Crooked Creek Course Costs Capture Calabria's Con

By Brent Woodcox

Whenever you see a government entity make a questionable land deal, you should always follow the money. That was my instinct after the 4-3 vote during Monday's Wake County commissioners' meeting to spend $23 million on a failed golf course in Fuquay-Varina.

Commissioner Matt Calabria, who voted in favor of moving forward with the project, said the opportunity was too good to pass up.

“No one’s going to wake up 10 years from now and realize we have too many parks all over the place,” Calabria said.

But Commissioner Jessica Holmes, who voted against the project, said the timing wasn’t right.

“Our role as county commissioners is to assess the needs of the county as a whole, and at this moment, there are much more pressing priorities than committing between $15 (million) and $23 million for another park,” she said. “It requires a certain level of privilege for an elected leader to put parks in the same category as basic human needs such as shelter, health care.”

County staff had recommended that Wake not pursue the project, estimated to cost about $23.4 million. Staff will now identify and propose a way to pay for it. Commissioners have talked about putting a bond referendum on the ballot next year.

The discussion at Monday’s four-and-a-half-hour meeting echoed the back-and-forth in the Raleigh mayoral race about spending priorities. In that race, challenger Charles Francis has accused three-term incumbent Mayor Nancy McFarlane of prioritizing the Dix Park project and other quality-of-life improvements at the expense of affordable housing and anti-poverty efforts.

Holmes said Monday it would be a “slap in the face” to the county’s affordable housing efforts to not pursue the site as a potential site for housing for low-income residents. ...
— Henry Gargan - N&O

If Matt Calabria, who lives in Fuquay-Varina, thought it was a deal "too good to pass up," what could make him think that?

First, I thought, check the campaign finance reports. And I did find a few donations from people who live in and around the former golf course and who stand to benefit from the land being turned into a new 143-acre county park.

In Calabria's October 2014 campaign finance report...

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In Calabria's November 2014 campaign finance report...

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In Calabria's July 2017 campaign finance report...

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All of these contributors live within 2.5 miles of the failed course turned county park.

But you know who lives even closer?

Matt Calabria.

Matt Calabria's home is less than 1.5 miles from the county's new $23 million toy.

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For Calabria not to disclose that fact when he lives within easy walking distance of this new proposed park is corrupt. He obviously stands to increase his property value at the expense of taxpayers.

Calabria should have recused himself from the vote rather than leading the charge to make this unnecessary purchase.

It would be cheaper for Wake County taxpayers if Calabria would just put their money directly into his pocket rather than funnel it through a park purchase designed to enrich himself and his campaign contributors.

Brent Woodcox