Hypocrisy, thy name may be Ben Moss
Yesterday, Moore Voices posted a commentary about the political spat between Moore County Board of Education member David Hensley and NC Congressional Representative Ben Moss. The dislike between the two men seems to have started when Ben Moss attacked his primary opponent, long-time Moore County NCGA Representative Jamie Boles, over Boles' funeral home business taking a $310,000 PPP loan (that was forgiven) from the federal government during the Covid pandemic.
As I wrote in my earlier commentary, there's nothing inherently controversial about any business taking a PPP loan. Small businesses suffered greatly during the pandemic lockdowns and those loans allowed them to keep their employees paid and their operations going. Without PPP loans, communities would have been devastated by massive business closures and layoffs.
Considering the above paragraph, I couldn't fathom WHY a spat over something as inconsequential to most voters as a candidate taking a PPP loan would be the source of such rancor. I dug around, but as stated in the commentary, was unable to find any logical solution to the puzzle.
However, during my digging, I did find out something else.
It appears that Representative Ben Moss took a PPP loan for his business.
During the course of Hnelsey’s feud with Moss, Hensley encouraged voters in Moore County to ask Moss what he did for a living. Moss gave a VERY vague response to everyone that asked. He told people that he owned a small business, specifically an auto repair center, that employed 9 people in the Sandhills. Hensley publicly challenged Moss to name the business and tell voters where it was located as he suspected it wasn’t located in Moore County. As rarely as I agree with David Hensley, I have to admit I thought his questions were valid ones. Why would a candidate for political office be so reluctant to tell his potential constituents where he worked or what the name of a company he claims to own is? Yesterday, after I posted my commentary, my curiosity got the best of me and I decided to do some searching around.
I went to the NC Secretary of State website and searched for any business filing with Ben Moss as a company officer. I was able to find a "Ben T Moss" as an official of a company called Treadsetters, LLC with a Laurinburg address. I Googled the address (1411 S Main Street) and found a business named Doug's Tire Center. I clicked on the website button and it took me to the company's Facebook page. The very last post on the business’s page was shared from Moss's official campaign page.
So, the mystery appears to be solved. The “automotive center in the Sandhills” that Moss claims to own seems to be Doug's Tire Shop in Laurinburg. Hensley is correct in his assumption that although Laurinburg *is* in the Sandhills, it isn't in either of the two counties Moss will be representing in the NCGA.
Now there’s nothing wrong with Moss owning a business outside of the community he lives in and/or serves. After all, Hensley lives in Moore County and sits on the Moore County Board of Education, but his own business - Quantico Tactical - is based in Hoke County. So once again, I was left with more questions than answers. I mean WHY would Moss not just come out and be honest about what business he owns and where it was located?
So I went off in search of whether or not Treadsetters, LLC or Doug’s Tire Shop received PPP loans. I mean, one reason that occurred to me that Moss may have been so vague is that he was guilty of the same thing he hammered Boles about. I searched for the names of both companies, found nothing, and went on about my business. Several hours later, a member of Moore County Political Discussions (where I had posted the information I had found about Moss and company), posted screenshots that showed the following:
“Carl Douglas Brown, DBS, Doug’s Tire Shop” located at 1411 South Main Street in Laurinburg was granted a PPP loan for $34,500 on April 16, 2020 and the loan was forgiven in full on April 15, 2021.
Ben Moss used the fact that Jamie Boles took a PPP loan for his funeral home business to attack him relentlessly, accusing Boles of taking “government handout” and “getting a free ride from the taxpayers.”
Moss refused to identify his company name and location during the campaign. He told voters he owned a “small automotive shop in the Sandhills that employs 9 people.”
Public records from the NC Secretary of State’s office identify “Ben T Moss” as a company officer of Doug’s Tire Shop in Laurinburg.
Doug’s Tire Shop’s Facebook page appears to be connected to Representative Ben Moss.
Carl Douglas Brown, DBS, Doug’s Tire Shop” (using the same address - 1411 S Main St Laurinburg) applied for, received, and was forgiven a loan of $34,500 from the PPP program.
It seems Ben Moss has some serious explaining to do.
I admit - this could all be one giant coincidence. Maybe there is another “small automotive center” in the “Sandhills” that has another “Ben T Moss” as a company officer. Maybe Moss owns some other “small automotive business in the Sandhills” that “employs 9 people” that never took a PPP loan.
But I seriously doubt it.
***Commentary by Cheryl Christy. Cheryl can be reached at email@example.com