Elections

Financial, legal problems dog some Charlotte candidates

One candidate has spent time in prison – four times.

One is scheduled for trial next week on marijuana possession and resisting arrest.

One was found guilty of possessing stolen goods when he was caught with a computer cord tied around his waist holding up his pants.

And if another candidate votes this fall, it will be his first time in a voting booth.

They’re among the Charlotte candidates for mayor and district city council seats who have had run-ins with the law, financial problems or spotty voting records.

The Observer published the background checks on at-large council candidates last week.

Mayor

Roderick Davis, D

Records show the Democratic mayoral candidate was found guilty of a worthless check charge last year and possession of stolen property in 2005.

He was twice found guilty of marijuana possession, most recently in 2012.

Davis calls the offenses “petty charges.”

The worthless check charge, he says, “I didn’t know existed.” Though he doesn’t recall the exact amount, he says he paid $600 to clear it up.

The stolen property charge, he says, involved a USB computer cord tied around his waist as a belt. Davis says he spent a total of about eight days in jail for various offenses.

Everybody makes mistakes, that’s part of American life. … I’m here to solve issues, not talk about what I’ve done in the past.

Roderick Davis, mayoral candidate

“This is why I’m running,” he says, “the justice system is not serving the people correctly. …

“If it’s on my record I stand behind it 100 percent because I’m not a bad guy. Everybody makes mistakes, that’s part of American life. … I’m here to solve issues, not talk about what I’ve done in the past.”

Records also show that Davis has only voted in presidential elections since 2008, not in primaries or local elections.

DeJawon Joseph, D

The Democratic mayoral candidate is scheduled for trial Thursday for resisting an officer.

The charge appears to stem from last November, when he was also charged with consuming alcohol on a public street.

Joseph could not be reached despite repeated attempts by phone and email.

District 2

Justin Dunn, R

Justin Dunn’s vote this fall will be his first.

At 31, he’s been in Charlotte 17 years and never voted in a local or national election.

“I didn’t have enough time to devote to researching the candidates and their effect on the nuts and bolts of Charlotte,” he says. “Now my thoughts have changed.”

I didn’t want my ignorant vote to devalue the vote of people who did research on the candidates.

Council candidate Justin Dunn

Dunn says he began paying more attention to politics two years ago but still didn’t vote.

“I didn’t want my ignorant vote to devalue the vote of people who did research on the candidates and topics,” he says.

Records show that in 2008, Dunn also pleaded guilty to a Level 4 charge of driving while impaired. He said he’d had one beer after work when he was stopped.

“I followed my lawyer’s advice and took that plea,” he says.

District 3

LaWana Mayfield, D

As reported in 2011, Mayfield filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2004, two years after her house was foreclosed on.

At the time she said the trouble stemmed from an attempt to buy a house. She’d been looking at two homes and inadvertently signed papers for both. Mayfield, who represents District 3 on the city council, blamed her real estate agent.

“A good part of my work has been to educate, so that no one else falls prey to housing scams,” she says.

Eric Netter, R

Netter, a Republican running for council in District 3, has a record that includes four trips to prison. The Observer recounted his legal history when he first ran in 2013.

Records show he spent two months in prison in 2002 for driving while intoxicated. In 2007, he was charged with a probation violation and spent five months behind bars.

Department of Correction records show he also served behind bars in 2001 and 1994. Both times followed driving convictions.

Records show he was found guilty of driving with a revoked license in 2013, and had two similar offenses since 2009. Now working for a contractor, he has a driver.

“You can rest assured that right now Eric Wayne Netter is not behind anybody’s wheel,” he says.

In 2013, records show he was found guilty in Craven County on a worthless check charge and ordered to pay court costs. Netter has said the matter stemmed from a car repair bill more than a decade ago.

Of his prison stints, Netter says, “In a way I’m kind of glad of the experience, to be able to see it from a different perspective.”

District 5

John Autry

As previously reported, records show that Autry filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in 2005 and paid off his debts three years later.

He said he filed bankruptcy in order not to lose his house. His Internet development business had failed and his fortunes “fell into a spiral.”

“The Chapter 13 was a responsible approach and I did pay off the debt,” he says. “I was glad I was able to do that and … get it behind me.”

Scott Jenkins

Jenkins was living in San Bernadino, Calif., when he declared Chapter 13 bankruptcy in 2003.

He says he was unemployed and going through a divorce. Jenkins moved to Charlotte in 2006 and now works as a manager for the city’s Department of Transportation.

“Some bad luck things happened, but we rebounded,” he says. “There’s nothing to hide. I’m just a normal person and have normal problems like other people.”

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