Former Charlotte city councilman moves on from president role at construction company after six months

The former councilman provided a statement about his sudden departure on Monday.
Published: Jul. 19, 2021 at 4:48 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Former Charlotte city councilman James “Smuggie” Mitchell is moving on from his role as president of RJ Leeper after only six months.

A 20-year politician, Mitchell resigned from his job as Charlotte city at-large councilman on Jan. 11, 2021 and moved into his role as president at RJ Leeper Construction firm.

Mitchell says he was offered to be co-owner and president of RJ Leeper, a Black-owned construction company, in December. Mitchell previously told WBTV he considered the owner Ron Leeper as a father figure.

“To me - it was the perfect situation to take over a company that has a great branding,” Mitchell said. “Great employees and to be able to learn from my mentor on the business side.”

Now Mitchell is moving on from this role after an unexpectedly short stint. Mitchell provided a statement about his sudden departure on Monday.

“James E. Mitchell, Jr. has enjoyed his time at RJ Leeper Construction Company and the company has thrived under his leadership. During his tenure, he was instrumental in securing 12 projects for the company totaling $265.5M and creating a backlog of potential work with $280M. Mitchell expanded the RJ Leeper workforce by hiring additional staff, and opened a new office in Wilmington, NC, on May 26, 2021. Mitchell continued his passion for workforce development by participating in the Mayor’s Youth Employment Program, working on a new workforce development initiative for the Charlotte Rescue Mission, and holding monthly meetings with 7 minority companies as part of the Mentor/Protégé Program,” the statement read.

Mitchell’s statement says he continues to be a 25-percent owner of RJ Leeper Construction and hopes the company will continue to prosper in the future.

There’s no other word on the circumstances surrounding the departure. Mitchell has not said what his next plans are.

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