Asheville Reporter

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Monday, February 17, 2020

Buncombe County takes accused former commissioner's name off government building

Local Government

By Angela Watson | Dec 27, 2019

Buncombe County Commission

The William H. Stanley Center in Buncombe County is again named 35 Woodfin after county commissioners voted to strip its former moniker after its namesake was accused of illegal activity in a federal corruption case. 

Former Assistant County Manager Jon Creighton said in a deposition related to the case involving elected officials and county employees that former Commissioner William H. Stanley accepted gifts from contractor Joseph Wiseman, who was sentenced to 37 months in federal prison for his role in the case. Stanley was never charged, but the county commissioners voted to take his name off the building, nonetheless.

Buncombe County Commission Chairman Brownie Newman acknowledged Stanley’s positive contributions to the commission but called his alleged actions a clear violation of trust. 

“We felt it was just to remove his name from the county building,” Newman said. 

Creighton is currently serving 18 months in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy in the corruption case. 

The renaming of the building is the latest chapter for a county government marred by scandal and a 2-year federal investigation into misuse of public funds that led to criminal charges and prison time for many of the defendants. 

Buncombe County was the primary client from 2014 to 2017 of Wiseman, who was accused of padding his firm's invoices to fund luxury trips for others named in the case. 

Others in the case include Wanda Greene, Greene’s son, Michael, and Mandy Stone.

Wanda Greene, a former Buncombe County manager, was called the “architect of a culture of corruption” by the judge who handed down her 7-year sentence. She was also fined $100,000. 

Her son Michael, a former business intelligence manager for the county, received a 6-month sentence and was fined $5,000. 

Stone became manager after Greene retired and is serving a 33-month sentence for her role in the case. 

Stone and Creighton were fined $15,000 and $25,000, respectively.  

Buncombe County has filed a civil suit against Greene, her son, Creighton, Stone, and Wiseman. 

A civil suit was also filed against former commissioner Ellen Frost who pleaded not guilty to federal charges. She’s accused of misusing nearly $600,000 for equestrian activities. 

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