WNC Citizens Blog

Would you attend this fundraiser?

The following story was posted by contibutor Don Yelton to a Yahoo! Group, I copied and pasted it here:
Wilson Daily

Wilson, NC
Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Rally for Frank Ballance will help pay off some legal bills


By Alex Keown

Daily Times Staff Writer

Supporters of former U.S. Rep. Frank Ballance are rallying Wednesday to raise money to help pay off legal bills the former congressman has incurred.

This will be the second rally in a month honoring Ballance, who is scheduled to report to prison Friday. The event, called a "People's Freedom Rally," will be at the Roanoke River Community Center in Roanoke Rapids.

Ballance, a one-term congressman and 20-year member of the General Assembly, was sentenced to four years in federal prison in October for misusing $100,000 in public money over nearly a decade. A federal judge also sentenced him to spend two years on supervised release plus pay $61,000 in restitution and a $10,000 fine.

Gary Grant, an organizer of the rally, said organizers are hoping donations given at the rally will help alleviate some of the financial burden on Ballance. Plus, Grant said his supporters don't want to let "all the good the congressman has done be tainted by the court rulings."

"He was the first congressman who brought money into the African-American community as a state legislator," Grant said. "Even though the press tried to demonize him, they never talked about the good he did. If the press doesn't publish bad news, nobody would want to read the paper."

Grant said subsidizing the John A. Hyman Memorial Foundation helped many people "pull themselves out of the mire" and helped people with drug problems.

Ballance, who was chairman of the foundation, pleaded guilty to taking more than $100,000 in state money for personal use.

Grant said organizers of the rally know Ballance broke the law when he misappropriated state funds, but they don't want to "destroy the good he did" in eastern North Carolina.

Ballance is expected to report for his four-year prison term at the end of this week; however, he could be called to report early.

Grant said they hope Ballance won't be ordered to prison before the rally. If that happens, he said organizers will still hold the event.

Grant said he hopes 200-300 people will attend, including N.C. Sen. Robert Holloman, D-Hertford, who took over Ballance's seat in the General Assembly, and former U.S. Rep. Eva Clayton, Butterfield's predecessor in Congress and a personal friend.

U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield, a Wilson Democrat, who succeeded Ballance in Congress, also is expected to attend. However, Butterfield said Monday that he's not planning to be there.

"You've got some bad information there," Butterfield said.

Ballance couldn't be reached for comment.

alexjk@wilsondaily.com | 265-7847

Copyright ©, The Wilson Daily Times, Wilson, North Carolina

Don Yelton


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