Longtime Landis Town Manager Reed Linn and Ginger Gibson, the town finance officer, resigned after a criminal investigation into town finances.
Police uncovered “substantial evidence of possible criminal activity,” Mayor Mike Mahaley said in a letter Thursday.
The N.C. State Bureau of Investigation is conducting the investigation at the request of Rowan County District Attorney Brandy Cook.
The investigation is in its early stages, officials said. Linn and Gibson resigned immediately.
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Monday night, Mahaley said Linn was expected to step down in March. In a letter to the Landis Board of Aldermen, Linn said he was stepping down to spend more time with his family.
“When he sent the letter to us, about his retirement, he mentioned a loss,” board member Tommy Garver said. “His wife’s mother passed away recently ... and she has been ill for a quite a good time, and I feel he needs this time to be with his family, support his wife, for the loss in their family.”
Linn had planned to remain in his post as the town’s fire chief.
The board went into closed session then announced that Police Chief Kenny Isenhour would take over as interim town manager.
Dozens of residents spoke at the meeting, many concerned about town spending.
Town officials, including Mahaley and town attorney Rick Locklear, downplayed the spending concerns and the timing of Linn’s decision. They said a recent Salisbury Post article that cited concerns by the NC Local Government Commission about town financial issues was “fake news.”
“There are others out there snickering and laughing at us because somebody picked up a letter somewhere, misinterpreted it, used it as a spark to divide us and turn us against one another,” Locklear said. “That’s the one thing that we can’t do.”
According to the SBI, an unnamed third person is also being looked at in the investigation.
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