A candidate for the Huntersville Board of Commissioners said he “made a major judgment error” in the late 1990s when he was convicted on drug possession and possession of a firearm by a felon charges.Franklin Freeman is among 10 candidates for six seats on the board Nov. 5.Freeman, 44, told the Observer in an Oct. 28 email that he has since “completely committed to working with youth and teaching them the importance of making good decisions through a focus on education, leadership development and juvenile justice work.”Lawrence Brinson, also a candidate for the Huntersville Board of Commissioners on Nov. 5, owes $11,200 in court-ordered judgments, including $9,300 to the Internal Revenue Service, records show.Brinson told the Observer he is making regular payments on what he owes the IRS. But records showing he and his wife also owe $1,900 to a business called the Real Estate Center are “misleading” and “false,” he said.Each election, the Observer checks criminal and civil public court records for any cases involving candidates for elected office in the Charlotte region. No other candidates for mayor or council in Huntersville, Cornelius, Davidson or Mooresville had criminal or civil judgments against them, records show.Of the 2010 IRS judgment against him, Brinson said in an Oct. 28 email to the Observer:“Like millions of Americans who file business and personal taxes, we asked for and were given an extension. We accepted the opportunity to make monthly payments rather than pay the total tax obligation immediately. We are honoring our installment agreement.”As for the $1,900 2012 judgment against him and his wife involving the Real Estate Center, Brinson said: “Unfortunately, information contained in public records is inaccurate and misleading. We are in the process of correcting this false information.”In his email to the Observer, Freeman described what happened to him in the late 1990s as “an unfortunate situation.” He was convicted of the two charges in 1998 and given probation, court records show.Freeman said he “made a major judgment error when it came to allowing past acquaintances to re-enter his life, which was recognized by the courts that understood that Franklin was not the bearer but in the wrong place at the wrong time.”He said he committed his life to showing youth the right way, as evidenced by his roles as former vice chair of the Mecklenburg County Juvenile Crime Prevention Council, an Advisory Council member of the Eckerd Foundation, his service on the board of ASPIRA of North Carolina, and his coaching youth sports, including football, basketball, baseball and soccer.ASPIRA of North Carolina is a not-for-profit, community-based organization serving Latino/Hispanic youth and their families across the Carolinas.“We appreciate The Charlotte Observer taking time out to conduct background checks on all candidates, as this gives voters an opportunity to better understand what motivates individuals to want to serve in public office,” Freeman said in his email.“Franklin has spent the majority of his adult life committed to that very thing – serving the public,” Freeman said.
Saturday, Nov. 02, 2013
Two Huntersville candidates have court records
Marusak: 704-987-3670; Twitter: @jmarusak
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