Manna FoodBank $1.4M land deal? Weird Visa charges?

Today’s batch of burning questions, my smart-aleck answers and the real deal:

Question: What is going on with all of the $1.4 million land transfers between MANNA Food Bank and someone named Brian Jones? Why does MANNA own so much property? Who is Brian J. Jones? There were multiple transfers for $1.4 million.

My answer: If Rolling Stones founding member Brian Jones is still alive and buying land in East Asheville, I’m going to be really irked. 

Real answer: First of all, the way this transaction was listed is confusing. It comes through Buncombe County land records as eight separate transactions, but it looks like each one is for $1.4 million.

That’s “misleading,” according to Hannah Randall, CEO of MANNA FoodBank.

MANNA FoodBank, which provides millions of pounds of food to WNC every year, recently sold property for $1.4 million that was donated to the nonprofit.

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The property, which totals about 60 acres and includes a house, was donated to MANNA amid the pandemic, Randall said. MANNA, a nonprofit that partners with over 200 local agencies in 16 counties to deliver food to those in need, also needs to build a new facility.

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“So, this donor donated to us a house that had parcels of land attached to it,” Randall said. “We sold those together for a total of $1.425 million. They’re not each $1.425 million.”

The transfers are listed under the Riceville area, in East Asheville, and we’ll publish them this Sunday, Sept. 26. Here’s how they’re listed in the land transfers:

  • 5.74 acres on Poplar Creek Drive, $1,425,000, MANNA FoodBank Inc. to Brian J. Jones.
  • 4.3 acres on Patriots Drive, $1,425,000, MANNA FoodBank Inc. to Brian J. Jones.
  • 10.21 acres on Patriots Drive, $1,425,000, MANNA FoodBank Inc. to Brian J. Jones.
  • 180 Independence Blvd., $1,425,000, MANNA FoodBank Inc to Brian J. Jones.
  • 10.85 acres on Independence Blvd., $1,425,000, MANNA FoodBank Inc. to Brian J. Jones.
  • 10.31 acres on Patriots Drive, $1,425,000, MANNA FoodBank Inc. to Brian J. Jones.
  • 7.48 acres on Patriots Drive, $1,425,000, MANNA FoodBank Inc. to Brian J. Jones.
  • 10.46 acres on Patriots Drive, $1,425,000, MANNA FoodBank Inc. to Brian J. Jones.

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“It was all sold obviously together, too,” Randall said. “It’s residential property that we couldn’t build a food bank on.”

By the way, Randall said they do not know Brian J. Jones.

MANNA FoodBank CEO Hannah Randall May 5, 2021.

MANNA is a member of Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization, and it has been in Asheville since 1983. 

MANNA is currently moving over 50,000 pounds of food daily through a partner network of over 200 agencies, “stretching every resource to meet the growing need for food across our 16-county region of WNC,” according to its website.

Located at 627 Swannanoa River Road in East Asheville, MANNA does plan to build a larger facility, and the proceeds from this land transaction will help.

“This is part of what’s hopefully, eventually, going to make possible a new facility built by our community for our community that will be able to be there for generations to come,” Randall said.

Asked a for timetable, Randall said with a laugh, “I would love to tell you that I knew that.”

“It’ll be a matter of when we can raise the funds needed for the new facility, as well as lead times,” Randall added. “That’s just not quite clear yet.”

For more information about MANNA, or to donate, visit

Gas stations, restaurants and other businesses will put a $1

Question: Whenever I use my Visa card to make a purchase, the exact amount almost always shows up within minutes in my account where I bank at Wells Fargo. I always ask for a receipt, and the amount on the receipt always matches the electronic version, with the exception of tips, which often don’t initially show up, even though it’s part of the bill. Why is that? Also, when I get gasoline, the initial charge always shows up as $1, regardless of the amount of gasoline I’ve purchased. It’s only at a later time that the actual amount shows up. Is this just related to my Visa card with my bank? Or is this something that occurs with all cards? And if so, why?

My answer: I’d just like to note for the record that when I charge the $50 fee per question answered, it goes on your bill right up front. Please, I only accept tips in cash (large denominations, unmarked bills…).

Real answer: A lot of credit cards do this (I’ve had it happen with both Visa and MasterCard), and it’s all about pre-authorization.

“Pre-authorizations are used by merchants for purchases where they don’t know the final amount of the charge when someone taps, dips or swipes their card,” Andy Gerlt, vice president for global corporate communications at Visa, said  via email. “Hotels, rental cars, gas stations and restaurants are the most common types of merchants that use these pre-authorizations.”

The reason is pretty simple.

“When you tap or dip your card at a fuel pump, for example, the gas station does not know how much gas you plan to purchase,” Gerlt said. “Merchants may place a pre-authorization for $1 while they wait for the transaction to occur. Once the total price is known, the merchant will authorize the transaction for the full amount and remove the temporary charge.”

The same happens with restaurant charges.

“In most restaurants, you’re given the option to add a tip after you have paid for your meal,” Gerlt said. “Restaurants will pre-authorize the amount of your bill, but don’t convert that into a charge until the final amount, including tip, is known.”

This is the opinion of John Boyle. To submit a question, contact him at 232-5847 or [email protected]

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