Wanda Greene, her son Michael Greene, who also worked for the county, and daughter-in-law, Celena Greene, have agreed to pay the county $502,500 by December 2025, said Philip Anderson, an attorney representing Buncombe County in the case, at the Oct. 3 board meeting. The payments are related to the improper use of county funds to purchase sponsorship and advertising at equestrian-related venues, he said.
Wanda Greene was pulling down $250,000 a year and had just retired in July 2017, about to collect $15,000 a month in pension payouts for the rest of her life. And then it all came crashing down.
Released nearly 5 years ahead of schedule, the former Buncombe County manager readies for another legal fight.
The complaint, which also names Greene’s son Michael Greene and his wife, Celena Greene, alleges that the former official hid hundreds of thousands of dollars with her family members to avoid paying restitution to Buncombe County.
In July 2019, former Buncombe County Commissioner Ellen Frost was charged with 11 federal crimes related to her misappropriation of roughly $575,000 in county funds in 2015 and 2016. Without obtaining board approval, Frost partnered with former County Manager Wanda Greene to spend taxpayer money on sponsorships of three equestrian enterprises in the name of the Asheville Regional Airport.
The ordinance drew over an hour of public comment, with the majority of speakers in favor of the law.
According to a factual basis document filed on July 30 with the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina, Ellen Frost will likely admit to one count of conspiracy to commit federal program fraud, for which the maximum prison term is five years. Frost’s court date is scheduled for Monday, Aug. 17.
As outlined in a presentation available before the meeting by Jeremiah LeRoy, the county’s sustainability officer, the projects could save Buncombe County, A-B Tech, Asheville City Schools and Buncombe County Schools roughly $27.2 million in total electricity costs over the next 30 years.
“Buncombe County owes Mike Fryar a huge thank-you for his service of many years as a county commissioner, who personally led the way to save us millions of dollars by doggedly questioning and demanding answers to cost overruns and unlawful spending by county leadership …”
“While it is true that the recent Wanda Greene et al. scandal was a gross example of greed and entitlement gone wild, I was very disappointed that your editors thought it is funny to mock people who have been tried, justly convicted and are paying their debt to society.”
Xpress imagines just what former County Manager Wanda Greene and her fellow corrupt ex-Buncombe County officials have been up to since reporting for federal prison last year — featuring Mandy Stone’s recipe for toilet wine!
Speaking at a Dec. 17 meeting of the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners, attorney Ron Payne said that Stanley had been accused in a sworn deposition by former Assistant County Manager Jon Creighton of improperly accepting unspecified “things of value” from former county contractor Joseph Wiseman Jr.
During their Dec. 3 meeting, the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners were told that while corrective measures to right years of financial mishandling are beginning to take hold, the county’s most recent audit still reflects the previous mismanagement.
After former Buncombe County Commissioner Holly Jones finished her questions about an allegedly improper $20,000 allocation of county money to build an animal barn at Charles D. Owen High School, her colleague Ellen Frost messaged then-County Manager Wanda Greene: “Like you said earlier, silence is a beautiful sound.”
During a Nov. 19 meeting of the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners, attorney Ron Payne said the settlement would bring the suit to an end, “hopefully in somewhat of an expeditious manner.” All six commissioners present were in favor of accepting the settlement, with Vice Chair Jasmine Beach-Ferrara absent for the vote.
As she wrapped up her work on the AVL Greater and AVL 5×5 2025 plans in late September, we chatted with futurist Rebecca Ryan about her upcoming encore keynote address at the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce’s WomanUP gala on Thursday, Nov. 18, what makes Asheville and Buncombe County different and how we’ll know if the area is on track to make good on the new strategies.
Potentially without review by other county staff members or commissioners, former County Manager Wanda Greene cut Stacey Woody’s pay by nearly $16,000 after Woody questioned an allegedly illegal $125,000 invoice for sponsorship of the Tryon International Equestrian Center. The relevant section of Buncombe’s personnel ordinance still stands, giving the same power to current County Manager Avril Pinder.
Calling former County Manager Wanda Greene’s activities a “tragic waste on a personal level” with “horrific consequences for the county of Buncombe,” U.S. District Judge Robert Conrad sentenced her to 7 years in federal prison and ordered her to pay a $100,000 fine. Co-conspirators Michael Greene, Mandy Stone, Jon Creighton and Joseph Wiseman, Jr., all received active prison time, a year of supervised release and a financial penalty.