Rep. Moffitt: We stopped Asheville from joining rec authority in retaliation for water lawsuit

At a realtors’ luncheon on Aug. 5, Rep. Tim Moffitt admitted that state legislators changed a recreation authority bill to stop the city of Asheville from joining and saving money. The change was retaliation for the city’s lawsuit over the forcible transfer of its water system, said Moffitt: “Until the lawsuit is settled, we took the authority away from the city.”

This contradicts public statements Moffitt and other state legislators have previously made, saying that the two matters were unrelated. Earlier this summer, city officials claimed that they were under increasing pressure from Moffitt and other legislators to settle the water lawsuit or be excluded from the recreation authority — which could have saved city government about $5 million a year. Moffitt had also drafted a new district election system. Emails obtained by Xpress showed state legislators and city officials discussing settling the water lawsuit, the recreation authority and a new election system.

A video clip sent to Xpress by activist Barry Summers, an opponent of the water legislation, shows an exchange between Asheville City Council member Chris Pelly and Moffitt at the event. Pelly asks Moffitt that if the city wanted to join the recreation authority, “Does the current legislation allow that to occur?”

“No, we took that away from you,” Moffitt replied. “You filed your lawsuit, OK, so we’re not going to let you file the lawsuit on this side and sue the state and charge your taxpayers money but at the same time be the benefactor of this, because it’s going to cost people outside the city some of their hard-earned money. So until the lawsuit is settled, we took the authority away from the city.”

Moffitt had previously told Xpress during an interview that the lawsuit and the recreation bill, as well as the bill he’d drafted to force the city to switch to district elections, were “separate, distinct issues that stand on their own.” He also said that it was “disappointing, though not unexpected, that City Council wants to link all these things together for political convenience.” He added that the recreation authority was “just one more step in my move to consolidate as much city and county government as possible.”

Ramsey claimed that the changes to the recreation authority bill, including not allowing Asheville or other Buncombe municipalities to join, came at the request of the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners (who had their own behind-the-scenes debate over the issue). Commissioner David King reported that he’d worked with Moffitt on the bill changes, and also said that the changes weren’t tied to the water lawsuit.

Buncombe County is currently in the process of creating the authority without including municipality participation.


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21 thoughts on “Rep. Moffitt: We stopped Asheville from joining rec authority in retaliation for water lawsuit

  1. Jake

    Thank you for pointing out what many of us already had come to realize: that Tim Moffitt is an amoral, lying bully. I was saddened to read that Nathan Ramsey and David King are drinking his Kool-Aid.

    Thanks, too, to Chris Pelly for posing the question, and to the heroic Barry Summers for being there to capture Moffitt’s performance.

  2. RavenRavinoff

    Tim Moffitt has been caught, by both the media & citizens, in so many lies.

    Remember when he said that Asheville would be compensated if the water system was taken?

    I do.

    Moffitt also objects to critics and news reports that had used the term “seize” for the bill’s initial. While the initial legislation didn’t mention any compensation for the transfer of the city’s water system, Moffitt tells Xpress that if the water system is taken from the city to MSD or a completely independent authority in future legislation (the only three scenarios he sees as practical), the city will be compensated.

    “Once we get through auditing the entire system, and really determine what dollars were used, ratepayer dollars or city resident tax dollars, whatever city taxpayers have invested in the system absolutely considered for compensation,” Moffitt says. “That language of ‘seizing’ was rather strong, and not the intent of the bill at all.”

    • Joe Carney

      You mean, Like Bush Telling us Iraq would pay for the war ?? We are and have been being cheated by the Raleigh Gang since i’ve first moved here , 20 yrs, now..It’s time to ramp up the protests, maybe shut down any government which isn’t serving the peoples agenda..enough already..and i would love to see an article on how to solve the problem other than the old and used up, elect local leaders who\cause we all know all politicians are thieves at this point..

  3. bsummers

    Whoa. Hold up on the heroism medal there. I was not at that meeting. As I understand it, that exchange was recorded by another realtor in attendance.

    • bsummers

      I did forward the video to XPress, but only after it came to me via a third party. Thanks go to the person who taped it, and yes, thanks to Chris Pelly for asking an important question.

      It’s surprising that Rep. Moffitt would come out so blatantly confirming that, yes – we were threatening the City, and yes, we punished your taxpayers in retaliation for fighting back on the water.

      As I’ve said before, Rep. Moffitt has always been cordial and friendly towards me, and in fact, a few hours after this video was shot, we enjoyed a funny moment together when he came up on the stage at the Mountain Moral Monday event.

      As much as I’ve witnessed and surmised about his goals and his tactics, it’s still a shock to see such hostility and foul play in action. “Yes, we’re punishing your taxpayers because you’re not letting us have the water system.” Disappointing.

