LANDIS, NC (WBTV) - Longtime Landis town manager Reed Linn and Ginger Gibson, town finance officer, resigned following a criminal investigation into town finances.
Police uncovered “substantial evidence of possible criminal activity" during an investigation of town finances, Mayor Mike Mahaley said in a letter Thursday.
The NC State Bureau of Investigation is conducting the criminal investigation, per a request from the Rowan County District Attorney. The investigation is still in its early stages.
Linn and Gibson have resigned effective immediately.
Monday night, Mahaley announced the Linn was expected to step down in March.
In a letter to the board, Linn said he was stepping down in order to spend more time with his family.
“When he sent the letter to us, about his retirement, he mentioned a loss," said board member Tommy Garver. "Just for your information, his wife’s mother passed away recently...and she has been ill for a quite a good time and I feel he needs this time to be with his family, support his wife, for the loss in their family.”
Linn had planned to remain in his post as the town’s fire chief.
The board went into closed session at one point, then announced that police chief Kenny Isenhour would take over as interim town manager.
Dozens of residents spoke at the meeting, many concerned about town spending.
Town officials, including Mahaley and town attorney Rick Locklear, downplayed the spending concerns and the timing of Linn’s decision, saying that a recent Salisbury Post article citing concerns from the Local Government Commission about financial issues in the town was “fake news.”
“There are others out there snickering and laughing at us because somebody picked up a letter somewhere misinterpreted it, used as a spark to divide us and turn us against one another,” Locklear said. “That’s the one thing that we can’t do.”
According to the SBI, an unnamed third person is also being looked at in the investigation.