Update on SBI investigation of former town manager - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Update on SBI investigation of former town manager

Former Bladenboro Town Manager Delane Jackson is being investigated, according to the SBI. (Source: WECT) Former Bladenboro Town Manager Delane Jackson is being investigated, according to the SBI. (Source: WECT)
BLADENBORO, NC (WECT) -

There are new developments in the investigation of the former Town Manager of Bladenboro, Delane Jackson.

District Attorney Jon David is now confirming his office is working closely with the SBI on a comprehensive investigation, and that they met to discuss this matter on Friday. Additionally, Jackson’s attorney, Butch Pope, says they have sent a letter and documents to the DA's office in response to the investigation.

Pope and Jackson said this fall they’d never been contacted about any investigation. Previously, David said he could not confirm or deny his office was looking into this matter.

In October, the SBI confirmed they were investigating Jackson. That came in response to an email we sent the SBI asking about claims that Cygnus, a company Jackson had ties to, received $450,000 from Bladenboro while Jackson was serving as town manager.

Cygnus abruptly quit the day Mayor Rufus Duckworth was sworn into office in 2013. Town leaders we spoke to said in the years Cygnus had the contract to provide wastewater treatment services for the town, they never saw a single Cygnus work truck, employee, or any other evidence that services were actually rendered.

Duckworth said he made a number of concerning discoveries about Jackson’s ties to the company that he has since shared with state investigators.

Town leaders we spoke to say they were unaware that Jackson was connected to the Cygnus company until after his employment with the town ended. They say Jackson approved all invoices and signed all checks for the town during his time as town manager.

Jackson has yet to be charged with any crime and is now working for another town in North Carolina. We asked him and his attorney if they could provide any evidence that the company did the work it was paid for from 2005-2013.

We also asked for a list of other customers besides the town of Bladenboro, the number of paid staff Cygnus employed, pictures of work vehicles, signs, or businesses letterhead that would indicate it was a legitimate enterprise and not a shell company as some have claimed.

Pope did not answer those questions specifically, but did provide the following statement:

“I recently provided District Attorney’s Office with a letter along with copies of the contract, town minutes, and other documents that should answer any questions. The documents also show that not only were no crimes committed, but the corporation was low bidder, performed the work and prevented the town from being in costly violations with the State as happened frequently prior to Cygnus, Inc. by providing the service in a timely and regular fashion.

The town documents show that the town manager was not involved in the bid process and that he disclosed his family connection to the company in an open meeting.   At one point Mr. Jackson reserved a company name but did not utilize the name or incorporate before the name reservation expired.  Cygnus, Inc. was incorporated later by others, then submitted the successful bid, and saved the town thousands of dollars by operating the town’s spray irrigation system in compliance with the  disposal system permit." 

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