Former Buncombe County commissioner Ellen Frost plead guilty Monday morning in federal court to one charge of conspiracy to commit fraud.
The 65-year-old was indicted last year on accusations that she - along with former county manager Wanda Greene - fraudulently used taxpayer funds to promote the Tryon Equestrian Center and a similar facility in Florida. The pair allegedly benefitted personally from the spending. Frost owned horses, and stabled some of them at a farm near the Tryon Center, where some of her horses were shown according to the indictment. Prosecutors allege that Frost and Greene attempted to coverup the expenditures by claiming the funds were used to advertise the Asheville Regional Airport at equestrian events in North Carolina and Florida. The spending was done without the knowledge of the full board of county commissioners according to prosecutors.
The indictment against Frost was handed down after Greene agreed to co-operate with prosecutors. Greene was indicted three separate times for fraud after she retired in 2017. She plead guilty to a variety of charges last year. Frost was first elected to the county board in 2012, and won reelection two years later. The Democrat did not run for reelection in 2018. She faces up to five years in prison when sentenced. A date for that sentencing has not been set.