"To be honest, we didn't know there was an outstanding balance and when you sent your email this morning we reached out to the county to figure out why we had not received those bills," Spiracle Media Chief Executive Officer Tim Baier said in an email. "Everything has been cleared up and paid in full. Appreciate the heads up."
According to the county, North Carolina law makes it clear that it's "the taxpayer's responsibility to know the details of their taxes, including deadlines, if they receive notice (or) not...Failure to receive notice does not compromise the lien or eliminate the taxpayer's responsibility for the tax."
County records show KB Holdings LLC received a $27,000 loan, yet owed more than $3,000 in delinquent county and city taxes. Two phone calls to KB Holdings went unreturned.
County records also show WHY NOT PIZZA LLC received a $25,000 loan despite owning more than $1,800 in delinquent taxes.
"I didn't know about this," owner Maura Trejo said. "I talked to my accountant and she's going to pay it right now."
Mecklenburg County started the loan program in April, putting its full trust in the Carolina Small Business Development Fund. The county is paying the non-profit $1 million to administer and service the loans.
For months, unbeknownst to county commissioners, the non-profit did not share the names of loan recipients with the county, as part of an agreement to protect their privacy.
After WCNC discovered the county gave up full control of the details, commissioners voted to request that information from the Carolina Small Business Development Fund.
The non-profit would not answer specific questions about delinquent taxpayers who received loans, but instead shared this statement:
"The Mecklenburg Emergency Stabilization Loan Fund was created in response to the economic impact of the current COVID-19 heath crisis. The loan fund has afforded numerous county small businesses the opportunity to access much needed funds during uncertain times. The fund is still serving its purpose, especially for minority and women-owned small businesses at this difficult time. The terms of the agreement between Mecklenburg County and the Carolina Small Business Development Fund (CSBDF) for CSBDF to provide funding to small businesses have been met.
To date, more than 200 small and minority businesses throughout the county have received over $4.4 million in loans to help them succeed during this challenging time. Like the County, CSBDF remains committed to ensuring that these businesses have every opportunity to survive and thrive. We are excited about the opportunity to continue disbursing funds to Mecklenburg County businesses in need, across a variety of industries, and once again thank WCNC for its interest."
The newly obtained contract between the non-profit and county shows CSBDF originally agreed to provide the county with monthly updates, including business names.
"Thank you for bringing this oversight to our attention," CSBDF Marketing and Communications Director Alisha Brown said. "CSBDF is committed to providing proper management, and reporting of the loan fund. We will send the updated list of borrowers at the end of each month going forward."
WCNC Charlotte is only naming delinquent taxpayers who owed more than $1,000 in this report.