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CRVA Employee Gets Bonus Payments Funded By Client

The Charlotte Observer reports that Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority employee Ereka Crawford-Brim has received about $100,000 in bonus payments for her work in the annual CIAA basketball tournament. The money came from the CIAA. The CRVA has an ethics policy that prohibits employees from accepting "cash or gratuities" from outside its payroll, according to the Observer report. Technically, the CRVA paid the bonus money. However, the CIAA earmarked the money for the CRVA to pay Crawford-Brim. CRVA President Tim Newman doesn't have a problem with the payments, which have been made since 2007. He told the Observer by email that that payments were salary, not gifts. Therefore, he says there's no violation of the ethics policy. "... The CIAA pays CRVA and we then pay Ereka that bonus. This was per the request of (CIAA) Commissioner (Leon) Kerry and we have been happy to oblige because the CIAA would not be the success it is without Reka," Newman wrote. He said Crawford-Brim has received the money for her "additional time and effort" in helping stage the weeklong CIAA basketball tournament, which gets $200,000 in city money. Crawford-Brimm told the Observer that she didn't know the CIAA made the payments. She hasn't received any bonus money for the 2011 tournament, but CIAA commissioner Kerry says one is forthcoming. "We will give her something," Kerry told the Observer. "I don't know how I'll do it. If I do it directly, I don't have to deal with you." Kerry said he doesn't consider the money a bonus but more of a stipend. Before setting up the first payment, Kerry said Newman told him to make out the check to the CRVA. "I told Tim we usually have a person we work with, that lives in the city, that when we need something done, or we need to make a meeting, and we do a stipend for them, Kerry said. "She's our Kelly Girl. We did it in Raleigh, in Winston-Salem, in Richmond (previous sites for the tournament)."