Register of Deeds Ben Small ousted by Commissioners - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Register of Deeds ousted by Commissioners, search underway for replacement

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CONCORD, N.C. (WBTV) -

Before he could even start his position as the newly-elected Register of Deeds in Cabarrus County, Ben Small has been ousted from his position.

Cabarrus County Commissioners voted 4-1 Monday night to reject a bond for Small, then voted to vacate the office and begin the nomination process for a new register of deeds.

According to spokeswoman Kasia Thompson, the vote came after a closed session with Small, county attorney Rich Koch and several others. There was also a discussion in open session on Monday afternoon.

The vote came in open session, following the closed session and the open discussion, Thompson told WBTV.

No deeds could be recorded and other business couldn't take place Monday at the Cabarrus Register of Deeds because Small did not have a county-approved bond of $50,000 in place.

Small was a practicing attorney in Concord for nearly 10 years until his law license was suspended in July by the N.C. State Bar after a disciplinary hearing committee found wrong-doing in his practice.

Last week, Commissioners delayed approval of a bond for Small after the original bonding company denied his application.

Small did later provide a $50,000 surety bond, but the county attorney told the board that there were "technical defects" in the bond. Small wasn't able to take office without a bond being in place.

Commissioners were concerned that the bonding company might use the technicalities as an excuse to cancel the bond if there was ever a claim, WBTV has learned.

They wanted to know why his original request for a bond was denied, but the bonding company and Small refused to answer the question.

The county issued a press release on Monday stating the register of deeds office remained open, but was "temporarily functioning for limited business only."

That meant the office could not record deeds and documents, issue birth certificates, death certificates, marriage certificates or marriage licenses. The office also couldn't swear in any notaries public or make certified copies.

They called the limitation the "result of the transition to a new Register of Deeds."

The office returned to normal operations on Tuesday.

McAbee retired at the end of her term on Friday. County officials said the office operate under her bond.

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