Variety Wholesalers boycott going regional?

Art Pope knows his business like the back of his hand. He knows the people he sells to have few choices, as do the people he employs. He exploits that position each and every day, profiting from the poor and then using those profits to exploit them even more.

Many have tried to initiate boycotts against Variety Wholesalers stores over the years, including yours truly. Maybe those efforts will be more successful now that Art Pope's North Carolina has attracted so much national attention.


Ooh, that smell. Can't you smell that smell...

In the later days of July, I tried to get versions of the following published by the NY Times, Washington Post and the N&O, among others. None saw it fit for ink. Now that the heat is turning up on Boss Pope, maybe it'll gain some traction now...

When it comes to immorality, Art Pope, who prefers to fly under the radar as an unpretentious philanthropist, stands in a class all by himself. On it's web site, The John W. Pope Foundation, proudly boasts its roughly $10 million a year in grants supporting public policy, education, cultural, and humanitarian efforts. The private 501(c)(3) grant-making foundation, chaired by Pope, is sustained almost exclusively through private donations by family members and profits generated by, Variety Wholesalers, Inc., the business Pope inherited from his father.

Sounds noble enough on the surface, but, drilling deeper into the self-aggrandizement of the foundations' web site, it turns out that roughly 80 percent of the grant money goes to conservative advocacy groups like Americans for Prosperity, Civitas Institute and the John Locke Foundation. All designed to further conservative and free market ideas. And all of which aggressively lobby North Carolina elected officials to further Art Pope's polarizing ideology. As for the other roughly 20 percent, it seems that the more conservative-leaning the cultural or humanitarian organization, the more grant money it'll net.

Among other restrictions, 501(c)(3) organizations are absolutely prohibited from supporting political candidates, and are subject to limits on lobbying. We hear time and again, how some of these organizations sidle up to the very edges of the law. Should one get caught crossing the line, high-priced attorneys are retained to back-flip the charges out the door. By strictest letter of the law, Pope's attorneys could argue that there is no wrongdoing – that the John W. Pope Foundation operates in full compliance.

But, Art Pope's fingers are on practically every one of the political organizations receiving those grants. Actively pulling the strings. And when the absurd amounts of his personal and business contributions are factored in, the homegrown political machine Pope cobbled together over the past decade or so, gets smellier yet.

His back-room power brokering has been fishy enough, but Pope's appointment to the unelected office of NC State Budget Director, by a Governor, who, along with the General Assembly, have plenty to thank him for, sent impropriety skyrocketing over the top. Hoisting the Jolly Roger high atop the State Capitol Building couldn't have sent a clearer message.

Thanks in large part to the Moral Monday movement, the rotten fruit of Pope's political skulduggery has finally caught the attention of the national media. And whether or not he thinks he is somehow above it all, Pope will eventually be held accountable.

In one of their final acts of cowardice this legislative session, the General Assembly managed to attach an amendment to yet another totally unrelated bill, giving them the authority to intervene in cases involving constitutional challenges to state law. Justifiably afraid that the Democrat currently holding the office of State Attorney General wouldn't stoop so low as to defend their blatant contempt for our democracy, the outlaws on Jones Street have unilaterally declared themselves the new Sheriff in town.

Officially unburdened by the lunacy of the legislative branch of our government, Attorney General Roy Cooper is now freed to actively uphold the sections of our Constitution left unsullied. For starters, Mr. Cooper still is empowered to launch a thorough investigation into Art Pope's institutionalized racketeering lying at the very core of our legislative nightmare. Particular focus on the transactional interactivity between the moving parts of Pope's machine could, hopefully, land him in federal prison. And Mr. Cooper ought to strike while the iron is hot.

Perhaps most egregious of all, though, is Art Pope's blatant misanthropy toward the very souls who fill his coffers in the first place. If you live in the Southeast or mid-Atlantic region, in an area where the median household income is $40,000 or less, and, with a minimum 25 percent African-American population living within five miles, you'll likely find a Roses or Maxway store nearby. Offering low quality, low overhead merchandise, at prices some residents still might barely afford, your community fits the demographic targeted by Pope's business model.

Each time one of his underpaid employees rings a cash register, I imagine Pope laughing hysterically as one hand tallies the money streaming in, while the other feeds his political machine yet another oppressive piece of legislation designed to perpetuate the depressed economic conditions that keep his hapless North Carolinian victims locked in the cross-hairs of his reprehensible greed.

Given Pope's proven shrewdness as a dyed-in-the-wool free-marketeer, it is entirely plausible that deep beneath his purported devotion to the life-support of his dying political party, profit, lies at the root of his true motivation. Upward mobility is extremely bad news for Pope's bottom-line. And to all of his apologists among Romney's 47 percent who've been so pitifully duped by the “trickle down” nonsense spewing from Pope's so-called think-tanks, you are not immune. Sorry, there is no pot-of-gold for you – not even a pretty rainbow.

One of Governor Pat McCrory's early denunciations of the Moral Monday movement is that it's name infers that one of the sides in the dispute is immoral. Well, he need not look any further than the privileged egoists, like Art Pope, who think their silver spoon DNA entitles them to buy and sell pandering politicians like commodities they truly are.

A multitude of my fellow North Carolinians are already trapped in the hole dug for them by Art Pope's malfeasance, and simply cannot escape. And as the rest of us feel the mounting pain his henchmen on Jones Street viciously inflicted this session, more of us will surely join the ranks. McCrory is right about one thing, though, North Carolina surely is open for business. The less disposable income the poor and middle-class have to spend on quality for their families, means more store openings for James Arthur Pope!


"Let's not be too rough on our own ignorance; it's what makes America great!" - Frank Zappa (6/29/1988)

So very well put

Deserves it's own frontpage post.

This is...

...some of the finest writing I have seen in a long time.

It deserves ink in one or more major papers. Are they really that afraid of Art?

"I will have a priority on building relationships with the minority caucus. I want to put substance behind those campaign speeches." -- Thom Tillis, Nov. 5, 2014

Why Yes, They Fear Him Greatly

I found an article from 1990s on Pope being against government financing of elections in any way - he finally got his revenge. This is a great article which should be put out there all over the place. I have studied Pope for 15 years or more. He is a cancer on this state and nation. What surprises me is that it did not cost a really big bunch of money to capture and purchase the legislature, and he did. Now his clowns, like Joe Coletti from Locke propaganda mill is ensconced in a govt job, and we will never get rid of him and cockroaches he is putting into state government. They will thwart us for another 30 years.



Wait, what?

Where can the article be found? Does Coletti technically have a government job now? If not, to what extent is he embedded?


"Let's not be too rough on our own ignorance; it's what makes America great!" - Frank Zappa (6/29/1988)

K. I. S. S.: Don't buy from Art Pope

So don't buy at:
“Popes,” “Eagles,” “Super Dollar,” “Bill’s Dollar Stores,” “Super 10,” "Roses" and "Maxway"

Martha Brock