Greene, Creighton and Stone arraigned in federal court
On Monday, three former Buncombe County leaders accused of accepting kickbacks from a contractor were arraigned in federal court. Former County Manager Wanda Greene, former County Manager Mandy Stone, and former Assistant County Manager Jon Creighton all pleaded not guilty and requested a jury trial.
When the former Buncombe County officials arrived at court they were met by local demonstrators.
The three were indicted earlier this month on federal charges of wire fraud, aiding and abetting and conspiracy.
As a result, Buncombe County commissioners have voted to terminate all open contracts with contractor Joseph Wiseman, Jr. and any companies he's affiliated with.
The judge, on Monday, barred the co-defendants from speaking with one another. They were released on bond on a number of conditions.
Those included not communicating with any current, or past county employee; however, the judge said Mandy Stone could communicate with her brother and nephew, who are current employees. The judge said Jon Creighton could communicate with his wife, who is a former employee. The judge said Wanda Greene could communicate with his son, a former employee who pleaded guilty. The judge said the defendants could not communicate with their relatives about this case.
The U.S. Government says Greene, Stone, and Creighton accepted gifts and trips in exchange for giving Wiseman county business. The vacation destinations include Vienna, Austria, Key West, FL, and San Francisco, CA.
The gifts include thousands of dollars of wine bought in Napa Valley. One of the conditions for the former county officials to leave court was they cannot consume alcohol.
Wanda Greene also pleaded not guilty to filing several years of false tax returns. She's accused of knowingly claiming to earn less money than she actually did as well as not reporting income received through embezzlement. Greene is also accused of not claiming income from her whole life insurance policy, which she's charged with illegally buying in a separate indictment.
On her 2018 tax return, the indictment says Greene claimed a $37,000 loss from a business named, "Buncombe County." The indictment says Greene claimed to be the sole owner of this business.
The judge announced a status hearing on this case for the end of September.