N.C. closes prisons, moves inmates as COVID cases spike

Three state prisons have been closed, with hundreds of inmates being transferred to other facilities across the state, as COVID-19 continues to spike within the prison system.

  Frustration with NCDES call center persists

  NC Attorney General warns of holiday season scams

  Charlotte-Douglas can’t force Covid-19 positive passengers to leave airport

  Major companies approved for N.C. job grants despite federal aid, multiple applications

  Surgeons brace for cutbacks that could impact access to care

  Even with protections, thousands face eviction in N.C.

Continued Coverage

  Local woman left a care facility and died. Health officials still say they aren’t responsible.

  North Carolina Attorney General fights robocalls in the state

  N.C. elections board reviewing video showing election irregularities after WBTV investigation

  Man waits six months for unemployment determination

  New video shows candidate’s husband escorting voters into early voting in Anson Co.

  Charlotte sees dramatic jump in power outages in 2020

  Local woman got $600 bill for lab work she thought insurance would cover

A local woman has called WBTV for help after getting hit with a $600 bill for lab work she thought was covered by insurance.

  CMPD spent $17 million for RNC. On what remains a mystery

A memo from Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Johnny Jennings says the City of Charlotte spent approximately $17 million on the Republican National Convention. The memo does not provide any details on how the money was spent but does include a timeline for releasing more information.

  Board won’t investigate grieving brother’s complaint about doctor’s prescription practices

The N.C. Medical Board refused to review the file of a man whose brother says was hooked on opioids after years of being prescribed them without the proper supervision from his doctor.

  Employment scams rampant in Charlotte area

Scam artists have developed a new rip off designed to specifically target job seekers. What looks like that big new job you have been looking for is actually a scam to steal your money.

  Solar company delivers panels to customer two years later after WBTV gets involved

  Nurse practitioner field grapples with question of whether to standardize curriculum nationwide

  Woman furious after getting charged for COVID-19 test

  Union County man votes twice after early vote isn’t recorded in system

  Virtual vehicle scams on the rise in Charlotte area

N.C. Mayors group says it isn’t coordinating new nondiscrimination ordinance. Emails show otherwise.

  Investigators suspect Republican group called N.C. voters spreading misinformation

Republican operatives called voters with incorrect information about their voter registration, investigators with the N.C. State Board of Elections believe, using a dark money group formed in Texas.

  Bureaucrats vs Politicians: Who’s making the decisions on COVID-19?

Some county commissioners would like to see this format change during prolonged emergencies like a pandemic, so that elected officials have the final say on policy.

  A grieving family asks: Why aren’t county jails doing more to stop spread of COVID-19?

While state-run prisons in North Carolina have been court ordered to take extra steps to protect inmates from COVID-19, the same rules do not apply to county jails. As a result, each county sheriff is operating their jail by a different set of rules.

  Man charged out of network fee at in network hospital

Imagine having a medical emergency, going to your “in network” hospital for care, and then months later getting a bill you were told was covered by insurance.

  City of Charlotte working with Equality NC, other cities to craft new nondiscrimination ordinance

The City of Charlotte is working with Equality NC, the North Carolina Metro Mayors Coalition and leaders from cities across the state to draft a new nondiscrimination ordinance.

  Woman’s rental home is in disrepair, code enforcement issues violation

Exposed wires, broken floors and holes in the wall—these are just a few of the problems one Kings Mountain mother is dealing with tonight.  The woman claims she has been asking her landlord to fix the problems for months.

  Water leak in couple’s home leads to battle with insurance company

A Monroe family says what started out as a water leak in their home has led to an all out battle with their insurance company over $30,000 in repairs to fix the damage.

  Local couple’s fridge needs to be fixed, but they have problems with home warranty company

For Stuart Beam and his wife, they’ve just had to make do with what they have. For over a month, they haven’t been able to get their fridge fixed through their home warranty company, American Home Shield.

  Innocent men were sent to prison and released decades later. Now Gov. Cooper won’t pardon them

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper has refused to meet with or take any action to pardon four men who were wrongfully convicted and imprisoned for crimes they did not commit. As a result, those men cannot get any compensation from the state.

  Mount Holly man fights with a credit card company over charges he believes are fraudulent

James Stinecipher says there are over 30 charges in his checking account that he has no recollection of and that he didn’t make.But when he contacted his credit card company, Discover, he didn’t get the response he was hoping for.

  NC prison still accepting new inmates despite outbreak of COVID-19

New prisoners keep arriving at the Piedmont Correctional Institution in Salisbury, even as the prison grapples with an outbreak of COVID-19. The prison has been on 'red status' for an influx in COVID-19 cases but continues to accept dozens of prisoners.

Emails reveal NC’s early steps to prepare for pandemic

Emails from North Carolina's top health officials reveal the steps taken to prepare for a global pandemic, including a wake-up call for DHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen when she saw China build a hospital in ten days to handle an influx in patients.

