.

After nearly three weeks of protests and overnight stays in Kanawha Plaza, the Richmond Tea Party is about to send Jones a bill for about $8,000 on the basis that “Occupy Richmond” has been using the area illegally and for free.

Richmond Tea Party spokeswoman Colleen Owens told CBS Washington that the protesters have been given special treatment and free reign of the park and have not had to comply with the strict liability and security provisions that the city required of a Tea Party Tax Day in 2009.

As the person in charge of the 2009 event, Owens said Richmond officials dictated the number of police and emergency personnel they were required to have on site and required a $1 million liability policy to protect the city. Owens said that when a Tea Party member decided to call the mayor’s office to see if the protesters had required any of the necessary permits for the park, the city said that “Occupy Richmond” didn’t have any requirements for them to protest and stay overnight in Kanawha Plaza.

Read more here.