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Free Taxpayer Dinner: Tux Required

By Greg L | 3 April 2012 | Manassas City | 39 Comments

If the City of Manassas is as budget-constrained as government officials are wont to tell us, one has to wonder why it bought a table for eight at the 2012 “Black and White Ball” for the Manassas Ballet Theater, and a table for ten at the Hylton fundraiser and is offering elected officials and senior city staff free attendance.  These are $100 per person black tie events.  Perhaps the budget is much more flush than we’ve been lead to believe.

I figure if senior staff and elected officials are getting free dinners at taxpayer expense, the taxpayers themselves ought to have a shot at this tremendous freebie.  They should get this invitation because they’re the ones paying for this, so in the spirit of economic equality and democracy here’s the information where you can reserve your own free seat one of these gala dinners for you and your spouse.  Times are tough, and we can all use a free meal.

Here’s the info being sent to selected senior officials in Manassas:

From: Kay Taylor
Sent: Tuesday, April 03, 2012 3:04 PM
To: Mayor and Council
Cc: John A. Budesky
Subject: City Tables at the Manassas Ballet Ball and the Hylton 2nd
Anniv. Gala - both on May 5, 2012

The City has purchased a table for 8 at the Manassas Ballet Ball on May
5, 2012, and a table for 10 at the Hylton Center’s 2nd Anniv. Gala on
May 5, 2012 (details attached). I am preparing the seating lists for
these events and need to know which event you would like to attend. I
also need to know if you are bringing your spouse or a guest with you.
Thank you.


Kay Taylor
City Manager’s Office

Taxpayer’s ought to reserve their seats for this publicly-funded charity event with Kay Taylor early. Really, if elected officials are being given free dinners at taxpayer expense, taxpayers themselves certainly ought to qualify.

You better call quick, as space is limited.  Make sure you tell Kay that BVBL sent ya.

The opinions expressed here are solely the views of the author, and not representative of the position of any organization, political party, doughnut shop, knitting guild, or waste recycling facility, but may be correctly attributed to the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy. If anything in the above article has offended you, please click here to receive an immediate apology.

BVBL is not a charity and your support is not tax-deductible.

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  1. Doug Brown said on 3 Apr 2012 at 11:40 pm:
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    […] iam pridem, ex quo suffragia nulli / uendimus, effudit curas; nam qui dabat olim / imperium, fasces, legiones, omnia, nunc se / continet atque duas tantum res anxius optat, / panem et ballet. […]
    (Juvenile, Satire 10.77–81)

    The ancient Romans had Bread and Circuses; modern day, sophisticated Manassasans have Bread and Ballets.

  2. Anonymous said on 4 Apr 2012 at 4:27 am:
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    Our city council members should see this as a conflict of interest. Once again the Manassas Ballet is the recipient of the tax payer largess.

    City council is paid a pittance so I don’t begrudge them some extras, but this is wrong. Also senior staff are well paid and should be able to pay their own way.

  3. Badger said on 4 Apr 2012 at 6:56 am:
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    Is is just the tip of the iceberg. Our City and County Governments apparently have no problem buying perks, special favors and influence at the Hylton Center and other groups at taxpayer expense. I’m guessing now that the Washington Post is watching PWC a bit closer, this will blow up one of these days… and a resignation or two will follow.

  4. Just the Facts said on 4 Apr 2012 at 7:03 am:
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    Mark Wolfe doesn’t even make any “non-profit” profit to support his ballet on the Ballet Ball. It’s nothing but a big party for the in-crowd in Manassas and PWC to enjoy themselves at the taxpayers’ expense.

    Look at page 23 of their latest Form 990 (tax return of organizations with non-profit status with the IRS):


    The last Ballet Ball raised $8,848, but they spent $12,721 on “non-cash prizes” whatever those were (I didn’t attend) and $4,925 on food and beverages, plus several other expenses. Altogether, Wolfe spent $11,449 more on the Ballet Ball than it raised, according to the Form 990.

    The PWC BOCS gives Wolfe about $60,000 annually, plus supervisor discretionary funds from at least Nohe and Covington. Manassas taxpayers get similarly scammed. We’re paying for their grand party, and for Wolfe to hire illegal aliens as was so well documented on BVBL and Virtucon not long ago.

    Do the PWC Board of Supervisors and the Manassas City Council really have so little shame as to keep sending our money to this group when the economy is still slow, people are under water on their mortgages and many still unemployed, and teachers haven’t had a raise?

