Behind The Dix Deal: Republicans At Odds

Mar 22, 2013

Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger.
Credit Dave DeWitt

With the General Assembly on the verge of voiding the Dix lease deal it made with the city of Raleigh, it's instructive to look at some of the people who were behind the deal in the first place.

The deal may have been closed by former Democratic Governor Bev Perdue and Raleigh mayor Nancy McFarlane, but the deal really got made by a group of influential business leaders that make up the Dix Visionaries. The group's Board of Directors is a who's who of Raleigh's (and the state's) business elite. And what may be surprising to some: the majority have given big dollars to local and national Republican candidates.

At the top of the list is Ann Goodnight. She's the wife of SAS founder Jim Goodnight and a major supporter of turning Dix into a destination park. The Goodnights support a wide range of causes, but the political donations (from both Jim and Ann) show that Republicans are the sole beneficiaries of their largesse. Just last year, the Goodnights hosted a fundraiser for Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger that raised $300,000. 

She's hardly alone among Republican donors/Dix park supporters. According to, Dix Visionaries President Greg Poole and board members Charles Neely, Robert Ingram, and Frank Holding, Sr. (the uncle of Republican Congressman George Holding) all gave money to Republican candidates, ranging from Mitt Romney to Paul Coble.

If the General Assembly ends up reneging on the Dix deal, leading Republicans may have some explaining to do to some of the folks who helped put them in office.