Up & Coming Weekly has dedicated next week’s issue to the Hope Mills investigation. Jeff Thompson, Earl Vaughan Jr. and I have each written an article to cover the investigation.
However, this has become a developing story.
Wednesday night James Cauley presented the results of his investigation to the Board of Commissioners. He began by explaining who he interviewed and what information he was provided to examine. He asked Commissioner Larson to hold up the binder of ‘evidence’ she’d presented to him at the onset of the investigation.
Some of that information made it’s way to a former Mayoral candidate who read it in a video that was shared around Facebook last Fall. Cauley addressed the information during his presentation which cleared the Mayor and staff of any wrongdoing. But Commissioners Larson and Mitchell weren’t satisfied with Cauley’s findings. Once his presentation concluded Larson dredged up the old accusations…
“One of the other questions I have – um – as far as FCEDC filling out paperwork as the owner of the property – he (Teddy Warner) filled out the owner survey – how is that possible that someone fills out paperwork listing themselves as the owner of Hope Mills property…and being legal?”
Let’s be clear…Cauley was already aware that Teddy Warner listed himself as the property owner. We were ALL aware of it…ya know…because of the video. And no one but Larson cared.
The rookie made mistakes…
What Teddy Warner did is standard operating procedure. My husband is the airfield manager of a major military installation. He doesn’t own the airfield…he manages it. Which means he fills out paperwork and signs for projects continuously…as the customer. Melissa Adams, as the town manager, signs for things within the town. She doesn’t own the town…she doesn’t think she owns the town, she’s the customer.
FCEDC contracted with an outside agency to conduct soil tests on lake bed #2, as such they were the customer. As the customer, they paid for the project and they filled out the paperwork. In the infamous video, it’s mentioned on several occasions that Teddy indicated Hope Mills owns the property.
“In conclusion, while the town’s dealings with the Lone Survivor Foundation left a bad impression on those involved, it does not appear to this investigator to be due to intentional ethical lapses or any intentional misconduct on the part of the town staff, Mayor, or any elected official, the EDC, or the Lone Survivor Foundation.”
“Instead, it is attributed to a combination of rookie mistakes, changing governance policies,including inviting the foundation into the initial closed session briefing with the board, the board’s initial warm reception of the foundation, that to those foundation officials was never satisfactorily explained to them, and changes going on at that time in the Mayor and board’s relationship.” Cauley
After Larson’s question Cauley explained, again, that Teddy Warner was authorized by the town to conduct soil testing. The customer agency can legally fill out the paperwork. He didn’t break the law or assume ownership of the land. He just did his job.
It’s unfortunate Larson was unaware of this procedure, a lot of confusion and accusations could have been avoided if she was more knowledgeable on these issues. But it’s unforgivable that she didn’t simply ask someone about it. She has access to a highly trained and incredibly experienced staff. Why didn’t she simply defer to the experts instead of launching a crusade?
This showed up today on a local blog. It’s an excerpt from a very long list of emails…enough to fill a 3-inch thick 3-ring binder.
It’s evident that Mitchel and Larson will never accept the results of Cauley’s investigation. They wasted $26,000 of our money on an investigation based on accusations they fabricated because they’re too unfamiliar with policy and too focused on their own agendas.
And now, history is repeating itself…they’re using social media and their followers to discredit Cauley and his investigation because the results weren’t what they wanted to hear. We’ve watched them do it to Rachel Cotter, Fleming and former staff member Hector Cruz.
Remember…you can’t fix stupid…but you can vote it out