  5. Just the Facts said on 4 Apr 2012 at 7:17 am:
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    Supporters of Manassas Ballet, the Hylton Center, and their annual taxpayer fleecing argue that these organizations and facilities help convince employers to locate here and facilitate job creation. That argument is completely bogus. In deciding on where to locate facilities, businesses look at three primary factors. First is taxes. What is the tax burden that will be imposed on them by locating in a jurisdiction? Second is transportation. Can they move their people, products, inputs, etc. easily at the location? Third, is there a nearby available workforce that can do the jobs they will create?

    Having an overpriced, heavily indebted ballet house and local cronies using taxpayer money for their personal entertainment works contrary to our ability to attract good jobs. The PWC BOCS and Manassas City Council should focus on keeping taxes low and educating our kids instead of pandering to nonsense like this with our tax money.

  6. SHAMEFUL said on 4 Apr 2012 at 8:34 am:
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    City teachers and the rank and file City staff are told NO NO NO to raises and in fact will be losing money due to a recent, poorly done PAY STUDY while the City elites drink and dance away late into night with my money, yes this does seem like ROME Mr. Brown!

    Well I remind City residents that we have a MUNICIPAL election in MANASSAS City on May 1 and you can VOTE THEM OUT with votes for Mr. Jerry Carman an Independent and Mr. Ian Lovejoy a Republican and put a stop to this nonsense. I am personally aware that Mr. Aveni brought this very issue up in last years budget as WRONG and he was told to SHUT UP by others on the Council!

    Sure, lets raise taxes to pay for this kind of NONSENSE!

  7. Doug Brown said on 4 Apr 2012 at 8:46 am:
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    Proposed new city promo campaign:

    Come to Manassas Where Kids, Councilmen, and School Board Members Eat Free!

    And starting this summer: “Everyone Eats Free!”

    (Disclaimer: This is not an endorsement of Kermit Dance for School Board, nor does it any way constitute material support for said candidate or his fellow cronies)

    Maybe we should rename Manassas ‘Panem’?

  8. Padre said on 4 Apr 2012 at 10:53 am:
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    Businesses also look at schools and rankings of schools where the employees’ kids will attend. The employees can always work in the city and live in the County.

    Each city person who attends should reimburse the City.

  9. Manassas Never said on 4 Apr 2012 at 11:07 am:
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    What is next for Manassas Next?

    A table for 10 at the Amethyst Women Abortion Clinic Dead Baby Ball?

    KKs Temptation Golf Fundraiser?

    FOIA time . . .

  10. Just the Facts said on 4 Apr 2012 at 11:08 am:
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    Padre - you are absolutely correct, but that’s part of having the available, qualified workforce. Businesses do not like to recruit outside their community unless they must. Quality schools help to ensure that those employees will be available now and in the future. Those employees and quality schools mean much more to a business than a ballet house or a local wannabe professional ballet that has learned how to pick taxpayers’ pockets.

    And as you wrote, the employees want to know that their kids will get a good education. That promotes longevity of employment, which is much better for a business than having to train new employees constantly.

    We’ve got our funding priorities all screwed up.

  11. Greg L said on 4 Apr 2012 at 12:48 pm:
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    On May 11th, the city council approved a $15,000 “discretionary fund” under the sole control of the City Manager, shifting $7,500 from the city council budget. Apparently the idea was to remove accountability from the council and put it on the City Manager’s shoulders with the understanding that the City Manager would use this money to do nice things for the councilmembers and “make an attempt to have Staff attend events.”

    They ought to just rename this fund as the “government official meals and entertainment plan.”

  12. Anonymous said on 4 Apr 2012 at 1:04 pm:
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    Mr. Wolfe is an embarrassment to Manassas City and the Manassas City Republican Party and he should resign or be asked to resign immediately.

  13. Badger said on 4 Apr 2012 at 2:24 pm:
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    @Manassas Never said, Where can I sign up for the KKs Temptation Golf Fundraiser? I would really like to participate in that one. I always enjoy a good foursome.

  14. Anonymous said on 4 Apr 2012 at 2:43 pm:
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    @ Greg L.

    Was the vote you mention unanimous?

  15. Greg L said on 4 Apr 2012 at 5:34 pm:
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    No. Marc Aveni cast the sole dissenting vote.

