Black Network Television threatening to sue Greensboro after loan reneged

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GREENSBORO, N.C. — Black Network Television is threatening to sue the city of Greensboro, seeking damages for an estimated $50 million in damages and losses related to a $300,000 economic development loan from the city that was approved on June 18.

One month later, the Council voted not to approve new conditions for the loan, which meant the BNT was no longer eligible for the money, said City Attorney Mujeeb Shah-Khan.

Michael and Ramona Woods, President and CFO of Black Network Television respectively, spoke to the media on Monday and stated the damages for not receiving that $300,000 loan are estimated in excess of $50 million.

The Woods' Attorney Willie Gary said the basis of a potential lawsuit is simple. "[The City of Greensboro] destroyed this opportunity for this network to ever be all that it could have been because they gave their word and they reneged on it. It's not right."

Shah-Khan disagreed. "Council made the decision to award it initially and then they made the decision to not modify the terms. That's not the same as reneging on the deal. The city never withdrew the deal."

In fact, he said, as of Monday the original loan and original terms are still "on the table," but said the Woods don't qualify for it.

"When the Woods asked the City to expedite the closing of the loan so they could make payroll on the television show, we learned from their attorneys that they actually had $585,000 of debt on the house. And they had a mortgage and a home equity loan, which would have meant the city would have been third on the loan- not second," explained Shah-Khan.

He explained, original reports to Council indicated a $509,000 debt on the house, not $585,000. He said the City also had originally understood it would be second on the loan rather than third.

The new information, said Shah-Khan, meant the Council had to reconsider the terms of the loan and re-vote on the issue in July. They voted not to modify the loan conditions.

Council member Zack Metheny said he changed his vote because the new financial information was startling, and he did not see a clear future economic benefit to the City of Greensboro. There were concerns the City would be third in line for repayment of a loan.

"The City of Greensboro is not a bank," insisted Metheny.

"We would never go and get a loan that we didn't think we could repay. And we would never put our home on the line if we weren't sure," Ramona Woods told Fox8.

According to the network, the loan was slated for network operations, including production of a new national comedy series titled, "Whatcha Cookin’?"

The network is claiming discrimination.

"Nothing worthwhile comes easy. Sometimes you have to fight for what’s right," said Attorney Willie Gary. He added, "What we think is going to be clear that somewhere between the first vote and second vote, some conspiracy went on... This is case of racism in the worst way. There's no reason these black people shouldn't have gotten that loan."

Shah-Khan said there is no evidence the Council's decision was racially discriminatory. "The suggestion that maybe in that month there was maybe a conspiracy? Show us the conspiracy. Show us statements. Show us proof. It doesn't exist."

As of Monday morning, the network has not filed the lawsuit. Shah-Khan said the network issued a "letter of demand for settlement" to the city.

Gary said they don't want to fight and would rather settle with the city, but emphasized they are prepared to go to court.

"Black Network Television is a strong voice in this community, and we must address the injustice of this situation," said Michael Woods.

Woods says they’ve realized, "Economic injustice and discrimination can raise it’s ugly head."

Longtime business owners in the Triad region, Woods and his wife launched the television network in 2011. "We will do whatever we can to bring those guilty of racism to the forefront," said Gary, discussing the lawsuit in a press conference Monday.

He did not offer specific examples of racism in the case but indicated they would look through city emails and memos to expose the racism, which he said was the only explanation for the loan not working out.

Currently, the network serves 28 counties in North Carolina and Virginia, reaching more than 4.2 million viewers.


    • Esther

      reneged: to fail to carry out a promise or commitment…reneged on contract @ last minute. Glad you didn’t make a comment on something you didn’t know the meaning…good you asked!

      • Esther

        @NCMale: With a contract there is no reading between the line; either you approved the loan or you didn’t. Read between those line…that’s the problem, you just don’t get it..

