CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Mayor Foxx is a not a man without controversy. It seems now he is in hot water for appearances of impropriety involving his recent business trip to China.
Last month, I sent emails requesting details on how much the Mayors trip was costing Charlotte tax payers – I never got a response back. Now it appears Eyewitness News has uncovered evidence that Mayor Foxx was having a non profit put up the tab.
What’s worse, he had an assistant “shake down” the non profit when it wasn’t business class? “If this doesn’t smack of impropriety nothing does”, says Walter Young of Charlotte, N.C. “Mayor Foxx actions are embarrassing and reflect badly on Charlotte, N.C. He should step down”, he said.
Now a Charlotte City Councilman is demanding an formal “investigation” into an apparent “threat” made by Mayor Anthony Foxx’s assistant towards a nonprofit group.
Eyewitness News is also reporting the threat Mayor Foxx’s assistant made to the non profit group Friday.
The Charlotte International Cabinet company, a nonprofit group that relies heavily on “city tax dollars” and has a private “Mayor’s travel fund”, agreed to spend $1,350 on a plane ticket for him in economy class for a recent “business” trip to China.
The mayor wasn’t too happy with that and wanted the non profit to “upgrade to business class”, but the Cabinet said no it couldn’t do that.
Mayor Foxx responded that he would buy a business class ticket himself and pay the difference with his own money, about $2,300.
His assistant, Tracy Montross, is then accused of sending a threaten email communication to the head of the nonprofit group to pay for that upgrade or else!
“I’m giving y’all a heads up now. If [it’s] not reimbursed, please expect hell with your presentation to council [at next year’s] budget,” Montross wrote. “This was clearly an extortion or blackmail attempt”, said Don Chambers of Charlotte, N.C., who is also looking into the Mayors expenses in his China trip. Early Sunday morning Eyewitness News obtained documents, sent to the mayor and other city leaders asking for an investigation into the comments made by Montross, which where also leaked to the press.
“For an employee of the city to demand action and in this case money from an individual or agency for services rendered…is not only a fireable offense, but…may be illegal,” wrote Republican city councilman Andy Dulin.
Montross sent the email to the nonprofit while Mayor Foxx was in China without the mayor’s knowledge, supposedly.
After Eyewitness News requested public records and emails about the threat, Montross told the mayor what she had done. Dulin went on to write that he wants the city attorney or an outside investigator to determine whether the email constitutes a quid pro quo demand. More specifically if the mayor knew about it.
City Manager Curt Walton responded to Dulin’s emails hours later saying, “I don’t believe there was quid pro quo, but I will look into that…I understand your concern, but this is a personnel issue and that falls under my authority,” he wrote. Many question that statement as evidence the City manager, a good friend of Mayor Foxx has already made up his mind already before the investigation has begun.
Foxx referred to Montross’ email as “highly inappropriate.” And it appears Montross, will be expected to fall on the sword for this one. Many are wondering if Montross will just come clean and admit the Mayor did know about such things and shed more light on how Mayor Foxx conducts business while in office. Dulin said he would like to set up a meeting with the city manager Monday.
Repeated efforts to contact Montross has been unsuccessful. It is also unclear if the FBI will step in an investigate this situation as a case of political corruption and blackmail.
In common usage, blackmail is a crime involving threats to reveal substantially true or false information about a person to the public, a family member, or associates unless a demand is met. It may be defined as coercion involving threats of physical harm, threat of criminal prosecution, or threats for the purposes of taking the person’s money or property.It is the name of a statutory offence in the United States…Blackmail may also be considered a form of extortion…
A spokesperson for the FBI field office in Charlotte, had “no comment” when asked if the FBI would investigate. The FBI official, who requested not to be named said “As far as I know we haven’t been officially asked to investigate this” he said.