  16. Maureen said on 4 Apr 2012 at 6:00 pm:
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    The rupulucan party isn’t to blame here, it’s the Voters. There has been challengers but apparently the citizens want the status quo, as the same people are elected year after year.

    BTW- to ensure new people get elected DO NOT cast three votes.

  17. Maureen said on 4 Apr 2012 at 6:01 pm:
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    Oh boy! iPhone’s aren’t good to use when typing a comment. Sorry about the spelling.

  18. citizenofmanassas said on 4 Apr 2012 at 6:30 pm:
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    Don’t we need to vote for both Jerry Carman and Ian Lovjoy?

  19. occupy manassas said on 4 Apr 2012 at 7:04 pm:
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    told you so…

  20. Doug Brown said on 4 Apr 2012 at 8:02 pm:
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    The Rumpublican Party is to blame, oh sorry, the Droids AI program is taking over and inserting meaning based on massive data crunching which suggest the Party is either coming to an end or is an end part.

  21. Anonymous said on 4 Apr 2012 at 10:10 pm:
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    We know some of our Supervisors like to party at the Hylton Center on our dime. I’m guessing PWC taxpayers will be expected to pay for Supervisors seats at the “2nd Anniversary Gala”. I’d go but I need the money to pay my property, personal property and BPOL taxes, storm water fees, etc., etc., etc..


  22. legal2 said on 5 Apr 2012 at 4:07 am:
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  23. Just the Facts said on 5 Apr 2012 at 6:25 am:
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    Cleaning up this mess is a job for both Manassas and Prince William County taxpayers. PWC gives Wolfe’s ballet about $60k of taxpayer money every year, plus discretionary funds from Nohe and Covington. Those amounts should go to zero.

    Newly-elected Supervisor Candland wrote an excellent editorial recently about not wasting taxpayer money and eliminating unnecessary spending. Here’s his chance to put his talk into action, and to bring his fellow supervisors along. Taxpayer money for Wolfe’s ballet should be in the dictionary as the definition of wasteful local spending. I’ll be watching the next Board of Supervisors meeting to hear Pete follow through on what he wrote and eliminate ballet money from our budget. He will have my admiration for doing so. If not, I’ll write him off as just a talker too.

    As others have written above, Manassas voters have an opportunity to bring about real change to their City Council election next month. I hope very much that those taxpayer-friendly changes happen.

  24. Badger said on 5 Apr 2012 at 7:50 am:
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    I like Candland a lot. A Supervisor who takes a bold stand on this issue will certainly be noticed in Prince
    William County and the Commonwealth of Virginia. It would certainly put him on my “short list” for an eventual move to Richmond. I hope he follows through.

  25. Virginia Taxpayer said on 5 Apr 2012 at 8:10 am:
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    I believe many voters would be somewhat more receptive to reasonable tax increases for things like more police, new firetrucks, better teachers, new schools etc . if some of this wasterful spending is addressed and finally ended.

    I have not been a tea party person but I may need to be because it is getting too hard to take these yearly tax increases sitting down when example after example of wasteful spending to benefit the few and the rich is so obvious.

    Oh, and why are these people all Republicans is a good question!

  26. Brian Smith said on 5 Apr 2012 at 9:26 am:
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    Here is a thought. Politicians want to be/have to be all things to all people. Many residents feel perfectly OK with City and County support for the arts so politicians show support. Many people feel OK about fighting the influx of new people, so those same politicians fight the influx of new people. Many people do not want taxes to increase so the politicians try to keep taxes down until other people want their needs met and taxes then go up to meet those needs. If we elect only politicians that will take a stand and not meet the needs of large blocks of voters, then those politicians will be come “one-term Ernie’s”. That goes for progressives or conservatives. So, we end up with the only type of politician that can survive re-elections and at the same time try to meet everyone’s needs by swinging left then right, up then down, conservative then liberal, welcoming then slamming a door in one’s face. Believe it or not, they are the only ones that can get anything done.

  27. Tyler Durden said on 5 Apr 2012 at 2:26 pm:
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    The only other place in Manassas they can go to get served good food by nubile waitresses in skimpy outfits is Hooters.

  28. Anonymous said on 5 Apr 2012 at 6:19 pm:
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    @Brian Smith, I see your point. It’s only natural we let those we elect “keep the change” that’s left over from our tax dollars to spend as they please on family social outings and meals, Hylton Center and Manassas Ballet perks and shows, taxpayer subsidized perpetual campaign publicity and advertisements, expenses for hobbies, pet charities, etc.

