Editor’s Note: This column was submitted by former Councilman Tyrone Williams, who is currently running for the District 2 seat.

As an entrepreneur and private lender, I regularly receive requests from investors for the purpose of financing real estate transactions, usually secured by a note and a mortgage/deed of trust. So when I got a call from a former financial consultant for the city of Fayetteville on behalf of the buyer of the Prince Charles Hotel, who needed $100,000 to close the property at 250 Hay Street, I was eager to provide my services in an effort to help my city. I financed the $100,000 loan payable to the purchaser of the Prince Charles Hotel from 450 Hay, LLC, through the attorneys at closing. (Refer to Cumberland County Deeds Registry) Additionally, in an effort to keep the purchaser of the Prince Charles Hotel in compliance with the city ordinance, my construction company provided mechanical services of more than $15,000 to be repaid with cash, or in- kind services were never paid.

Years after the loan was funded and my construction company completed work on the property, it has come to my attention that the property in question has been penalized due to an alteration not being carried out according to the guidelines historical. The city threatened the purchaser of the Prince Charles hotel with a conviction and tax liens that jeopardized my first position of lien. Fortunately, the Prince Charles Hotel buyer eventually repaid the $100,000 loan after later reading in The Fayetteville Observer that the city would foreclose on the property. I assumed that the property would have been transferred by means of a tax lien and that the other debt of $15,000 that the buyer of the Prince Charles hotel owed me was therefore cancelled. I didn’t know he had never gone through the tax sale. This all happened before I was elected to the city council.

I ran for city council and was elected. While in office, a vote was cast to build the Prince Charles Hotel and parking lot. After reading the contract and drawing on my experience as an entrepreneur, real estate investor, developer and negotiator, the contract seemed to me to be more advantageous for the private developer with little benefit for our city. I voted against it, but it still went to 9 to 1. Looking back, I realized that was where the witch hunt started. Mr. Archie McMillian was right. I refer to The Fayetteville Observer article, April 11, 2018, titled Opinions Mixed on Williams. The late Archie McMillian, who was the owner of Mr Zeke’s shoe shine shop, said: ‘I think it’s a witch hunt.

A few months later I received a call from my lawyer at that time stating that the owner of the Prince Charles Hotel had never received the first lien satisfaction letter stating that the $100,000 loan had been reimbursed. At this point, I refused to sign the lien because the buyer of the Prince Charles hotel never paid me for the services rendered for the other $15,000 debt. Somehow the title company transferred ownership of the Prince Charles Hotel and they were able to move on without the letter of satisfaction.

As a board member, I asked for advice on how to be transparent in this situation. At that time, I asked Fayetteville’s CFO about this action and was told I needed to speak with the city attorney. The city’s chief financial officer then took early retirement. Now the witch hunt has begun with me facing threats, my house being damaged and continuously harassed. The situation with the tape recording was a setup that was changed to make it look like corruption. They forgot to cut the part where we discussed bringing this discussion back to the city attorney. At the next meeting between me and the city attorney, I was informed that she had hired an attorney based in Charlotte, NC to represent the city of Fayetteville.

There was also a Coming publication, FAYETTEVILLES’S MOST NOT WANTED – Gone And Fayetteville Moves On (cover), dated May 2018. The cover story was titled Tyrone Williams: What Happens Next? By Jeff Thompson

How far are we? In November 2017, the citizens of Fayetteville elected me, Tyrone Williams, because I was and still am the most qualified for the job. I fought for transparency and accountability in government, especially in this project. As a result, I suffered teasing, unfair judgments, and lies from government officials who had to cover up a bad deal. The defamation of one’s character in order to achieve the goals of getting what is desired is an everyday policy, but it must stop. As a voter and taxpayer, you deserve honest and integral leadership as your representation. Vote Tyrone Williams, and you will get exactly that!

As taxpayers, taxes are taken from every paycheck that goes directly to the government before it is received, and we cannot use our voices or opinions to determine what is best for the City of Fayetteville. It is ridiculous and absurd because it places us in organized types of bondage. Ask yourself: how far are we as black people? These actions and behaviors are so unfair and must stop. Change is desperately needed, and it must happen very soon. There is a mentality that people still have of working in the “Big House” today. Citizens must elect people to city council and other government offices who want to work hard for taxpayers. District 2 and the entire city of Fayetteville needs a change right now!

There is a discussion about $600,000 taken from the City of Fayetteville budget to be invested in a downtown high-rise apartment terrace project. Full transparency of every city project that comes from taxpayer money, grants, and funding must be revealed to the citizens of Fayetteville.