Marty Kotis is a developer, third-generation restaurant owner, and entrepreneur from the Greensboro area currently serving his second four-year term on the UNC BOG that began in March 2017. He was present for the vote to hire Margaret Spellings, who he voted for, but voted against her compensation package.
Kotis has been dubbed a “power player” for his work on development in the Midtown section of Greensboro. He is the President and CEO of Kotis Holdings, a high-end real estate and restaurant development company that focuses on “upscale” shopping centers, restaurants, and “food-store anchored neighborhood centers.” It is one of the largest real estate developers in the Triad and at one point was the largest restaurant developer in the Southeast. While his specialty is restaurants and luxury real estate, he notably renovated an office building in downtown Greensboro to turn it into a charter school, the Experiential School of Greensboro.
The year Kotis was nominated to the BOG he donated $4,000 to Phil Berger’s campaign. He is a major Republican donor, but has donated to both Republican and Democratic candidates on the Greensboro City Council. He claimed that he was not a Trump supporter and that he “didn’t give a dime” to Trump’s campaign, but he appeared at a Trump rally in 2016. Kotis has gone on record saying that he believes in less government and “less taxes overall.”
Kotis has been one of the more vocal members of the BOG during the ongoing controversy over Silent Sam. Specifically, he criticized Silent Sam protesters, described protests as “mob rule,” and even suggested putting a fence around Silent Sam three days after the statue was toppled. In response to the presence of armed neo-confederates on UNC’s campus, Kotis said that “dealing appropriately” with left-wing protestors of the statue would cut down on right-wing protestors who have come to campus to “protect” the statue. For that reason, he supports the $2 million proposed “mobile force platoon.” Kotis objected to public comment that criticized the BOG and favored indirect comments like survey systems, noting, “I think that’s more productive than if you just come in and yell and scream at somebody, that’s not going to move the ball forward for you.” He also objected to moving the statue to another location where it could be further contextualized because it broke a 2015 law passed by the North Carolina General Assembly that the statue “could not be moved to a museum or cemetery if it was not originally erected there.”
The TA strike of late fall 2018 prompted swift condemnation from Kotis. He said graduate students who were withholding grades should be dismissed and called for swift action against potential strikers. He even planned to make a motion at a BOG meeting that would “terminate or expel any faculty or students” who chose to withhold grades and “assure they can never be hired by or admitted to any UNC school in the future.” Calling the strike, “beyond dereliction of duty,” Kotis continued that “frankly I think there are some students who would rather get punched by a TA than withhold their grades.” He also opined that the ongoing situation reinforced “all the fears that people in this state have about higher education.” Kotis said North Carolina parents are afraid that they send their children to school only to have “some liberal professor who says ‘If you don’t agree with me, I’m going to punish you. I’m going to force you to align with all my thoughts.”
Kotis considered moving the UNC System’s headquarters from Chapel Hill to Durham in the spirit of it becoming a “catalyst project” to promote redevelopment around NC Central’s campus.
He also voted against future litigation from the UNC Center for Civil Rights because he thinks lawsuits are a waste of money.