  • just the facts ma'am

    Greensboro City Attorney S. Mujeeb Shah-Khan sent a letter to Mayor Robbie Perkins and other members of the council saying financial records showed the couple had a home equity line of trust, which was not disclosed during the orignal request for the loan.

    Financial records show the Woods’ first mortgage is $280,000 and the home equity line, which is the second lien on their property, is close to $300,000.

    The city of Greensboro would have been third in line for repayment.

    • Scott

      Oh yeah that’s definitely a racist thing to do. To bad it just makes good business sense in the process. Just another frivolous lawsuit to tie up time and money from the tax payers of Guilford County.

  • Jim

    Just a few questions—– 1-Racist? 2-Where are the all WHITE colleges located? 3-where is Miss WHITE AMERICA? 4-Where is Miss Teen Age WHITE AMERICA? 5-Where is the NAAWP for WHITE PEOPLE? Answer these questions and you will know where RACIST REALLY IS.

    • NCMale

      You’ll never get an answer on your question because blacks have a entitled, I’m a victim mindset….and answering your questions would go directly against that….so it’ll never happen.

    • KP

      You have a WHITE TV NETWORK. It’s called CBS, NBC, FOX, and CW. You have a MISS WHITE AMERICA. Listen, as an African America, you get tired of always trying to be a part of what white people have going on only to see a “token” get in just to appease discrimination laws. It’s like going to a party and knocking on the door to get in….and no one answers the door. You hear them having a great time but no one will answer the door no matter how hard you knock. You could either give up on ever joining the party or start your own…..and bc we come from a long strong line of fighters (people that won’t quit) we decide to start our own. And then, you all open the door from your party and look to see that we started our own and get mad. We can’t win for losing. I’m totally not saying I agree with this lawsuit…..but geeez zzz, lay off of talking about what we call stuff. Only those blind to white privilege see a problem with it.

  • John Johansson

    DISCRIMINATION?? Where did that come from??? Always the victim – it is getting very, very old….. “The equity line of trust, which was not disclosed during the original request for the loan.” Why not? Sounds like fraud to me………

    • Esther

      Has Robbie Perkins reneged on his campaigned statement that he welcome new business to Greensboro in order to get the unemployed back to work? Don’t forget to read your contract! Yeah right!

  • Faith

    So there was no racism, it was just attempted fraud on the part of the couple who own Black TV station. What a surprise.

    • Esther

      No call on your Mayor & justice system aren’t they getting paid to do their job? No wait the Mayor works for who? Is that justice?

      • Richard Trickle

        The mayor can’t even keep his own finaces in check. Let’s hope the people get rid of this dirt bag next Tuesday.

  • DGNR8

    Let me get this straight… In a city that spends money like it is water on a “International Civil Rights Museum” that has yet to make money (by the way, where is the section discussing the civil rights of those in Mexico) can we have a couple of people sue and claim racism because they cannot secure a government loan. Go figure.

    • Esther

      Yeah go figure! Make sure you ask where the rest of the money is flowing because International Civil Right Museum wasn’t the only one that was helped. But the rest you don’t read about. Since you are so interested in starting a discussion about New Mexico’s civil rights you start it & stop singling out just one group!

      • DGNR8

        Where did I say anything about New Mexico? I wanted to know about the civil rights of those in Mexico, Germany, or any other country that has civil rights issues? Will you find that in the International Civil Rights Museum?

  • NCMale

    I’m thinking about asking the city for a loan for White Television Network

    Wonder how long it would take for all the blacks to scream racism??????

    • Esther

      Now I get it. Eating you alive that a Black couple can own a TV station & Lord help if they win the lawsuit how much money will they get? Let it go! Haters! HAHAHA!

      • Mike

        There’s nothing wrong with a black couple owning a tv station. It’s the fact that it is a tv station that tailors to ONE RACE ONLY. That’s called racism. The fact that they misled on their application is cause for breach of contract on their part. You seem way to one-sided on this issue.

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