County contractor charged with fraud, agrees to guilty plea

AT COURT: Former Buncombe County contractor Joseph Wiseman Jr. will appear for a plea hearing at 9 a.m. Feb. 7 at the federal courthouse in downtown Asheville at 100 Otis St. Photo by David Floyd

Joseph Wiseman, Jr., a former Buncombe County contractor implicated in a kickback scheme that has led to charges against three former county officials, has agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy to commit honest services fraud.

According to court records, Wiseman provided former County Managers Wanda Greene and Mandy Stone and former Assistant County Manager Jon Creighton with tens of thousands of dollars worth of items of value, including meals, cases of wine and tickets to sporting events beginning before 2014 and continuing through 2017.

During this time period, court records say Wiseman was also negotiating with the county, usually through Creighton, and obtained contracts on behalf of three companies — CDM Smith until 2014, Petra from 2014-16, and his own company, Environmental Infrastructure Consulting, from 2014-17.

From the mid-1980s through 2017, court records say the three businesses obtained more than $15 million in contracts with Buncombe County for consulting and engineering services.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office said the federal investigation is still ongoing.

Wiseman’s plea hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 7, at the federal courthouse at 100 Otis St. in downtown Asheville.

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About David Floyd
David Floyd was a reporter for the Mountain Xpress. He previously worked as a general-assignment reporter for the Johnson City Press.

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