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RNC Host Committee Finishes Its 'Wind Down' -- And Looks To Give Away $3M

The Convention Center will host a one-day RNC on Monday.
The Convention Center will host a one-day RNC on Monday.

Delegates are arriving at the Westin for two days of Republican National Committee meetings, followed by a one-day convention on Monday.

A block away -- in the NASCAR Hall of Fame tower -- are the offices of the Charlotte RNC host committee. The CEO, John Lassiter, says he’s not going to any part of the GOP’s events.

“We’re not connected at all at this point to whatever goes on,” Lassiter said. “We’re fully focused on our efforts to finish our wind down.”

That "wind down" means settling roughly 100 contracts that were signed for a full-scale RNC that never happened. That includes settling with the Charlotte Hornets for the Spectrum Center, which was to host the president and thousands of delegates.

Lassiter says the host committee has been able to pay its bills and it’s going to give away money.

It’s donating $500,000 of furniture and technology to organizations like Classroom Central and Habitat for Humanity.

It’s creating two grant programs. One is a $500,000 small business grant program that’s focused on hospitality and tourism.

“It’s for caterers, and event planners and printers and florists and restaurants,” he said. “They’ve been impacted one, by no convention and two, by a pandemic.”

The other is a $2 million grant program to be administered by the local economic development organizations in the Charlotte area.

The GOP moved most of the convention to Jacksonville, Florida, at President Donald Trump's request, but then canceled that because of the pandemic and the city’s difficulty in providing security. That left just the Charlotte event on Monday.

Earlier this summer, Lassiter said he was in shock over their decision to leave for Florida. But he now says he and the GOP are on good terms.

“I think it’s been amicable,” he said. “And we’ve worked hard to have everyone understand the difficult situation we’re in.”

On Monday, 336 delegates are scheduled to nominate President Trump for a second term at the Convention Center.

Then, they’ll fly home.

Go behind the headlines with WFAE political reporter Steve Harrison in hisweekly newsletter, Inside Politics.Steve will provide insight about and analysis of local and statewide politics. Readers will gain an understanding of political news on the horizon and why it matters. 

While you're at it, go ahead and take a listen to our companion podcast:“Inside Politics: The RNC in Charlotte,” hosted by Steve Harrison and Lisa Worf.

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