    As you said, they are the only ones… The only ones who believe they have the right to spend leftover taxpayer dollars on such dubious purposes.

    It certainly doesn’t say much for the Prince William County Republican Party for missing the long term ramifications of this issue and it’s inconsistency with the purported party line. It damages the Republican brand (which already has enough problems).

    I hope Tom Whitmore takes them to all to the woodshed when he’s elected Chairman. I’m guessing this will be “the” issue in the 2015 BOCS campaigns unless they clean up their act before hand and perhaps some collateral damage to good Republicans serving in Richmond who might suffer from guilt by association.

  29. Badger said on 5 Apr 2012 at 6:26 pm:
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    It appears the Post reads your blog.


  30. Badger said on 5 Apr 2012 at 6:37 pm:
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    I thought we were trying to cut spending and reduce taxes? The Ballet? Performing Arts Center? It looks like our elected officials are building a Camelot lifestyle for the privileged few on the backs of Prince William County taxpayers. What will our County Royals want next?

    When I go to Denny’s with my family, I pay my own damn bill. I expect our elected folks to do the same!

  31. Anonymous said on 5 Apr 2012 at 7:06 pm:
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    From the article, “… county officials have received two tables at the Hylton fundraiser since 2009 for its annual support of $2.1 million”. Those are really expensive dinners! I guess wine and a tip drives the cost up.

  32. Jonathan Way said on 5 Apr 2012 at 9:12 pm:
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    Just for the record, I agree with the criticism about “freebies.” For over one year I have rejected “freebies” and paid my own (and my families) way to events like CASA or Manassas Ballet performances, just like everybody else. Prior to that I did attend events at city taxpayer expense because I didn’t realize how much it was adding up. Even now, I will accept free tickets if they are necessary to an economic development objective and if the target of such development attends the event. This would be normal marketing of the city. I do not and will not accept free tickets to events which are strictly “payback” for city taxpayer contributions.

  33. Doug Brown said on 5 Apr 2012 at 10:54 pm:
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    “I do not and will not accept free tickets to events which are strictly “payback” for city taxpayer contributions.”

    Councilman Way they weren’t “free tickets.” In effect, they were additional funds allocated to the ballet to pay for their lobbying and entertaining of Manassas and PWC politicians, who in turn use it as an event to rub elbows and make nice with other VIPs in the community.

    Meanwhile for those of us who cut coupons and look forward to those Burger King free whopper booklets, I hear Kermit Dance is giving out free food this summer!!! Anybody know where Kermit lives? Don’t forget to bring your green grocery bags, and don’t be surprised if some enterprising Manassas citizens camp out in front of his house to be first in line.

  34. Maureen said on 6 Apr 2012 at 4:32 am:
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    Thank you Jonathan.

  35. Doug Brown said on 6 Apr 2012 at 7:30 am:
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    Announcement Photo Contest On a Bridge Too Far:

    One Free Whopper Coupon for Photo of Table of Manassas ‘Dignitaries’ at May 5 (Cinco de Mayo!) Tuxes at Trough event.

    Yes, it’s the annual Wolfe Whopper Photo Contest. We’re hoping to have Kermit Dance hand out the winning coupon.

  36. Ray Beverage said on 6 Apr 2012 at 9:04 am:
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    Councilman Way:

    Thanks, Jon for stepping in with your post. I can fully support - as you note - acceptance of tickets to a cultural/historical event or the City purchasing same when there is a direct, repeat direct, economic benefit to the City as I wrote over on Andy Harrover’s blog.

    Even the Virginia Code allows for local government to make such purchase/receive when there is an economic benefit. It is when there is no appearance or data supporting such benefit the purchase/donation should be questioned, or as you do, be purchased by the individual. Highly commendable, Councilman, that you do and I personally thank you.

  37. New Guy said on 6 Apr 2012 at 9:58 am:
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    Mr. Beverage, I agree completely. It would appear that those we elect feel empowered to spend our money for their amusement and entertainment. I am not amused.

  38. Badger said on 8 Apr 2012 at 8:28 am:
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    I assume you’re read the front page story, Dinner with a Side of Politics, in This Morning’s Prince William Extra in the Washington Post.

    Good job!

  39. Doug Brown said on 11 Apr 2012 at 8:26 pm:
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    Republican establishment to Manassas voters:

    That will be an extra thousand for our Council ballet just because you compalined.

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