New Housing Authority Board member has federal criminal record; says should not be an issue

Kenneth Fox disclosed his criminal past on his application for the Rowan County Housing Authority
Kenneth Fox disclosed his criminal past on his application for the Rowan County Housing Authority

SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) - A new appointee to the Rowan County Housing Authority has a federal criminal record and served time for financial crimes, WBTV has learned.

Kenneth Fox, the former mayor of East Spencer, was appointed by the Rowan County Board of Commissioners on Monday to fill one of two vacant seats on the Housing Authority Board.

On his application for the position, Fox admits to have been convicted of a felony.

"In 2006 I plead guilty to mail/wire fraud, as a result of a complicated and complex situation while serving as Mayor of East Spencer," Fox wrote.  I served 30 months in a federal facility, and completed a term of probation.  I completed all requirements for a MBA degree, and expect to receive a PHD in Public Policy and Administration by 2016."

Reached by phone on Thursday, Fox said his criminal record is not an issue.

"I served my debt to society," Fox told WBTV.  "Now I want to do what I can to help."

When asked if he thought his record would be an issue for some, he said he expected it.

"I was sure that they would," Fox said, referring to those who questioned his appointment.

Fox was sentenced to 41 months and served his  time at a medium-security federal prison in Bennettsville, S.C., after being convicted in a bribery scandal.

Federal officials said Fox and wife, Kim, received more than $67,000 in payments that went to them or to a shell company and that Winston-Salem businessman Rick Slade helped the couple fraudulently obtain a mortgage from a Charlotte lender.

In September 2005, Fox pleaded guilty to obtaining property through false pretense and a one count involving conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud, federal program bribery, affecting commerce through extortion, use of mail to promote bribery and promoting money laundering.

Fox was released on November 5, 2009.

Fox, Slade, and former E. Spencer alderman Chris Sharpe, who was also involved in the scandal were ordered to repay the town of East Spencer $1.5 million in restitution.

One Rowan County Commissioner told WBTV that the issue of the federal criminal record involving Fox did not come up in the discussion or vote for his unanimous approval.

An individual familiar with the situation, but who did not want to be named, told WBTV that the criminal record should not matter.

"I believe in giving second chances," the local resident said.  "He has served his time and now wants to do something to help the community."

Also on his application Fox listed his experience in management and administration and indicated a desire to use those qualities to improve housing in Rowan County.