  4. Meiling Dai

    I read this differently based on what Representative Moffitt said regarding not allowing Asheville to join the Recreation Authority and the lawsuit the city
    filed against the state for requiring
    Asheville to turn over the water system to
    Buncombe County MSD according to state law.
    Here is the substantive wording from Representative Moffitt: “Until the lawsuit is settled, we took the authority away from the city, because its going to cost people outside the city some of their hard-earned money…”
    Excuse me, I am one of those people who live outside the city, and I sure don’t want my tax dollar money going to pay for this lawsuit!

    • bsummers

      OK, once again, apparently there’s a need for a little fact-checking… The “it’s going to cost people outside the city some of their hard-earned money” he’s talking about, is the tax that the County is going to impose on you for the CRA. He’s saying that he doesn’t want the City to share in the benefits of that, as long as they are resisting the takeover of their water system. There’s no direct connection between the lawsuit and the City’s inclusion in the CRA, other than it was dangled as carrot/stick to try to pressure them not to fight back on the water.

      The lawsuit is being paid for solely by City taxpayers.

      BTW, that tax was created by Reps Moffitt and Ramsey. If you have a problem with that, talk to them.

      But don’t let any of that stop you from starting a new “this lawsuit from the City is costing County residents a lot of our hard-earned tax dollar money” meme.

  5. Keith

    Tim Peck must be off work today, so it was a good catch for apologetics for Moffitt by the always faithful M. Dei. Spinning like crazy to make up for the disingenuity of Rep. Moffitt.

  6. Selene

    This is really horrible. I haven’t been an NC resident very long, but I’m embarrassed by Raleigh already. NC is the laughingstock of the US due to the onslaught of inane and inhumane legislation they are trying to push on the people. To me, Moffit’s behavior seems sociopathic. Sociopaths can appear to be very sweet people at times, all the while hurting others for personal gain.

  7. sharpleycladd

    Ms. Dai, your property taxes and your water rates are going to go up, and it’s not Asheville’s fault. See Mr Moffitt and Mr Ramsey for your refund.

  8. Meiling Dai

    “The lawsuit is being paid for solely by
    City taxpayers.” Do city residents pay state income taxes? Yes, they do. Thus, state expenses incurred from the lawsuit filed by the city of Asheville against the state of North Carolina to retain its water system will be paid, in part, by the residents of the city of Asheville. Seems kind of unfair that city residents will be billed by the city and the state for this lawsuit.

    • bsummers

      Seems kind of unfair that city residents will be billed by the city and the state for this lawsuit.

      Not to interrupt your spinning, but the NC Attorney General’s office keeps a stable of lawyers whose job it is to defend the States laws in court. This sort of thing is already in the budget.

      Besides, weren’t you worried about residents outside the City having to pay for this? Oop, sorry. That was the previous spin cycle. I keep forgetting that consistency is not a prerequisite…

      But again, if you’re seeking someone to blame for the costs of all this, I suggest you talk to Reps. Moffitt, Ramsey and McGrady.

  9. Roger Hartley

    Serious question for lawyers. Is this kind of threat illegal? Tampering with a lawsuit?

    If a party or third party were to threaten punitive measures if they don’t drop a lawsuit?

    If not, I cannot imagine the judge being happy about this.

    Finally…this is a LOT of egg on the faces of Commissioner along and Rep. Ramsey. Might be time to ask their perspective. They deserve a chance to respond.

    • bsummers

      How so? My perception is that he was totally in on this.

      His pattern of bullying the City over water goes back to the mediation over the breakup of the water agreement back in 2005. As BCCC Chairman, he showed up at the negotiation table with the Sullivan II & III in his pocket, and threatened the City with them. The independent mediators report later determined that that was the biggest factor in the collapse of the negotiations.

      Nathan and the Tim-Moffitt-recruited City Manager from those years are the two biggest reasons we are in this mess.

    • Jake

      Yeah. Sure. He can spin it to the judge, who will no doubt discount it as much as the rest of the world. ‘Tis so poetically just to see Moffitt’s hubris prove his undoing.

  10. WitchDoctor

    “just a little joke”… That is probably exactly what Moffitt’s LAWYER advised him to say. What is not a joke is that Moffitt and Ramsey tried to strong arm the city into settling the lawsuit.

  11. Bill C.

    We used to be residents of NC and have been considering returning in a few years. Hopefully, by the then the voters who were asleep in the booth last year and those who mistakenly thought the current NC Republican Party resembled the old one of conservative middle of the road positions will come together and throw this lot out. NC has indeed become a national joke – I have heard it referred to as the Taliban State. NC is better than this – take your state back and teach people governing means governing for all the residents, not just for your political core. Amazing how fast a state can slip off into another world.

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