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.


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

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.

Leave a Reply

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.