Gboro doubling down on refusal to pay fmr chief’s legal expenses

Greensboro News & Record follows up alt-pub Yes!Weekly’s report that the City of Greensboro will pay Mayor Nancy Vaughan’s legal expenses related to a lawsuit filed by a downtown developer over EPA funds.

As Locker Room pointed out earlier, this news comes the same week as the N.C. Court of Appeals ruling reversing a lower court ruling that the city did not have to reimburse former Police Chief David Wray for his legal expenses related to several lawsuits filed against him over the years. This was not lost on the N&R, and when questioning City Attorney Tom Carruthers, he confirmed that the city would indeed appeal to the state Supreme Court:

Several officers sued the city and Wray for discrimination. They contended that under Wray’s command, the department created a “black book” with pictures of 19 black officers for the “purpose of framing, embarrassing and wrongfully investigating” them.

Carruthers said the city will appeal to the state Supreme Court.

He said Saturday that the Wray situation is different from Vaughan’s. The 1980 policy says the city doesn’t have to pay such legal costs if there is “fraud, corruption or actual malice” involved.

Carruthers said four city managers have taken the position that Wray’s actions were malicious.

So the question is how will the city prove Wray’s actions were malicious, given he has never been charged with a crime and that the so-called “black book” was—if anything—established only after a prostitute alleged she had been molested by a black Greensboro police officer and was not a means of internally targeting black police officers?

I also assume that one of the four city managers to whom Carruthers refers is Mitchell Johnson, who was fired by the City Council in 2009 after it became clear he bungled the Wray situation.

Sam Hieb / Contributing Editor

Sam Hieb is freelance journalist from Greensboro, North Carolina. He is a contributing editor for Carolina Journal and for Piedmont Publius, a blog that focuses on political a...