Princeville Backing Indicted Town Manager
Posted April 15, 2008 5:39 p.m. EDT
Updated April 15, 2008 9:26 p.m. EDT
PRINCEVILLE, N.C. — Nine years after flood waters spawned by Hurricane Floyd nearly destroyed Princeville, the town is dealing with a political storm that is shaking its foundation.
A grand jury last week indicted Town Manager Sam Knight and a second man on charges of scamming Princeville out of more than $25,000 in disaster relief funds between August 2004 and December 2006.
Knight and Mark Richardson, 42, were each indicted on 13 counts of obtaining property by false pretense and one count of conspiracy to commit false pretenses.
The indictments allege that Richardson passed himself off as working for a company called Williams Surveying Co. and billed for work done to rebuild the town after the hurricane when he knew no work was done. The indictments also allege that Knight knew Williams Surveying didn't exist but had Princeville's finance officer process the invoices and cut checks totaling $25,293 for Richardson.
The indictments were the result of a nine-month State Bureau of Investigation probe into the town's handling of Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster funds.
Princeville officials declined to discuss Knight's arrest, referring to a statement signed by Mayor Delia Perkins that says Knight has the support of town commissioners and would remain on the job.
The town conducted an internal investigation into Floyd-recovery spending and determined that Knight did nothing illegal, the statement said.