  Cal Cunningham under investigation by US Army Reserve

US Senate Candidate Cal Cunningham is under investigation by the US Army Reserve following revelations he had an extramarital affair, according to a spokesman for the US Army Reserve.

  Absentee ballots hang in limbo as NC court fight drags on

Roughly 10,000 N.C. absentee ballots hang in limbo while multiple courts consider the final regulations for which absentee ballots should be allowed to count.

  Woman describes HUD apartment in disrepair

From broken appliances to leaks in her home, one woman says she is raising her children in less than ideal conditions, and she can’t seem to get a fix.

  Meck County leaders finally answer “glitch” text questions on-camera

WBTV requested an interview with county leaders about the glitch text message but it wasn’t until a couple of weeks after it happened that the county finally answered questions from reporters on-camera about the incident.

  In NC, consequences of Postal Service slowdown extend beyond the mailbox

The NC Watchdog Reporting Network put more than 150 pieces of mail through the postal system in August to test delivery times and USPS operations across the state. Our test uncovered a flaw that could lead to hundreds or thousands of absentee ballots being thrown out in November's election.

  Charlotte man pays contractor $900, but work isn’t completed

A Charlotte family called WBTV for help after finding a contractor online at a price that turned out to be too good to be true.

NC elections board released closed meeting minutes, memos after vote scrutiny

The North Carolina State Board of Elections has released meeting minutes and a legal memo related to a vote it took in closed session last week.

  Resignation of NC elections board Republicans raises questions about closed session vote

The resignation of the two Republican members of the North Carolina State Board of Elections late Wednesday night has raised new questions about a vote, taken by the board in a closed session, that would ease some legal requirements pertaining to absentee by mail ballots.

  Body-camera video released of CMPD violent arrest during traffic stop

Anthony Caldwell was stopped by police at gunpoint, had the front windows of his car busted out and his elbow fractured. He was charged with resisting arrest and traffic violations. CMPD found officers involved in his arrest violated policy but didn't use excessive force.

  South Carolina woman’s medical bill keeps increasing

We all know that paying a bill for any medical procedure can be a real challenge, but imagine making a payment and seeing your bill actually increase monthly.

  Officers busted car windows, broke man’s elbow in arrest for traffic violation. CMPD determined it wasn’t excessive force.

Anthony Caldwell was stopped by police at gunpoint, had the front windows of his car busted out and his elbow fractured. He was charged with resisting arrest and traffic violations. CMPD found officers involved in his arrest violated policy but didn't use excessive force.

  Woman battles Charlotte medical provider over $1,300 bill

A Charlotte woman has been battling a local medical provider over a 13-hundred dollar bill that should have been covered by her insurance. After getting no resolution, she contacted WBTV for help.

  Tillis took pharmaceutical money within weeks of co-sponsoring new drug price bill

Senator Thom Tillis accepting more than $20,000 in campaign contributions from political action committees tied to pharmaceutical companies within two weeks of sponsoring a bill related to drug prices in late 2019.

  Commissioners call inadvertent COVID text message “unacceptable”

A software company called Health Space admitted fault for the error, but commissioners say more is needed.

  Mecklenburg County residents incorrectly sent text saying they were positive for COVID-19

A software company working with the county said the text was sent because of an issue “during a routine overnight maintenance.”

  State unemployment benefits remain static as federal dollars wind down

A bill signed by Governor Roy Cooper last week will add an extra $50 per week for people receiving unemployment benefits in North Carolina. However, the money is funded by the federal government and is set to expire in December.

  CMPD, city refuse to release report detailing June 2 tear gas incident

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department and City of Charlotte have refused, for months, to release the use of force report detailing actions by police officers during the June 2 protests. Members of the Charlotte City Council wouldn't state on the record whether they would support release.

  Emails on RNC highlight the ways delegates failed to follow guidelines

In an email sent to Mecklenburg County Commissioners after the RNC, Public Health Director Gibbie Harris highlighted the biggest disappointments from the convention.

Council tweaks ethics policy during late night meeting

During their Tuesday night meeting council voted to retroactively change the policy so that complaints already filed would face review from “outside counsel” instead of an “independent investigator.”

  Time and money running out for Charlotte coronavirus relief funds

Charlotte city council dedicated more than $76 million of federal coronavirus relief funds to spend on community support before the end of the year.

  Local woman says she was detoured on I-77, forced to take express lanes

More controversy on the interstate after another driver says she was forced to take the express lanes and was billed.

  As early voting days approach, some NC counties still need poll workers

At least a quarter of North Carolina’s counties are struggling to recruit poll workers for the 2020 election.

  Charlotte family claims they were billed hundreds after coding error

Imagine going to meet your new doctor to establish care and then finding out you were actually billed for something different.

  Former Mecklenburg Co. Health Department nurse alleges whistleblower retaliation in new lawsuit

A former nurse at the Mecklenburg County Health Department has filed a lawsuit against the department and the county, claiming she was fired for raising concerns about the department’s handling of testing for sexually transmitted diseases.

