Former Navassa officer denied compensation check - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Former Navassa officer denied compensation check, mayor denies accusations

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K-9 Luci K-9 Luci

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WECT) – The Town of Navassa is allegedly still withholding money from an officer who left the town's police department earlier this year.

According to a spokesman for the NC Police Benevolent Association, Officer Kevin Smith went by town hall to pick up a check he said is owed to him by the town. Smith was told by the clerk it was a "direct order from the mayor" to not release the check. The mayor allegedly directed his cousin, who is a council member, to not release the check.

WECT.com reached out to Mayor Willis on Wednesday about the accusations. Willis said he never told anyone in the town to not issue the check to Smith. He said the town administrator is handling the payment of checks.

Willis also forwarded an email to WECT on Thursday. The original email is from Claudia Bray, who is the town's administrator and is titled "Kevin's Vacation Pay."

The email said the check has been cut for Smith but has yet to be signed. It also said, "Based on the outcome to today's court date, advise me on how to move forward with vacation pay."

Willis responded to the email and said, "I don't sign checks……. Nor did I instruct anyone not to sign that one………maybe, the Councilmen who do sign checks will do so now. If requested."

No other email thread was forwarded to WECT.com.

Officer Smith went to small claims court Tuesday to fight the town from taking his pet. The town gave the police department a K-9 unit several years ago under the stipulation Smith was the only handler and the full owner of the dog.

Smith arrested Navassa Town Mayor Eulis Willis for DWI in July 2011. He resigned from the department about a year later after the mayor allegedly made comments to indicate he was after Smith's job.

When Smith left, he asked to be compensated for his overtime work and accrued vacation time and took Luci with him. Town leaders were refusing to reimburse Smith until Luci was returned. A judge said Tuesday Smith can keep the K-9.

Willis was not aware that Smith went to the Town of Navassa Wednesday to pick up a check for a little more than $1,000 in overtime pay and compensation for 48 days of accrued vacation time.

The issue will be addressed during a meeting Thursday, according to the NC Police Benevolent Association.

The town's attorney Norwood Blanchard told WECT.com that the town never tried to withhold Smith's paycheck, but according to a letter sent to Smith from town administrator it said they would withhold any money until Luci was returned.

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