Beginning last July, lawmakers put a restriction on a wide range of state-funded nonprofits, including the N.C. Rural Economic Development Center.
They limited state money for the salary of nonprofit employees to $120,000.
The Rural Centers president, Billy Ray Hall, is paid a salary of $214,000, according to a report to the legislature. Tax filings, which include benefits such as health and dental insurance and a retirement plan, show his annual compensation is about $283,000.
The Rural Center said in February that the extra salary for Hall and other top officials is paid by a combination of other funding sources ... including earnings on investments and corporate contributions.
The Rural Center also says his salary comes from overhead on other grants the center receives. Hall and the Rural Center will not provide exact details on those other sources of income. A listing of corporate donors on the centers tax documents has been blanked out, as allowed by federal law.
Hall declined to provide details. He said a variety of corporate donors are involved in assisting the Rural Center and acknowledged that some are also involved in benefiting from center grants.
Those companies could include banks that administer loan programs and engineering companies that handle infrastructure grants, records show.
A Rural Center brochure says corporate donors enjoy advantages, including being given the option to partner with the Rural Center on policy issues and program activities in support of rural North Carolina."