By Billy Davis
Rolando Curtis Foods CEO Roland Butler withstood a minor grilling from county supervisors Monday, assuring them that his Crenshaw plant has overcome numerous delays that are out of his hands.
This time, he said, the plant would open its doors within 90 days.
The Maryland businessman also departed without producing what was requested: an accounting of how he spent a $1.4 million loan.
Supervisors had said they wanted an accounting of the $1.4 million, which they’re allowed to see per contract, but Butler and supervisors instead jousted about his broken promises of creating jobs.
“You’ve given us 19 different dates when you would open,” board president Gary Thompson told Butler.
Butler spent most of his time in front of supervisors explaining that his investment in the once-dilapidated building has boosted its value.
Joined by his accountant Bob Thomas, Butler and Thomas explained that up to $900,000, all from private investors, was spent to improve the building. Those improvements allowed the building’s value to increase from an appraised value of $206,000, which then allowed the property to qualify as collateral for the $1.4 million loan, the two men said.
Butler told supervisors a $26,000 loan on the property had been paid off but he said the $1.4 million loan is still outstanding.
The $1.4 million loan was set to repaid in six months, according to the Deed of Trust, and Butler has told The Panolian that he repaid it on time.
When Supervisor Kelly Morris asked Butler about the New York-based bank that found him in default, Butler said that lawsuit had involved his Maryland business.
“This is Rolando Curtis Foods Mississippi,” he replied.
Toward the end of his appearance, Butler announced that the business would open within 90 days.
“You can read my lips on that one,” Butler told Supervisor Bubba Waldrup, when Waldrup pressed him about the promise.
Not until Butler finished did he get pressed about accounting for the $1.4 million.
“Do you have an itemized list of expenditures?” asked County Administrator Kelley Magee.
“I’ll have to bring that to you,” Butler replied.