WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Attorneys for Lewis Hatcher have filed documents requesting detailed financial information, property records, and personnel records for Jody Greene in their attempt to prove Hatcher should still be serving as Columbus County sheriff. There were no corresponding documents on file at the clerk’s office from Greene’s attorneys despite a judge’s order that depositions in the case be noticed no later than Jan. 23.
As of Thursday at noon, Greene had not paid a $25,000 bond the judge is requiring him to post with the clerk of court before Jan. 28. If he does not pay that bond on time, the pending case will be ruled in Hatcher’s favor by default. The judge determined the bond amount based on the pay and benefits Hatcher would have received if he had continued to serve as sheriff until the election results could be settled by the State Board of Elections.
Hatcher has served as Columbus County sheriff since 2014. He came in 37 votes behind challenger Jody Greene in the November 2018 election, but those election results have yet to be certified because of pending elections protests over absentee ballot irregularities, and questions over whether Greene lives in Columbus County as required by law to serve as sheriff.
Despite the protests and in apparent violation of state law, Columbus County officials swore Greene in as sheriff on Dec. 3. The North Carolina Attorney General’s Office and the State Board of Elections have said Hatcher should still be serving as sheriff until the elections protests are settled, but Greene has refused to step aside.
Earlier this month, Hatcher sued to be reinstated as Columbus County sheriff. A Wake County judge came to Whiteville for a hearing on the matter Jan. 18, and set an expedited schedule in place so this case could be considered by a jury by Feb. 11.
According to the latest court documents obtained Thursday by WECT, Hatcher’s attorneys have given notice that on Jan. 29 they plan to depose Greene, Columbus County Human Resources Director Virginia Taylor, and State Representative Brenden Jones, who signed Greene’s oath of office after he was sworn in as sheriff.
Additional documents filed by Hatcher’s attorneys give more insight into what they hope to learn in the coming weeks. There are numerous questions about Greene and his wife’s residences in North and South Carolina, including a home in Robeson County, where Greene was stationed as a Highway Patrol sergeant while running for sheriff. Hatcher’s attorneys have requested copies of deeds, tax records, utility bills, title and registration for recreational vehicles, driver’s licenses, cell phone records, and pictures of any structures or dwellings that Greene has claimed as a primary residence.
Attorneys have asked for reassignment requests Greene filed with the Highway Patrol, and other personnel records that may provide details about his place of residence. They have also asked for information about “a new mobile home” moved to Greene’s property on Page Mill Road in Cerro Gordo in December 2018, and records of communication between Greene and Columbus County commissioners.
McRae Dowless and Red Dome Group, both linked to an ongoing election fraud investigation in North Carolina, are mentioned in the court filings, too. Hatcher’s attorneys want to know the nature of the work Dowless was hired to do for Greene’s campaign, specifically, if he worked with absentee ballots; 181 of the 557 requested absentee ballots disappeared in Columbus County before the election, significantly higher than the typical percentage that are not returned.
Also of note, reporters who have covered this story for WECT and WWAY were subpoenaed by Hatcher’s attorney. The subpoenas request “communication” and “documents” that pertain to reports the stations did about Greene’s residency in Columbus County.
WECT has reached out to Greene’s attorney to find out why there is no paperwork on file with the Columbus County Clerk of Court’s office. The judge ordered the paperwork be filed electronically, so a digital copy of the paperwork may be on file somewhere, but the clerk of court could not provide it on Thursday.