Reality Check: Wanda Greene violated policy with spending on her county-issued credit card
Records show that from October 2007 through February 2011 former Buncombe County Manager Wanda Greene's county credit card charges exceeded $208,000.
Previous stories involved spending on other people's county credit cards, but News 13 found in an average month Greene spent more than $5,000 on her card. On July 7, 2008, Greene spent $3,506.38 at Target and $579.57 at T.J.Maxx.
Buncombe County doesn't have a record of when Greene first got a county credit card. The first purchases on record are $16.49 at Corner Stone Restaurant and $95.24 at Barnes & Noble on Oct. 5, 2007.
On Dec. 6, 2007, Greene spent $2,500 at Walmart. That same day, she spent $2,510 at a different Walmart. A 2004 purchasing policy imposed a $5,000 transaction limit. Combined, the expenses exceed the limit, but divided they do not.
County Attorney Michael Frue said the law requires officials to keep receipts for three years, so there are no receipts from any of Greene's purchases. That means there is no way to find out what Greene bought and no way to verify that county business required the purchases.
News 13 also cannot learn more about charges like one on June 28, 2009, for $765.50 at the Space Needle Restaurant. We do know that in May, June and July 2008, Greene spent more than $42,000 combined. Two months later, the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners updated the policy, imposing a $10,000 monthly spending limit.
Greene violated that policy, exceeding the monthly limit in June and August 2009. The policy states, "Violations may result in card cancellation ..." Greene continued to have a county credit card for a time.
Greene last made a purchase on Feb. 10, 2011. It was a $25 charge for AT&T data. The county won't say why Greene stopped having a credit card.
"The are no records responsive to this request," Frue said.
We know the federal investigation includes county credit card purchases made on other people's cards.
In late 2013, an email shows Greene asked a lower level employee to buy about $4,000 worth of gift cards. Greene explained she was asking this person, "Because you've done it before and understand." According to a federal search warrant this employee and another former assistant say Greene used their county credit cards. It's not the first time Greene is accused of doing that.
Greene got divorced in 2010. In that paperwork, her ex-husband accused Greene of getting his credit card number after their separation and buying items without his permission.
The county is reviewing its credit card policy. Spokesperson Kassi Day said county manager Mandy Stone is preparing to make a presentation on the issue in early April.
News 13 initially got a spreadsheet of Greene's county credit card expenses from Buncombe County in response to a record request. However, News 13 obtained a second spread sheet from a different government source. The second spreadsheet included $80,000 in additional purchases.
Frue apologized for the confusion and said the second sheet is accurate and complete to the best of county officials' knowledge.
In response to multiple questions Wanda Greene's attorney wrote, "My client, Wanda Greene, intends to fully discuss this and other matters with the investigators. Given the fact that this investigation is ongoing, my client will not be making any further comment," said Thomas Amburgey.