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Did North Carolina Town Give a Special Rent Break to ‘Occupy’ Protest?


The Assistant City Manager admitted the Occupy Greensboro group got a $500 discount.

As the "Occupy" movement goes international and spreads to more and more cities, local governments have been forced to commit increased resources to the protest's demands. Despite chanting "The banks got bailed out, we got sold out," the "Occupy Greensboro" group had no issue orchestrating an alleged behind-closed-doors discount for renting Festival Park from the Greensboro city government for their protest Saturday. An alleged discount, that other political organizations in the area are furious about.

Jodi Riddlederger, co-founder of Conservatives for Guilford County, told the Blaze Monday that city administrators in Greensboro were hostile towards her group, and "would not budge" with a $700 per day rental fee when the group attempted to host a Restoring Courage event in Greensboro last month at the same park that was "occupied" Saturday.

"The city didn't work with us at all," said Riddleberger. "We had to move (the event) to a different city an hour-and-a-half away."

Because of this, Riddleberger was not pleased to see the event Saturday where she said the city "bent over backwards for this group," and was even more frustrated when finding out about the sweet deal Occupy Greensboro negotiated for renting the space.

Conservatives for Guilford County interviewed Greensboro Assistant City Manager Michael Speedling about the discount at the "Occupy" event Saturday, this is what he had to say:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/v/inGrS7JYuB8?version=3&hl=en_US expand=1]

As you hear in the video, Speedling admits that the city gave Occupy Greensboro a $500 discount for renting the space for their protest Saturday. Speedling explains the reasoning behind this came after "negotiating" with the group in regards to renting space during the very busy North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University homecoming weekend.

Giving Occupy Greensboro the discount was a public safety issue according to Speedling, and needed in order to provide a safe environment for Greensboro citizens. Speedling did not return multiple calls from the Blaze Monday to explain the negotiations or logistics behind the event.

Riddleberger says the discount will not go unnoticed, and her group's event coordinator has already contacted the city to tell administrators that they expect the same treatment as Occupy groups "here on out."

"Fair is fair," said Riddleberger. Referencing Occupy rhetoric, Riddleberger said "Looks like Mr. Speedling might not understand the term 'economic justice' either."

Occupy Greensboro marched Saturday from Government Plaza to Festival Park, attracting a crowd of about 600, according to the Greensboro News & Record.

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