The letter addressed to me contained no return address and was postmarked October 18, 2016. When I opened the letter, it was signed as “Concerned Citizen-Whistleblower.” The letter alleges wrongdoing by Commissioner Johnny Hutchins regarding misuse of a County Credit Card for Boondoggle trips to Las Vegas and other places as well as future information regarding a sex scandal at Cleveland Community College. I won’t describe the contents of the letter any further as I am including the letter at the end of this article so you can read the letter for yourself.
As soon as I received the letter I quickly sent a request to the Cleveland County Government (Commissioners) for certain public records that would show the truth or falsity of the allegations. The Cleveland County Commissioners and staff have refused to provide those records to me for inspection in a timely manner. As The 2016 Elections voting is already underway and the information requested was important, I asked for these records by the close of business Friday, October 28, 2016. There has been no acknowledgement from Commissioner Hutchins or anybody else regarding the letter, so at this point I will simply provide my request correspondence to the Commissioners as well as the letter itself and everybody involved will just have to answer to the public at the ballot box.
My request to Commissioners for this information, which copied ALL the Commissioners, the County Clerk, the County Manager, the County Attorneys and the County Community Services Director. My request stated:
I received the attached letter that was mailed to me, with no return address, through the US Postal Service postmarked October 18, 2016 and opened tonight. The letter as you can see was signed “Concerned Citizen-Whistle Blower.”
I have no idea who sent the letter or the truthfulness of the letter.
However, the allegations are significant and the information noted in the letter resides in public documents and public information. Therefore, I am requesting, under the Freedom of Information Act as well as North Carolina Public Records laws, the following:
1. All documents related to the justification as well as travel and expenses as alleged in the attached letter.
2. Any statements Cleveland County Officials care to make regarding the letter and its factual content.
Since the election day is only days away, with early voting already underway, I would appreciate the requested documents and information by close of business this Friday as I intend to publish this letter this weekend with the information I have in hand at that time.
Thanks in advance for your prompt response.
Robert A. Williams