UPDATE 10:00 PM - A statement put out by Buncombe County commissioners Tuesday evening seemed to name the contractor in the indictment as Joseph Wiseman. The full statement reads -
"The Buncombe County Board of Commissioners after having received a copy of the indictments against Wanda Greene, Mandy Stone, and Jon Creighton, requested legal counsel to review any contracts that the County may have entered into with Joseph Wiseman, Jr., or any entities with whom he is or has been associated, and to advise the County Commissioners on what actions the County should take. Specifically, the Commissioners have requested legal counsel to review any contracts which may still be in existence to determine how to proceed and instructed counsel to take any appropriate steps against Mr. Wiseman and his companies as well as others named in the indictment to recover any monies that were expended as a part of the fraudulent scheme set forth in the indictment."
EARLIER STORY -
Federal prosecutors have indicted former Buncombe County manager Wanda Greene for a third time, while also charging two other high-level former county employees. Named in the indictment announced Tuesday were Greene, former Buncombe County assistant manager and head of the county department of planning and development Jon Creighton, and former interim county manager and director of the county's department of social services Mandy Stone. Each faces wire fraud, conspiracy, receipt of bribes, and federal program fraud charges.
Greene retired at the end of June of 2017 after 20 years in her post. Creighton retired at the end of 2017 after 32 years as the head of planning and development. Stone retired at the end of June 2018. She worked in county government for more than 30 years and spent her last 11 months as Greene's interim replacement as county manager.
Prosecutors allege the trio accepted trips, expensive meals, tickets to sporting events, and other gifts from a contractor, who is unnamed in the indictment. That contractor "was an agent and contractor on behalf of three businesses that obtained more than $15-million in contracts from Buncombe County for consulting and engineering services" from the mid 1980's until 2018 according to the indictment. Greene, Creighton, and Stone are accused accepting a variety of all-expenses paid trips to locales such as Key West, Martha’s Vineyard, Napa Valley, and international destinations including Vienna, Budapest, and Cartagena since 2014. The trio are also accused of charging the county for money to pay airfare for some of the trips, claiming they were attending meetings for official county business. During those trips, the trio also received per diem payments from the county, and also did not use vacation days for them. Under a program county employees could redeem unused vacation time for cash payments, and all three did so according to the indictment.
“Rooting out public corruption at all levels of government is one of my Office’s most critical responsibilities,” said U.S. Attorney Murray in a statement. John Strong, Special Agent in Charge of he FBI Charlotte Field Office added, “When public officials put aside the best interest of the American public and choose to line their own pockets, we are all impacted. These type of crimes are at the center of the fight against public corruption."
Wanda Greene had already been charged twice this year in separate indictments. In the first, she and her son Michael (also a former county employee) were accused of misusing Buncombe County-owned credit cards for thousands of dollars of personal purchases. Michael Greene plead guilty to one charge in the that case last month. In the second indictment, Wanda Greene was accused of fraudulently using county money to purchase life insurance policies for several high level county employees, and then cashing out one of hers upon retirement to pay for a real estate purchase in Tennessee. County commissioners were unaware of her actions according to prosecutors.