How can one man spend the GNP of a small country at Cracker Barrel? It’s easy, especially if you’re Dolly Parton’s no-account brother Randy, who squandered that much on “Las Vegas and New York trips, meals at more than 70 restaurants, [and] purchases at grocery stores and Wal-Mart,” among other frivolous expenditures. Except he was supposed to be using the cash to promote a theater built by the “ailing textile town” of Roanoke Rapids, N.C., which plunked over $20 million into the project in an effort to reverse its bad financial luck through the magic of song. Unfortunately, city hall forgot to do a background check, where they would have found out that Randy Parton liked to get tipsy and cuss at kids, in addition to being a really big fan of cheese logs and misappropriating funds.
Randy Parton, given access to nearly $3 million by the city with few strings attached, spent some of it on liquor, two trips to Las Vegas casinos and, in keeping with his good ol’ boy image, meals at Biscuitville and Cracker Barrel on the taxpayers’ dime.
The expensive economic experiment came crashing down earlier this month when the town’s mayor, who had been Parton’s biggest booster, confronted him in his dressing room before a show. Mayor Drewery N. Beale accused Parton of being drunk. He had two police officers drive the singer home, but not before Parton delivered a profanity-laced interview to a waiting TV crew.
Parton, the mayor said, was henceforth banned from the theater bearing his name.
That showdown came after the mayor and City Council, miffed by the minuscule crowds Parton was attracting to the Randy Parton Theatre, said the singer had been caught cursing during what the town promoted as a “family show.”
Thanks to the way the project was financed–with “self-financed bonds” that the city can use to undertake “economic improvement projects by repaying bonds with anticipated increases in tax revenues”–the broke-ass citizens of Roanoke Rapids are now screwed, since the only thing Randy Parton increased was his biscuit-engorged wasitline. What kind of small town on the verge of economic collapse just gives Dolly Parton’s brother $3 million to turn its fortunes around? It’s like something out of a 1940s musical. Minus the happy ending, of course.
At Randy Parton Theater, Show Goes On Without “Star” [LA Times; HT: Ned Raggett]