  CMPD Chief claims officer’s comments prove there was no plan to trap protesters

In a one-on-one interview with WBTV, Jennings said that it never intentional that officers deployed tear gas on two sides of protesters in Uptown.

  State won’t pay woman’s claim after car damaged on highway

The N.C. Department of Justice has refused to pay for damage to a couple's car after they hit an open manhole on HWY 321 in Lenoir.

  NC legislators likely to expand unemployment benefits but only in short term

The additional state benefits would only last until the end of the year.

  DA’s office does not dismiss possible investigation of June 2 protest incident

The Mecklenburg County District Attorney’s office did not explicitly rule out a possible investigation of the June 2nd protest incident.

  WBTV Investigates helps saves local woman more than $4,000 in medical bills

When you live on a fixed income, every dollar makes a difference. Surprise medical bills can be a huge problem. That’s what happened to one 74-year-old, Charlotte area woman.

  Court scheduling hearings on police video petitions after WBTV investigation

The Mecklenburg County Superior Court has scheduled nearly two dozen cases to be heard involving petitions to release law enforcement video, a little more than a week after a WBTV investigation found a massive backlog of cases waiting to be heard.

  Citizens kept in the dark as court holds hearings with no public notice

The Mecklenburg County court system is routinely holding court hearings without advertising the hearing to the public. A court official says public notice isn't required but an expert in court transparency says it limits the public's ability to access court proceedings.

  Prisoners continued being sent to laundry job after co-workers tested positive for COVID-19

A North Carolina prison facility is on ‘red status’ after a spike in COVID-19 cases that prison officials have traced back to inmates who work in a laundry facility operated by Correction Enterprises.

  NC House Rules Chair pleads guilty to federal charges, resigns seat

House Rules Chairman David Lewis (R-Harnett) has been charged with federal crimes. He resigned his office this afternoon, shortly before the charges were filed.

  Former N.C. congressman gets probation in federal bribery case, billionaire donor sentenced to 7 years

Former Congressman Robin Hayes, billionaire Greg Lindberg and an associate of Lindberg’s were sentenced in a federal bribery case.

  Council suggests minor tweaks to ethics policy to “stop the bleeding”

As a flurry of ethics complaints fly at Charlotte city councilmembers, there's desire to tweak the rules so frivolous complaints don't lead to an investigation.

  Transparency delayed as Mecklenburg Co. courts fail to schedule hearings on police video

A backlog of petitions for law enforcement video filed in Mecklenburg County Superior Court has created a backlog of transparency, a WBTV investigation has found. There are 31 petitions for police video pending in Mecklenburg County, dating back to April 2018.

  Three councilmembers facing independent ethics investigations as city attorney calls for an overhaul of the rules

Charlotte's city attorney says the ethics rules that currently exist need to be revisited by council because they don’t allow him any discretion in deciding what is referred to an independent investigator.

  Union Co. teachers say district-issued cleaner is dangerous for students, staff

Teachers in Union County Public Schools have raised concerns about a cleaning solution issued for use in classrooms this school year, the label for which advises it can be harmful to human skin and cause eye irritation. The district hasn't provided any alternative.

  Gov Cooper calls on Republican leaders to raise state unemployment benefits

Cooper is calling on the legislature to increase the state benefits that already exist, which rank low compared to other states across the country.

  Elderly couple without AC for over a month contacts WBTV Investigates for help

On days when temperatures are hovering around 90-degrees, imagine being cooped up inside your home with no air conditioning. For the past month, Curtese Shiflet and her husband say they have been begging technicians to fix their AC Unit, but the excuses keep coming along with the heat!

  As COVID-19 spikes in some ZIP codes, causes aren’t always clear

Health officials and researchers are using zip codes data to help pinpoint COVID-19 hot spots. The data is helpful but doesn't tell the full story.

  Man gets thousands of dollars in bills for procedure he thought was covered by insurance

A local man went to the hospital thinking his procedure would be covered by insurance, but got a rude awakening when he opened the mail and got a bill for thousands of dollars instead.

  NC chose cooperation over transparency, leaving meatpacking plant virus cases unpublished

North Carolina health officials scrapped a plan to identify meatpacking plants with outbreaks of COVID-19 after some county health departments voiced concern that it would end cooperation with the companies.

  NCGOP files ethics complaints against two council members in wake of other conflict questions

A news release sent by NCGOP states that complaints filed were in direct response to conflict of interest questions raised about a planned partnership between City Councilman Tariq Bokhari’s non-profit Carolina Fintech Hub and the City of Charlotte.

  Mecklenburg County outlines COVID-19 restrictions enforcement plan

Wednesday night Mecklenburg County staff and CMPD laid out a two part enforcement plan to ensure local businesses are complying with local and state COVID-19 restrictions.

  Local woman gets surprise medical bill for more than $700

WBTV continues investigating surprise medical bills as a woman called for help after going to the emergency room, paying a copay, and still ended up with a big bill.