02Efforts are underway by Fayetteville City Council to replace District 3 council member Tisha Waddell. She resigned suddenly last week citing “egregious actions” of misconduct by Mayor Mitch Colvin and some of her council colleagues. Waddell issued a lengthy five-page open letter outlining her allegation that Colvin has engaged in conflicts of interest and lack of transparency.

She charged that the mayor regularly “ignored council policy and used his position to influence and subvert” procedures established by the council.

“I am disappointed that Former Councilwoman Waddell has chosen to resign while making baseless accusations against her former colleagues on City Council and private citizens on her way out the door. It’s campaign time so I guess here comes the smear campaign,” Colvin said in a Facebook statement. He has since updated and edited that statement.

“The City of Fayetteville is saddened by the abrupt resignation of one of our city council members. We thank her for the time she has dedicated to her district and our wonderful city. The City Council wishes her the very best in all of her future endeavors and we are looking forward to working with the new representative as we put Fayetteville first!”

During their years working together, Waddell was regularly critical of Colvin. Five of the nine council members — Mayor Pro Tem Kathy Jensen, Chris Davis, Johnny Dawkins, D.J. Haire, and Larry Wright — have been generally supportive of the mayor. Waddell wrote of “multiple closed sessions” held by the City Council, one of which included a representative of a private equity firm, Bernard Capital Partners, and Fayetteville Public Works Commissioners on BCP’s proposal to invest nearly $1 billion to operate the city's utilities for the next 30 years.

PWC eventually declined the offer. Closed meetings of public bodies are governed by state statutes that limit participation and topics of discussion.

Some of the allegations Waddell made include: Colvin destroyed public records by having his cell phone wiped clean; Colvin was involved in communication with BCP representatives about City Matters without City Council approval and did not state to City Council about the conflict of interest; Members of City Council were contacted by and had discussions with Attorney Johnathan Charleston regarding Dismass Charities before a Special Use Permit was brought before the City Council – which could violate sunshine state law.

Waddell urged the City Council to conduct an independent review of her allegations and that if they fail to do so, “the citizens of this city should begin calling for an investigation of their own regarding corruption of members of the Fayetteville City Council.” She went so far as to suggest that the State Bureau of Investigation of the FBI probe BCP involvement with Mayor Colvin.

In a follow up interview with RUD:E Podcast, Waddell said that it is up to the council and the public to follow-up on the allegations.

“I have every expectation that the members of this community will do their due diligence and that they will call me out if the need is there and I'm willing to answer to any accusation made of me. I'm willing to submit to any investigation. I am willing to move forward as a part of whatever this city and this governing body feels is the appropriate course of action,” Waddell said. “I said what I said, and now you take what I said, and you do what you're going to do with it. And if this body chooses to ignore this information, that says a lot about this body."
Waddell said she was honored to have served the city.

As of Nov. 16, the City of Fayetteville Ethics Commission told Up & Coming Weekly that they have "no such investigation related to those allegations, at this time."

An application form is currently available on the city website for anyone interested in filling the seat. Applications are due on Nov. 26. Anyone can apply for the position as long as they are a registered voter, live in District 3, over the age of 21 and is a Fayetteville citizen.

The application form can be found here: https://www.fayettevillenc.gov/Home/Components/Form/Form/900e59e85aba4d1b9207af0d0722a146/4126

A City Council Special Meeting is scheduled for Dec. 6 where the council will appoint the next District 3 representative.

This person would serve in the role until the next election. People who have already declared that they will be campaigning for the district seat in the upcoming election include John Zimmerman, Johnny Gordon and Mario Benavente. The primary election will be on March 8.

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