Meck Co. DA requests investigation for new Charlotte councilman James ‘Smuggie’ Mitchell

A statement from the DA said the request for an investigation does not imply criminal wrongdoing.
New Charlotte city councilman James ‘Smuggie’ Mitchell is already facing an investigation on his first day on the job.
Published: Sep. 12, 2022 at 5:24 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - New Charlotte city councilman James ‘Smuggie’ Mitchell is already facing an investigation on his first day on the job.

Mecklenburg County District Attorney Spencer Merriweather has asked the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation to determine whether Mitchell has an illegal ownership stake in a company that does business with the city.

More than a year ago, Mitchell resigned from city council to take a new job at RJ Leeper, as well as an ownership stake in the company. But just a few months later, he left the position.

Previous Coverage: MEMO: Incoming Charlotte councilmember could face criminal questions depending on ownership stake

Mitchell claims he still owns 25 percent of the company but state law says it’s illegal for elected leaders to own more than 10 percent of a company that has contracts with the city.

A statement from the DA said the request for an investigation does not imply criminal wrongdoing. Mitchell’s first meeting back on council is Monday evening.

Full statement from the DA:

“Upon Councilmember James Mitchell being administered the oath of public office, I have asked for the assistance of the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation to determine whether the status of Mr. Mitchell’s ownership stake in a firm that has a contractual relationship with the City of Charlotte can be confirmed—and whether that purported business arrangement is inconsistent with N.C.G.S. s. 14-234 (a)(1). As with any criminal inquiry, a request for an investigation is not—in and of itself—a confirmation of the existence of criminal wrongdoing. In the meantime, we will not comment further while we await findings from SBI.”