Despite judgments, GBA confident with CASE
Under a nearly $300,00 proposal that will be considered by Georgetown City Council, the marketing of the city to potential tourists will continue to be handled by CASE Solutions of Pawleys Island.
CASE was selected in 2011 as the marketing agency when the City of Georgetown, the Georgetown County Chamber of Commerce and the GBA agreed to work together to try to increase the number of visitors to Georgetown.
During its first year, the GBA and CASE worked with a budget of $55,000 which was increased to $80,000 this year.
They are asking for $297,000 for 2013-14.
CASE was hired for the job without the city, Chamber or GBA putting out Requests for Proposals (RFP).
It was also in 2011 that the courts issued two judgments against CASE.
On July 11 of that year, the R.L. Bryan Company was awarded $21,373 after suing CASE regarding a payment dispute.
On July 28, 2011 Quantum Radio of Myrtle Beach agreed to a $5,820 judgment against CASE to settle a non-payment dispute.
CASE owner Tonia Speir stated in an e-mail Thursday the judgments are for work that her company performed in 2009 for two different real estate companies in the Myrtle Beach area.
“This was at the beginning of the housing bubble bursting and neither company had the ability to resolve their debt with our agency therefore the vendor bills went unpaid. One of the clients, after a confession of judgement, entered into a payment agreement directly with the vendor and will settle that debt in full within the 2013 calendar year at which time the judgement will be satisfied,” Speir wrote.
About the other judgment, Speir states “after issuing a partial payment on the total amount due out of Case Solutions company resources, and on the advise [sic] of legal council [sic], we ceased making payments and the debt is still owed to us by the company who was the recipient of the finished product. The problems that led to these judgements [sic] had nothing to do with the economic viability of CASE as an institution.”
Speir concluded by stating “as with all businesses during the past economic reality we have dictated a careful screening of clients and their financial commitments. As a result we continue to diligently address financial compliance with all clients we work with.”
GBA board member Lynn Mueller, in an e-mail, says no one on the board has ever expressed concerns about the judgments.
“Financial controls have and continue to assure that every penny is accounted for since this process began and still do,” Mueller wrote.
He also reiterated what GBA Chairman Al Joseph said at last week’s council meeting about not conducting an RFP before CASE was selected. He said this upcoming fiscal year will be the final year CASE will provide the service without other ad agencies being given a chance to compete for the work.
“The GBA has made clear in multiple forums, the intent to issue (an RFP) after this year,” Mueller states.
Joseph said he “feels good” about the GBA’s chances of receiving a good portion of the funds being requested.
The increase, he says, will vastly expand the area and number of people that will be reached by advertising the city to potential visitors.
The GBA appeared before City Council last week — as reported in the April 12 Georgetown Times — to make its pitch for the major increase in funding.
At this week’s meeting, Joseph said “my gut feeling is pretty good. Will we get all $297,000? I don’t know. Some have said we will get between $80,000 and $297,000.”
By Scott Harper
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