A chronology of controversy

• Spring 2000: Department of Motor Vehicles envorcement officer Pete Bradley makes serious allegations concerning his co-workers. The SBI begins an investigation that will eventually encompass 13 WNC counties.

• Shortly before he is to be interviewed by the SBI, Bradley receives an anonymous letter warning him that if he starts “digging up skeletons on the DMV” some skeletons of his own might be made public. Despite the threat, Bradley cooperates with the investigators and shares the letter with them. The SBI investigators assure both Bradley and his attorney that the information will remain confidential.

• Nov. 6, 2001: Homer Honeycutt wins the Woodfin mayor’s race.

•Nov. 17, 2001: Woodfin police officer Michael Dykes tape-records Honeycutt interfering with Dykes while he is issuing a citation to a motorist on U.S.19/23. On the tape, Honeycutt can be heard saying: “I fix more tickets than you probably write. You write ’em, I fix ’em. That’s just the way life is.” Honeycutt admits to having said it but adds that the conversation took place before he’d been sworn in as mayor.

• Shortly thereafter, Woodfin police officer James Marsh alleges that Mayor Honeycutt told him in a private conversation that he shouldn’t arrest drunk drivers, but should simply drive them home. Marsh also alleges that the mayor told him not to intervene in domestic-violence calls, saying Marsh should leave the “good ol’ boys” alone — but that he can arrest all the Mexicans he wants. Honeycutt denies making any of these statements.

• Dec. 18, 2001: Woodfin Police Chief Chris Fay resigns.

• Jan. 11, 2002: Honeycutt announces that Bradley will be the new police chief. Woodfin Alderman Ron Dayton later tells Xpress that though the city had recieved 11 applications for the job , only Bradley was interviewed. Dayton said that he had personally checked Bradley’s references and that all were “excellent.” Dayton also reported that before the Board of Aldermen had voted to select a chief, Honeycutt drove to Dayton’s house with Bradley in an unmarked Sheriff’s Department car to introduce the two. Dayton added that it was as if Bradley had already been hired.

•In late January, Bradley records a conversation with Honeycutt in which the mayor tries to persuade Bradley to resign. Honeycutt is heard saying that otherwise, something “bad” might “come out.”

•Feb. 14, 2002: WLOS breaks a story about the ticket-fixing claims made by Honeycutt.

• Feb.19, 2002: The SBI file containing the blackmail letter sent to Bradley, Bradley’s statement about his sexual orientation, and the SBI agents’ summary of the discussion about the letter are published in an incendiary local newsletter that’s distributed to members of the public attending a Woodfin town meeting. Later, the same file is anonymously mailed to members of the press.

•Feb. 25, 2002: The Woodfin Board of Aldermen votes 5-1 to fire Bradley.

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