SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) - The local political action committee known as La Resistance says that seven of the eight candidates running for the Rowan County Commission have signed a letter stating that current commissioners should wait until after the election to consider filing any lawsuit regarding the purchase and use of the former Salisbury Mall, now known as the West End Plaza.
In a news release provided to WBTV, La Resistance says "Seven of the eight candidates for three seats on the Rowan County Board of Commissioners signed a letter requesting that the current commissioners wait to file any suit against the City of Salisbury until after the new board has been elected and sworn in, in December of this year. Candidates Raymond Coltrain, Judy Klusman, Leda Belk, Rick Locklear, Jim Greene, Gene Miller and Greg Edds signed the letter, which was organized through the trans-partisan political committee La Resistance, asking for the delay. The only candidate who refused to sign was Chris Cohen."
"We the undersigned candidates request that Rowan County stand down on suing the City of Salisbury. This lawsuit will only result in spending more taxpayer money on the Salisbury Mall project while continuing to damage relations with the Salisbury City Council. We request that Rowan County Government cease all current actions on the Salisbury Mall project, including the discussed litigation."
"The new Rowan County Board of Commission, elected in November, and seated in December, should handle all decisions related to the Salisbury Mall purchase and redevelopment."
The talk of a lawsuit came about, as the letter states, after the Salisbury City Council voted 4-1 to deny a special use permit to Rowan County that would have allowed the county to use the West End Plaza for government services. County leaders had talked about moving several officers to the mall space, including the Department of Social Services, Board of Elections, and others.
Todd Paris of La Resistance told WBTV that he was not surprised that Cohen refused to sign.
"We believe Chris Cohen is the Tea Party candidate," Paris told WBTV. "We were not surprised he did not sign the letter. We gave him until midnight last night to sign it and he had a chance to review it."
Candidate Chris Cohen, who is running as an unaffiliated candidate, told WBTV that he didn't see the point in signing the letter, saying it was a "tactic to manipulate the election."