Guilty Pleas Don't Necessarily Mean The End Of The Greene Saga
Former Buncombe County manager Wanda Greene plead guilty last week to charges leveled against her in three separate indictments that were handed down last year. Her plea mean all four former county employees who were charged by federal prosecutors last year have plead guilty - Greene, her son Michael, and former assistant county managers Jon Creighton and Mandy Stone. But that doesn't mean the corruption investigation that shook county government to the core is done. Asheville Citizen-Times reporter Jennifer Bowman broke many stories as the investigation unfolded. She joined BPR's Matt Bush for an update on the latest news regarding the Greene scandal.
EXCERPTS OF INTERVIEW
Does the guilty plea from Wanda Greene mean the end of the investigation? - "According to the U.S. Attorney's office it's not. They continue to describe the investigation as ongoing. Where it may go to next is unknown publicly. There is one name out there who was not been indicted, and that is Joseph Wiseman. He's the contractor (who's accused of giving trips and other gifts to Wanda Greene, Jon Creighton, and Mandy Stone) who's kind of sending mixed signals, or at the very least disputing what three former county officials have pleaded guilty to."
What's left for prosecutors to find? - "At this point I really don't know. The previous indictments are really wide ranging. And I think everyone, at least from the public's perspective, has seen Wanda Greene as the big fish. But what I think this investigation has revealed is don't be surprised by any indictment. And I think it revealed some serious issues in county government about how much power an administrator can have, and how much oversight or little oversight commissioners have."
What length jail sentences are the former county officials facing? - "It's pretty wide-ranging. From as little as zero to six months for Michael Greene, up to seven years for Wanda Greene. Mandy Stone and Jon Creighton have a three to four year possible sentence, which is close to the maximum penalty for pleading guilty to a conspiracy charge. But these are just initial numbers that are laid out in a plea agreement, pretty much what the prosecutors and defense attorneys have agreed to recommend. In federal courts, a judge has a lot of flexibility in sentencing. All the judge has to abide by is the maximum sentence, which for Michael Greene, Mandy Stone, and Jon Creighton is five years. For Wanda Greene...it's up to 33 years."