City Hall fraud investigation update ***5:20 p.m.***

A city spokesperson confirms that Asheville City Council members and the mayor were eligible for a flexible spending program that’s now the target of a fraud investigation, but refuses to reveal which elected officials actually participated. The Asheville Police Department has also issued a statement, and says the Buncombe County District Attorney’s Office and SBI are assisting in the ongoing probe.

“Council members are eligible for medical insurance with the city — those who sign up for that insurance are eligible for the flex program,” spokesperson Dawa Hitch told Xpress, adding that, due to state statutes, the city cannot reveal which specific elected officials participated in the program. Over Twitter, Council member Gordon Smith has asserted that he was not enrolled.

Also, this afternoon the Asheville Police Department issued a statement on the ongoing investigation of possible fraud by city of Asheville employees, and there is no indication that any of 113 employees who received more than $1,000 reviewed had engaged in any criminal activity. The full text of the statement is below:

Police issue statement on city HR investigation

ASHEVILLE – Asheville police detectives are continuing their investigation into allegations of benefits fraud in the city’s Human Resources Department.
The alleged improprieties were discovered by city staff and reported to the Asheville police department.
The APD undertook the case, in conjunction with the Buncombe County District Attorney’s Office. Both agencies are receiving assistance from the State Bureau of Investigation.
As part of the investigation, Asheville police and the DA’s office on March 16 reviewed 113 files of employees who received flexible spending reimbursements of more than $1,000.
There was no indication that any of those 113 employees participated in any criminal wrongdoing. 
The investigation is ongoing.


Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

About Webmaster
Mountain Xpress Webmaster Follow me @MXWebTeam

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

4 thoughts on “City Hall fraud investigation update ***5:20 p.m.***

  1. ashevillelokel


    City Council Members get insurance from the City … is this standard procedure?

    If so, that means that most of them are “double insured” since they all have “real jobs” ….

  2. JWTJr

    When folks have 2 insurances, they work together and don’t double pay. The double insurance scenario enables one insurance to essentially pay the deductibles and copays of the other.

    It makes for a ‘cadilac’ policy set up for sure. If this is the case, they wouldn’t even need a FSA unless they used it to buy things that their insurances would not normally pay for.

  3. jimmytwotimes

    That insurance setup isn’t unusual. My wife has such awful insurance through her job that I supplement with my policy. It isn’t as expensive as if she used mine as her primary policy, and the savings is entirely worth it.

Leave a Reply to JWTJr ×

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.