HAMLET – In the wake of possible politicking at this year’s Seaboard Festival, the City of Hamlet has filed a formal complaint with the Internal Revenue Service.
Stemming from the City Council’s request during Tuesday’s monthly meeting, city manager Jonathan Blanton filed a formal 13909 complaint earlier this week with the IRS in regards to the political activity at the Seaboard Festival.
The political activity involved volunteers and board members wearing political campaign gear in support of candidate(s) prior to local elections on November 7. Among those in question were David and Kim Lindsey. Last month, Kim Lindsey stepped away from her role as the Seaboard president, but was voted back into office earlier in the week.
The Seaboard Day Festival Committee is a non-profit 501-C3 tax exempt (and thus apolitical) organization, and the formal complain alleges that it may have conducted (inadvertently or otherwise) some form of political activism or campaigning in conjunction with the initial opening ceremonies of the Festival.
“This week, the City of Hamlet filed a Form 13909 with the IRS in regards to political activities which occurred at the annual Seaboard Festival amongst members and volunteers of the Seaboard Festival Committee,” Blanton said in an official statement released Friday. “The complaint was not filed in retaliation against any one member, nor was the complaint filed with any nature of animosity.
“Instead, given the high level of recent media attention to the issue and to prevent any potential disgruntled whistleblowing, the City chose to intervene on the Seaboard Festival’s behalf in order to facilitate an honest, open conversation about what happened and to voice resounding support on the Seaboard Festival’s behalf,” he continued. “As stated in the letter to the IRS, there is no better partner to the City than the Seaboard Festival and the City is firmly committed to ensuring that the Seaboard Festival retains their tax-exempt status and continues to thrive with their civic work in our community.”
As more information becomes available, the RO will report.