10/15/04 — Complaint filed over rally at church

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Complaint filed over rally at church

By Matt Shaw
Published in News on October 15, 2004 1:59 PM

A Goldsboro businessman has filed a complaint with the Internal Revenue Service over a local church that hosted a political rally this week.

Dave Quick called the IRS fraud division Wednesday to complain that Mount Zion Disciples Church had allowed several Democratic candidates and activists to speak at Monday's Get Out To Vote rally.

About 220 people attended, and the rally was broadcast on radio to 15 counties.

"I wanted to make the IRS aware of this rally, which was completely in violation of the church's tax-exempt status," Quick said Thursday.

The IRS worker promised a committee would review Quick's complaint but did not indicate if there would be an investigation, Quick said.

IRS spokeswoman Valerie Thornton said this morning that she could not confirm or deny an investigation into the church's activities, but added, "The IRS takes all allegations of fraud very seriously."

Quick, a former chairman of the Wayne County Republican Party, said that he would have had as much a problem with Republican candidates speaking in a church.

"To me, it's totally wrong -- morally, legally and ethically wrong," he said. "I would like to see some of these churches investigated and lose their tax status."

The Get Out To Vote Rally featured candidates U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield; State Auditor Ralph Campbell; judicial candidates Wanda Bryant, Alan Thornburg and James A. Wynn; and representatives of Erskine Bowles and the Kerry/Edwards ticket. All are Democrats, although the judicial races are nonpartisan.

The rally was moderated by the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, who is the pastor of Greenleaf Christian Church

Mount Zion's leader, Apostle Tino Bell, spoke only briefly at the rally to introduce his father, Wayne County Commissioner John Bell.

Tino Bell could not be reached for comment today.