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City Council committee says it can’t discuss Waddell allegations

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Councilman Johnny Dawkins said any discussion about the allegations isn’t permitted under the Audit Committee’s charter

By Greg Barnes

The Fayetteville City Council took no action at a work session Monday night to discuss whether an investigation of allegations by former City Council member Tisha Waddell is warranted.

City Councilman Johnny Dawkins, as chairman of the council’s Audit Committee, put the request for discussion on the work session agenda.

But Dawkins said he later learned that the Audit Committee doesn’t appear to have the authority under its charter to ask whether an investigation is warranted. He said the N.C. School of Government shared a similar opinion.

“I believe it's an item that we don’t need to move forward on,” Dawkins said.

In mid-November, Waddell abruptly resigned from the council, leaving behind a five-page letter of resignation that made numerous allegations concerning Mayor Mitch Colvin and others.

Waddell said she became so frustrated with what she calls the council’s lack of transparency and a failure to follow protocol that she resigned.

Many of her allegations pertain to now-ended negotiations with Bernhard Capital Partners, which wanted to enter into an agreement to operate the Fayetteville Public Works Commission for 30 years in exchange for an upfront payment and debt relief totaling more than $750 million.

After the work session, which lasted about five hours, Colvin called Waddell’s allegations baseless. He said he had little else to say about the matter until Waddell provides anything of substance.

“I’m calling for specifics to this baseless stuff,” Colvin said. “Ms. Waddell has to put up or move on.”

In her resignation letter, Waddell said that if the council doesn’t investigate her allegations, the city’s residents should take it upon themselves to call for a state or federal investigation into “corruption of members of the City Council.”

Tuesday morning, Waddell said the Audit Committee’s request was to have the council discuss whether the allegations warranted an investigation -- not the committee itself.

“That council has the authority to discuss and hear these allegations,” Waddell said. “That's their job. So I would question who can if they can’t, when that is their job.”

Waddell said she would wait and see what happens next.

“If this is the end, this is the end,” she said. “I've done my job. I have brought the information forward. I have said what I've had to say. It is the citizens of this city, it is the council's responsibility. It's on them now. I've done what I can do. I have no further obligation or any further mission in this situation. It is what it is. And if this council continues to decide that they will not police the actions of one another and they will not evaluate the actions of their staff, there's nothing that I as a citizen can do about that.”

Greg Barnes is an investigative reporter for CityView TODAY.
He can be reached at gregbarnes401@gmail.com.


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