By Clint Parker
Henderson County – Back in May, the Leader reported on a home that was raided. That home has now been linked to a developer/contractor who performed work for Buncombe County. The developer/contractor also sold at least one property to the county for almost $10 million. The home at 59 Fairway Falls Road at the High Vista Golf Course was raided by federal and state agents on May 22. It has been linked to developer/contractor Greg Edney of Northwest Property Group, by information filed with the NC Secretary of State Office.
The Leader published the article about the raid on May 23 of this year. In that article, several anonymous sources told the Leader former Buncombe County Manager Wanda Greene had been seen at the home. In the report, Henderson County Sheriff Department’s Major Frank Stout confirmed the raid saying, “The Henderson County Sheriff’s Department did assist with the raid by having one unmarked vehicle at the entrance of the road.” Stout said, “The raid was conducted by the IRS and the State Bureau of Investigation.” The Henderson County Sheriff’s Department did not know the reason for the raid.
Greene’s attorney, Thomas Amburgey, contacted the Leader after the article appeared and said, “My client has never lived in that house and has no association with Mr. Edney.” Asked if she had ever lived in the High Vista subdivision, Amburgey said, “I can’t answer to that.” However, the Leader never mention Edney in the article. Asked who Edney was, Amburgey grew silent and would not divulge any more information.
In an investigation into Mr. Edney, the Leader found his name noted on the North Carolina Secretary of State’s website. There a Greg Edney, Gregory Edney or Gregory A. Edney was listed as a registered agent for 44 different companies along with numerous addresses of the companies registered offices one of which was the 59 Fairway Falls Road home. That address along with Edney’s name appeared on documents of companies formed in 2018 and 2019. The company names were not Northwest Property Group. The company address listed for that company was on Hendersonville Road. An internet search of Edney also revealed the Fairway Falls address as his current residence.
The Leader also inquired, in an email request sent to the Buncombe County Finance Department, into any financial dealings the county had with Edney or any of the companies where Edney was listed as the registered agent and asked for copies of any payments made to them. However, our request was referred to the Buncombe County Attorney’s Office.
After several weeks, the Leader has received over 50 pages of financial dealings Edney had with the county including the contract to buy 200 College Street. The building is where the county commissioners’ offices are currently located along with other county offices. The purchase price for the structure, according to the agreement, was $9.5 million in 2009. The document is signed by Edney along with then Buncombe County Commissioner David Gantt.
Questioned about Edney and any dealings with the county he might have had, Buncombe County Attorney Michael Frue told the Leader, “Yeah. Originally he was Northwest Properties. He built this building, [and] a number of other buildings, and that building across from the brewpub on Merrimon Avenue.” Asked if former County Manager Greene was in charge of the dealings with Edney? Frue declined to comment.
According to the documents obtained by the Leader, Greene was at least acquainted with Edney since he had business dealings with the county and Edney addressed some of the papers to Greene and they were, “hand-delivered” to Greene. In another document dated February of 2006, there is a reference to meeting with “Greg, Wanda and Mike” for legal services.
Greene has pled guilty in Federal Court to being involved in a kickback scheme that defrauded taxpayers of Buncombe County of millions of dollars. It is not clear if the May 22 raid by federal and state agents is connected to the kickback scheme investigation by law enforcement or not.
The Leader attempted to contact Edney at a Hendersonville Road address listed on forms recorded with the secretary of state. The newspaper also called several phone numbers found on the internet that were associated with his company. Edney’s office was no longer at the address and the phone number had been disconnected. Another phone number listed for Edney was called, but the number continuously rang with no way to leave a message. High Vista is a gated community and the Leader could not obtain entrance to attempt a face-to-face interview.
A sentencing date for Greene has reportedly been set for August 28 in the Federal Courthouse in Asheville. Greene has asked for a delay in the sentencing hearing.
Editor’s note: Freelance reporter Chad Nesbitt wrote the original report and contributed to this report.