On July 19th Commissioner Larson announced in the private group known as The Chatter she wouldn’t be seeking reelection, but would be supporting Commissioner Mitchell in his bid for the mayor’s seat. On July 23rd the first article appeared, authored by her good friend Lisa Waring, slandering Mayor Jackie Warner.
For those following the situation, the article wasn’t particularly surprising. Larson has danced across the line of good taste for more than a year, using radio talk shows and her relationship with Waring to push a one sided narrative and to further her belief that Warner is guilty of…pretty much everything.
Larson has repeatedly denied having a grudge against the Mayor or of using her elected position to discredit Mayor Warner. The July 23rd article, and those that followed prove otherwise. Ironically, Larson herself is guilty of doing everything she alleges the Mayor did. And there’s proof.
From the July 23rd article – Instead of addressing the entire article…I’m going to break it down as several different articles and post over the course of several days.
“The filing period for municipal offices is over, and one incumbent on the town Board of Commissioners has decided not to run for reelection in November. Her reasons are disheartening but understandable. In a nutshell, Commissioner Meg Larson says she is tired of working in a climate of bully politics, mistrust and personal agendas.” Lisa Waring
Ironically, it’s Larson and Mitchell who created a climate of bully politics, mistrust and personal agendas. The two commissioners have consistently bullied and undermined the Mayor for more than a year. But they’ve also bullied the employees of McAdams Group, veterans, the staff and the citizens of Hope Mills.
July 18, 2018 Larson sends an email to the elected bemoaning LSf being placed on the July 23rd agenda. In it she warns them if the presentation goes forward it could prove embarrassing for the town…and the board.
July 23, 2018 Larson accused the Mayor of knowing more about the LSF offer than she’d led the Board to believe. During the same meeting Commissioner Bellflowers shouted at the Mayor, insinuating she was part of some conspiracy to bring the project to fruition. Bellflowers later admitted he and the other Commissioners were misled by Commissioner Larson to believe Mayor Warner conspired with her son and members of the LSf contingency to rush the deal through. Remember, the Mayor doesn’t vote on these issues. She simply runs the meetings while the five Commissioners vote on every issue. Warner couldn’t have manipulated the vote.
These accusations would eventually lead to the $28,000 investigation which exonerated the Mayor of any wrongdoing.
During the same time period the town won the prestigious National Rehabilitation Project of the Year Award from the Annual Association of State Dams Safety Officials (ASDSO). Legge immediately made a motion to send the town manager to Seattle to receive the award. Commissioner Edwards suggested Mayor Warner be allowed to go as well and the entire board just sat there. This conversation is also in the July 23rd video linked above. (Read article here)
Warner offered to pay for her own travel and accommodations if they would, by consensus, agree that she could go, and again they just sat there. Unlike most of this Board, Warner was involved with the dam litigation from the beginning. She traveled at her own expense back and forth to Raleigh and Cary to attend every hearing and the arbitration. After denying the Mayor this opportunity, Larson used her official social media account to boast about the town’s win.
July 27th 2018 The Hope Mills Chamber of Commerce intervened on Warner’s behalf…
“Mayor Warner has been working diligently and steadfast on the dam project for nearly four years and has played a vital role in acquiring the settlement to rebuild the damn and replenish the lake. Mayor Warner is the ambassador for the town of Hope Mills. It is only proper and fitting that she accompany Town Manager Adams in accepting this most prestigious and well-earned award.”
And still the Board of Commissioners refused to let Mayor Warner attend the award presentation.
August 17th 2018 Commissioner Mitchell attempted to prevent town staff from attending a political meet and greet for a local representative when he sent an email to the town manager saying “I find it inappropriate for the town to support a campaign event and fundraiser for any candidate”
Mitchell’s actions were a violation of North Carolina General Statute 160A-169 which states ‘Employees shall not be restricted from affiliating with civic organizations of a partisan or political nature, nor shall employees, while off duty, be restricted from attending political meetings, or advocating and supporting the principles or policies of civic or political organizations, or supporting partisan or nonpartisan candidates of their choice in accordance with the Constitution and laws of the State and the Constitution and laws of the United States of America.’ (Read article here)
When confronted with the information this week Mitchell claimed he was only objecting to the email being sent to the staff through the town’s official email network. Clearly, that’s not what his email said.
July 30 2018 Mitchell and Larson plagued the McAdams Group rep with emails and phone calls, insisting they add lake bed #2 to the properties being evaluated. And as the email below suggests, Mitchell wasn’t above veiled threats when their calls weren’t returned in what he considered a timely manner.
Commissioners aren’t allowed to contact outside agencies. Protocol dictates they send all correspondence through the town manager. The town, and not the Board of Commissioners is the customer and entity which contracted with McAdams Group. But that didn’t stop them from calling and emailing McAdams Group whenever they wanted.
October 22nd 2018 the Board met in a closed session. Moments later Mayor Warner left the closed session in tears because Mitchell and Larson were attacking her family again.
October 25th 2018 Larson proposed a new ordinance preventing any Board member from hearing an offer to buy or lease municipal land without the entire board present. This was in reference to their continued belief that Warner had conspired with various groups to sell land to LSF. The ordinance failed to receive a super majority of votes so it was placed on the agenda for the next meeting. The ordinance passed on November 5, when Larson, Mitchell and Legge voted for it. (Read the article here)
November 5th 2018 the Mayor addressed the unofficial investigation which Larson had launched. She indicated members of the Board of Commissioners were harassing FCEDC staff with requests for emails, invoices and receipts and had even tasked the town attorney with submitting requests as well. Dan Hartzog, the town attorney, read the most recent email response from the FCEDC president, indicating that FCEDC paid for all of the tests prior to the LSF offer. This corroborated the allegations by Warner that a private investigation had been happening behind the scenes, and that the town attorney had been used to procure information.
Larson wasn’t mentioned in either statement, but declared the Mayor’s allegations ‘unfair’. Warner gaveled Larson for her outburst and Larson shouted again. (Read article here)
Commissioners aren’t allowed to act independent of one another and without consent from their fellow board members. At no point prior to this meeting had the Board voted to authorize Commissioner Larson to conduct an investigation into the Mayor.
I’m going to stop here. Not because these are all of the instances of Larson and Mitchell bullying people, but because by November there was already an overwhelming amount of evidence.
And I want to point out two significant details…
First – while their camp has consistently referred to this site as ‘fake news’ I ALWAYS provide evidence to support every article. Follow the dozens of links above to see for yourself. You can also click HERE to watch videos of every single public meeting and click HERE to review the minutes of those meetings.
And remember, the minutes are legal documents signed and certified as authentic by the entire board. Except of course the minutes from the closed session on June 4th. Investigator Cauley found evidence the official minutes did NOT match eyewitness testimony of what actually occurred during the presentation from LSF. It’s on the video from the May 29th meeting.
Second – they won’t provide you with a single piece of evidence to back up anything they say. They never have.