Court document details new allegations of intimidation, corruption against suspended Sheriff

Court document details new allegations of intimidation, corruption against suspended Sheriff
Published: Oct. 21, 2022 at 4:04 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 21, 2022 at 5:15 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - Just days ahead of a hearing to determine whether Jody Greene will remain Sheriff of Columbus County, a newly filed court document revealed numerous new allegations of intimidation and abuse of power by Greene. The document also details a sexual relationship between Greene and a detective in the Sheriff’s Office.

Earlier this month, Greene was suspended from his elected position after District Attorney Jon David filed a petition to remove Greene from office over racist comments he made during a recorded phone conversation with Jason Soles, then-captain at the Sheriff’s Office in 2019. WECT first reported the existence of the recorded call last month.

In an amended petition filed on Friday, David said he had informed Greene he had been Giglio-impaired because of his comments, meaning prosecutors could no longer call him as a witness in any criminal hearing “based on his racial bias.”

David then pivoted, saying numerous individuals had approached his office following the filing of the initial petition with concerns about “[Greene] and his agents engaging in intimidation and abusing [Greene’s] authority,” according to the document.

In one instance, Greene ordered the arrest of Soles’ stepfather, Jesse Lee Croom, who told Greene he “needed to grow up” after a contentious Columbus County Board of Commissioners meeting. Following a “considerable delay” at the magistrate’s office, deputies eventually charged Croom with disorderly conduct in a public building. That charge was ultimately quashed by a judge for being facially deficient to state criminal charge, according to the document.

In describing the reported sexual relationship between Greene and one of his deputies, David wrote that it spanned numerous months and “interfered with the necessary and proper administration” of the Sheriff’s Office.

“This included engaging in sex acts while both [Greene] and [the detective] were on duty, and on at least one occasion resulted in damage to county property.”

David wrote that, among other evidence, his office has two recorded phone conversations corroborating the relationship between Greene and the detective.

“Defendant has demonstrated on numerous occasions that he is willing to misuse the power and authority inherent to the office of sheriff for improper personal and political gain,” David wrote in the petition. “He has used his office to hire and fire deputies based on race and to carry political favor. He has abused his power to decide which laws are enforced and against whom they are enforced. He has chilled the first amendment right of free speech, attempted to improperly influence his negotiations with county commissioners, and unfairly targeted and unjustly arrested citizens.”

The hearing on David’s petition to remove Greene from office is scheduled for Monday, October 24.

WECT is still reviewing the 54-page amended petition (included in full below) and will update this article with more information.