WBTV Investigates

City withholds records on how city manager spent $23M with new-found purchasing power

Last December Charlotte city council gave the city manager and department heads permission to spend up to $500,000 without their approval as long as the funding was covered in the respective department accounts. Before then anything costing more than $100,000 required council approval.

  Charlotte tow truck driver arrested for assaulting, pepper spraying trucker

  What does ‘on time’ really mean for CATS?

Panel finds Charlotte-area financial advisor committed securities fraud, awards punitive damages

  CRVA not involved in Charlotte’s MLS plans

  Meck County relents, shows how much tax dollars are being spent on open meeting lawsuit

  Salisbury VAMC chief of staff removed amid ongoing sexual harassment scandal

Continued Coverage

  Watching Your Wallet: Student loan debt reaches all-time high

  Former congressman, NCGOP chair Hayes pleads guilty in federal corruption case

  Catawba County roofer moonlights as break-in artist

  Former congressman, GOP chair to plead guilty in federal corruption case

  Owner of Charlotte Body and Paint in court after WBTV Investigation

  NC Blue Cross CEO resigns following DWI arrest, interim CEO named

  Unsealed warrants point to more victims of Lincoln Co. principal accused of sex with students

Newly unsealed court records say a Lincoln County principal arrested in June on charges of having a sexual relationship with a student engaged in similar behavior with multiple students.

  Interim UNC System President announces plan to step down after being passed over for permanent job

Bill Roper announced he would step down as interim president of the UNC System on Wednesday, roughly a week after being told he would not be considered for the permanent job.

  NC Insurance Commissioner calls for Blue Cross CEO to resign

North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey called on the CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina to resign on Wednesday.

  Tepper asks Charlotte City Council to fund MLS stadium

Members of the Charlotte City Council got an initial request to fund a new stadium for a Major League Soccer team in Charlotte during a closed session meeting Monday night.

  Charlotte council’s taxpayer-funded travel includes private plane, family visits and mystery trips during football weekend

Charlotte council approves new convention center contract despite cost overruns

  Charlotte man arrested for rape, incest booked in local jail

  Atrium corrects patient’s bill after WBTV Investigates starts asking questions

  Charlotte man arrested for rape, incest, more involved at family wellness center than first revealed

  Memo to Charlotte council: 911 comms center shelved, convention center over budget

  Dan McCready loses special election for NC-9 house seat

McCready told his supporters to get some rest but to never stop fighting for their cause.

  ICE: Nearly 500 undocumented immigrants released from NC jails despite detainer

Nearly 500 undocumented immigrants have been released from jails across the state in the past ten months despite administrative detainers filed against them by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

  NC National Guard soldiers go without pay, health insurance as they prepare for combat deployment

Thousands of soldiers with the North Carolina National Guard and 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team have gone months without pay since being mobilized in preparation to a deployment to the Middle East.

  Consumer Advice: How to prepare for Dorian

Here’s some advice on what you can do to save money and protect your belongings if a hurricane does hit.

  Local body shop owner faces criminal charge after WBTV investigation

A NCDOI investigation found Son Doan billed an insurance company $828 for repair services that weren’t completed. Doan is facing one charge of attempting to obtain property under false pretenses.

  DA Merriweather: Change in officer-involved shooting protocols not tied to recent shootings

In an interview with WBTV, Merriweather said he had been thinking about making the change for more than a year.

  Investigation: CMS bus drivers still on roster after multiple accidents

While the school district says it has policies in place to discipline drivers, the WBTV investigation found drivers on the roster with multiple crashes.

  Locked Down: Inside the prison where inmates set each other on fire and gangs have more power than guards

Widespread concern about understaffing in Mississippi's prisons has people calling for a change. They say inmates, correctional officers and surrounding communities are in danger.

  Local homeowners claim they’re not safe under their own roofs, because of roofer

The attorney for the roofer says they plan to sue one of the former customers for making false allegations against the company.

  Police, school district alerted to concerns with Lincolnton principal a decade before arrest for sex crimes, records show

A concerned parent called police about interactions between his son and the principal at his son’s school more than a decade before the principal was arrested on charges related to having sex with students, records obtained by WBTV show.

  Lawsuit filed against Kia of Gastonia after WBTV Investigation

The investigation found dozens of Kia of Gastonia customers who had their credit applications for car loans falsified without their knowledge.

Law enforcement video related to Gaston Co. chase that left one dead, one injured to be released

A superior court judge has ruled that law enforcement video will be released related to a July police chase in Gaston County that left one dead and another seriously injured.

  Truck drivers lose licenses after driving school ‘lost’ their records

The road portion of the test records were supposed to be kept by Carolina Truck Driving School but employees there couldn’t produce them during a NCDMV audit.

  With new second-in-command, Charlotte Diocese hopes to increase transparency surrounding sex abuse allegations

The new second-in-command of the Catholic Diocese of Charlotte outlined a plan to reporters Monday morning to increase transparency surrounding how the local church handles cases in which priests and other clergy are accused of sex abuse.

