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Buncombe County sues former county manager Wanda Greene and her son

Wanda Greene walks out of federal court on Wednesday, June 13, 2018. Buncombe County has filed a civil lawsuit against former county manager Wanda Greene and her son, Michael, for their alleged misuse of county funds, among other claims. (Photo credit: WLOS Staff)

Buncombe County has filed a civil lawsuit against former county manager Wanda Greene and her son, Michael, for their alleged misuse of county funds, among other claims.

The suit includes accusations contained in two federal indictments regarding life insurance policies, gift card purchases and other personal purchases.

The suit also makes new claims, including then commission chairman David Gantt's signature was forged on documents that authorized Greene's early retirement bonus.

The lawsuit says Wanda Greene received bonus payments totaling $241,185.22 -- a year’s salary -- from August 2016 until June 2017. These payments were for an early retirement retention bonus Greene reportedly gave herself and other employees so they would not retire early.

A copy of the contract for Greene’s early retirement bonus the county previously provided was unsigned. The lawsuit claims payments were authorized with paperwork that had the forged signature of Gantt.

“David Gantt did not sign any of the foregoing Personnel Action Forms and did not authorize anyone else to sign such Personnel Action Form in his name and on his behalf,” the suit said.

Gantt released the following statement Wednesday after the lawsuit was filed:

“The vast majority of people who work for Buncombe County are honest and hard working. I have total confidence in the investigations of the US Attorney’s Office (criminal) and former Judge Ron Payne (civil) to reveal the truth and facts behind the indictments. I will continue to fully cooperate with all investigations until the Buncombe County taxpayers have been given a complete assessment of any misuse of government money.”

The suit also claims when Greene retired she, “Falsely represented to Buncombe County,” the amount of paid time off she was entitled to receive and was overpaid.

The suit says, “At the time of Greene’s retirement, none of the county commissioners knew ...” about the gift cards, things bought with county credit cards, signatures the suit says are forged, and the life insurance policies.

Commissioner Brownie Newman said Wednesday that commissioners did not know about the existence of Mandy Stone’s life insurance policy when she was appointed as Greene's successor.

The county says all employees, except for the Greenes, have reassigned their policies to Buncombe County.

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