Criminal JusticeNews

Raided home linked to Developer who was paid Millions by County

By Clint Parker-  Henderson County – A home at 59 Fairway Falls Road at the High Vista Golf Course, where a raid by federal and state agents took place on May 22, has been linked to a developer/contractor who has performed work for and sold property to Buncombe County.

This home which was raided in High Vista Country Club has been connected to a developer/contractor who sold the current county commissioners office building to Buncombe County. Photo by Chad Nesbitt.

The Leicester Leader published an article on May 23, 2019, about the raid that took place on May 22. In that article, several anonymous sources told the Leader former Buncombe County Manager Wanda Greene had been seen at the home.

Developer Greg Edney of Northwest Property Group, who built and sold the building at 200 College Street to Buncombe County for nearly $10 million, listed the home’s address as his residence on incorporation papers filed with the North Carolina Secretary of State in Raleigh.

In that article, Henderson County Sheriff Department’s Major Frank Stout told the Leader, “The Henderson County Sheriff’s Department did assist with the raid by having one unmarked vehicle at the entrance of the road.” Stout said, “The raid was conducted by the IRS and the State Bureau of Investigation.” The Henderson County Sheriff’s Department did not know the reason for the raid.

Greene’s attorney, Thomas Amburgey, contacted the Leader after the article appeared and said, “My client has never lived in that house and has no association with Mr. Edney.” Asked if she had ever lived in the High Vista subdivision? Amburgey said, “I can’t answer to that.” While Amburgey stated his client “…has no association…” his client [Greene] was at least acquainted with Edney since Edney had business dealings with the county and according to one set of documents obtained by the Leader Edney addressed them to Greene and they were, according to the documents themselves, hand-delivered to Greene.

In an investigation into Edney, the Leader found his name mentioned on the North Carolina Secretary of State’s website. There a Greg Edney, Gregory Edney or Gregory A. Edney was listed as a registered agent for 44 different companies. Some of those companies listed several addresses for Edney, one of which was the 59 Fairway Falls Road home.
The Leader sent an email request to the Buncombe County Finance Department asking for copies of any payments made to Edney or any company where Edney was listed as the registered agent. The request was forwarded to the Buncombe County Attorney’s Office.

Greene has pled guilty in Federal Court to being involved in a kickback scheme that defrauded taxpayers of Buncombe County of millions of dollars.

After several weeks, the Leader has received over 50 pages of financial dealings Edney had with the county including the contract to buy 200 College Street. The building is where the county commissioners’ offices are currently located along with other county offices. The purchase price for the structure according to the agreement was $9.5 million in 2009. The document is signed by Edney along with then Buncombe County Commissioner David Gantt.

Greene has pled guilty in Federal Court to being involved in a kickback scheme that defrauded taxpayers of Buncombe County of millions of dollars. It is not clear if the May 22 raid by federal and state agents is connected to the kickback scheme or not. The Leader attempted to contact Edney at a Hendersonville Road address listed on forms recorded with the secretary of state. The newspaper also called a number found on the internet that was associated with his company. Edney’s office was no longer at the address and the phone number had been disconnected.

Asked about Edney and any dealings with the county he might have had, Buncombe County Attorney Michael Frue told the Leader, “Yeah. Originally he was Northwest Properties. He built this building, [and] a number of other buildings, and that building across from the brewpub on Merrimon Avenue.” Asked if former County Manager Greene was in charge of the dealings with Edney? Frue declined to comment.

A sentencing date for Greene has reportedly been set for August 28 in the Federal Courthouse in Asheville.
Editor’s note: Freelance reporter Chad Nesbitt wrote the original report and contributed to this report.

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