  Measure of Hate documentary explores the undercounting of crimes in America

InvestigateTV shows issues with undercounting hate crimes, including the FBI failing to meet a federal mandate to report. After months of reporting on this issue, this documentary also highlights results of the investigation, including police departments amending their records.

  CMPD unsure how to prevent online rental scams until there’s a victim

Real estate agent asks who investigates online fraud after her complaint fell on deaf ears.

  UNC Board of Governors chairman issues statement defending interim president following WBTV story, dodges request for interview

The chairman of the University of North Carolina Board of Governors issued a statement defending the system’s interim president, Bill Roper, in response to a WBTV investigation that found Roper repeatedly failed to properly disclose his seats on two corporate boards on state ethics forms.

  UNC System head, former UNC Health Care CEO didn’t disclose corporate board seats that paid millions on ethics forms

William Roper, the current interim president of the University of North Carolina system and former longtime CEO of the UNC Health Care System, failed to disclose his seats on the boards of major corporations between 2011 and 2019, at the same time as those corporations did business with the state.

  Watching Your Wallet: Decade-by-decade, experts help you save for retirement

By retirement, financial experts say you should have at least eight times your annual salary saved up. NerdWallet explains how to get there, decade-by-decade.

  Meck Commissioners warned about conducting business over email

A WBTV investigation has uncovered new evidence Mecklenburg County Commissioners were warned about conducting public business over email and that it might violate North Carolina’s open meeting laws.

  Dowless, associates turn themselves in on new charges as attorney questions timing of indictment

McCrae Dowless and others indicted by a grand jury on Tuesday on charges related to election fraud turned themselves into a magistrate in Bladen County on Wednesday.

  Put money in your pocket through the Equifax settlement

Nearly half of Americans have an opportunity to put some money in their pocket after the Federal Trade Commission reached a settlement with Equifax.

  McCrae Dowless, associates face new charges in NC-9 election fraud investigation

McCrae Dowless and six of his associates were indicted on allegations of election fraud stemming from the 2018 general election on Tuesday.

  Top VA doctor still on the job despite recommendation, pledge for removal after sexual harassment scandal

The top doctor at the Salisbury VA Medical Center is still in his supervisory role, months after a WBTV investigation exposed a recommendation that he be removed from any supervisory position of his mishandling of a sexual assault claim.

Feds seize nearly $1.5 million from accounts of PAC tied to mega-donor indicted in political bribery case

The FBI seized nearly $1.5 million from a political action committee tied to mega-donor Greg Lindberg, who was indicted in April on charges related to an alleged political bribery scheme.

  ‘Backlog’ at state level allows elected officials to violate campaign rules with impunity

Hundreds of candidates and elected officials in local office have been able to violate campaign rules without ever being penalized by the North Carolina State Board of Elections.

  WBTV, media coalition file petitions to access sealed records in Catholic abuse lawsuit

WBTV and a coalition of other Charlotte media outlets have filed two petitions in court to access sealed records filed as part of two civil lawsuits against the Catholic Diocese of Charlotte regarding priest sexual abuse.

  Fake Filters? Companies falsely claim to have prestigious water safety certification

With water quality and safety concerns across the country, many families are turning to water filters. But there are counterfeit filters and filters carrying fake certification marks.

  Judge hears petition for release of law enforcement video in chase that left one dead, one injured

A superior court judge says he will make a decision by Friday on whether to release law enforcement video from a police chase in Gaston County last week that left one dead and another seriously injured.

Mother, convicted for going into hiding with her daughter, appeals sentence

A mother who went into hiding with her daughter for more than a year has been convicted by a Union County jury on one charge of obstruction of justice.

  Mayor Lyles: Charlotte won’t ‘tolerate’ Trump rally ‘send her back’ chants at RNC 2020

Her statement was in response to “send her back” chants from the crowd at a rally for President Donald Trump in Greenville, NC on Wednesday.

  NCGA budget has millions in earmarks for parks, water infrastructure in mostly Republican districts

A study of earmarks for local park projects and water and sewer infrastructure improvements included in the budget passed by the North Carolina General Assembly found 91 percent of the earmarked money is slated to go to Republican districts if the current budget were to become law.

  Auto repair shop faces allegations of damaging cars to drive up costs

The North Carolina Department of Insurance confirms it is also investigating a similar complaint filed by an insurance company against Charlotte Body & Paint.

  Untested Waters: Feds take small steps toward inspecting more seafood

The FDA has a new strategy for imported food safety, and Congress has increased seafood inspection funds. But the U.S. still lags behind some other countries when it comes to inspections and regulations.

  Jury convicts mother who went on the run with her daughter

A mother who went into hiding with her daughter for more than a year has been convicted by a Union County jury on one charge of obstruction of justice.

  Man accused in Steak ‘N Shake shooting released from prison two years before maximum sentence date

Court records show Eddie Doh served 89 months in prison after he pleaded guilty to accessory after the fact in the murder of 17-year-old Aerial Patterson.

  Evidence starts in trial against mom who went into hiding with her daughter

Prosecutors began presenting evidence on Wednesday in the trial against Kristy Brooks, a Union County mom who went into hiding with her daughter in December 2015.

  WBTV investigation leads to government action against local pool company

The North Carolina Licensing Board for General Contractors revoked the license for Charlotte Fiberglass Pools.

  Judge denies Meck GOP restraining order request against county commissioners

Mecklenburg County Republican Party Chair Chris Turner filed a lawsuit and temporary restraining order against county commissioners claiming that they violated open meeting laws by emailing and discussing budget amendments in private instead of talking about them in a public meeting.

  Union Co. Sheriff withheld text messages, deputies deleted records in Kristy Brooks case

The Union County Sheriff’s Office withheld text messages and deleted other related to the investigation into Kristy Brooks, the Union County mom who went into hiding with her child in late 2015 before turning herself into authorities in January 2017.

Hearing set for Monday in Meck GOP lawsuit against county commission over budget process

Mecklenburg GOP claims county commissioners violated open meetings laws during the FY2020 budget process and that the budget should be put on hold because of it.

  Mecklenburg commissioners put quarter cent sales tax on ballot

If passed by voters, the new sales tax would generate roughly $50 million in revenue with $22.5 million going to arts and culture.

Republicans sue Meck County Commissioners over budget transparency

WBTV uncovered several emails between commissioners showing that some of them made motions, suggestions and asked questions before the budget amendment vote in May.

  Taxes increasing $100+ a month for more than 23,000 Mecklenburg property owners

In some areas like Villa Heights and the Cherry neighborhood, assessed property values tripled even if little to no work was done on the homes.

  New court filing points to possible plea deal in federal case against Alex Underwood, deputies

Federal prosecutors say plea negotiations are ongoing in the federal criminal case against former Chester County Sheriff Alex Underwood, his chief deputy and a lieutenant at the office.

Watching Your Wallet: Experts say to shop around for the best deals on car insurance and cell phone plans

A NerdWallet financial expert offers tips on saving money on car insurance and cell phone bills: Watch this and don't pay for what you don't need.

  Charlotte leaders hit reset on new comp time policy

The proposed policy would limit exempt employees to retaining 80 comp hours per year.It would also prohibit managers from accruing comp time.

  UNC Hospitals’ dark money contribution approved by CFO, record shows

A WBTV investigation has identified the senior UNC Hospitals administrator who approved using state money to contribute to a dark money advocacy organization earlier this year. Previously, the hospital said the payment was made in error.

  Lawsuit filed against Kia of Gastonia claims employees ‘condoned customers inflation of their income’

For months WBTV has uncovered allegations from Kia of Gastonia customers that their income was inflated on their credit applications without their knowledge.

  NC vehicle safety inspections don’t cover rust and a local grandmother paid the price for it.

She filed a complaint with the North Carolina Department of Justice claiming the car was falling apart after only her second time driving it.

  UNC Hospitals makes contribution to dark money group, asks for refund after WBTV investigation

The UNC Hospitals system wrote a check from a state account in January of this year that, in part, was intended to fund a dark money political organization, records obtained by WBTV show.

  McCready announces plan to lower Rx prices, bashes Bishop on healthcare record

Besides focusing on his own plan McCready criticized Bishop for his track record of votes on healthcare in North Carolina’s General Assembly.

  City staffers knew about Cross Charlotte Trail budget months before manager, council and public

New emails obtained by WBTV raise questions about whether some staff members attempted to “hide” information about the Cross Charlotte Trail (XCLT) from the manager’s office.

  City employees facing major pay changes but HR director mum on details

The proposed policy would limit exempt employees to retaining 80 comp hours per year even though some employees currently earn in excess of 240 hours in a year.

  More Kia of Gastonia customers say their loan applications were falsified

In May WBTV exposed allegations of irregular loan applications in which customers' incomes, jobs and in some cases even the cars they bought were falsified.

  NC House reinstates Hurricane Recovery Committee as new reports find improper spending of relief funds

North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) announced the re-reinstatement of the Hurricane Recovery Committee on Tuesday, just one day after a second report found questionable spending of money intended to help those impacted by Hurricane Matthew.

  Meck. Sheriff fires back after criticisms from U.S. Attorney over 287g, detainers for undocumented immigrants

Mecklenburg County Sheriff Gary McFadden said he “dared” anyone to say he wasn’t concerned public safety after US Attorney Andrew Murray claimed McFadden’s policies were putting people in danger.

  Mecklenburg Co. Commissioners Chairman blasts fellow commissioner, media after being questioned on open meetings violation

The chairman of the Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners opened Tuesday’s night’s meeting with a monologue that attacked a fellow commissioner and local media after questions surfaced about whether the commissioners violated state open meetings laws in discussing changes to the county’s budget