Charlotte council hopeful James Mitchell didn’t repay mortgage


Former Charlotte metropolis council member James “Smuggie” Mitchell is working for an at-large seat within the Could 17 main. Information broke this week that he didn’t repay a $375,000 mortgage from an funding agency that owns a building firm he used to move up.

A former Charlotte metropolis councilman hoping to get reelected this yr didn’t repay a $375,000 mortgage he acquired in late 2020 from a building firm he served as president of after leaving workplace, in keeping with paperwork obtained from the Metropolis of Charlotte with a public information request.

In December, James “Smuggie” Mitchell first acquired a letter demanding he pay again the mortgage in 5 enterprise days, plus about $7,000 in curiosity, in keeping with the information. The funding agency, Shiny Hope Capital, that bought the development firm thought of him as failing to pay again the mortgage in subsequent weeks till saying it took management of Mitchell’s stake within the building firm, information present.

Information of the mortgage default was first reported by The Charlotte Business Journal, which obtained the information from the town. The information embrace a number of pages of emails and letters from Robinson Bradshaw, a regulation agency representing Shiny Hope Capital. It additionally included letters from Malcomb Coley, one of many funding companies leaders.

Mitchell informed the Charlotte Enterprise Journal and WFAE that he nonetheless owns a 25% share of the development firm.

He’s one in all six Democrats working for an at-large council seat. He beforehand served on the council, representing District 2 from 1999-2013 after which as an at-large member from 2015-2021.

Mitchell abruptly resigned from his council put up in January 2021 after taking a job as co-owner and president of RJ Leeper. The development firm had been bought by Shiny Hope Capital LLC, which was created by native enterprise leaders. Its main traders included Hugh McColl, former Financial institution of America CEO, in addition to Coley and Lloyd Yates, a former chief at Duke Power, the Observer beforehand reported.

On the time he resigned from Metropolis Council, Mitchell owned 25% of RJ Leeper. State law prevents public officers from instantly benefiting from a contract with the general public company they serve. The regulation considers an possession stake higher than 10% to be a direct profit.

Mitchell mentioned the statute would have prevented RJ Leeper from doing enterprise with the town if he had stayed on council, the Observer reported when he resigned.

“The opportunity was too great to take a 30-year minority-owned company and continue the legacy,” Mitchell mentioned in January 2021. “I think I can impact Charlotte in a different way.”

Mitchell later left his executive position atop RJ Leeper, whereas saying he would proceed to personal 25%, the Observer reported in July.

Makes an attempt to succeed in him Friday had been unsuccessful. An lawyer representing him, Bobby Robinson, wrote in an e mail to The Charlotte Observer Friday afternoon that he was unable to remark presently “due to pending litigation.”

Decreasing curiosity

Mitchell’s possession in RJ Leeper issues as a result of, if he’s elected, the ties might have an effect on the corporate’s skill to do enterprise with the town.

In interviews with the Charlotte Enterprise Journal, Mitchell mentioned he could be prepared to cut back his curiosity beneath 10% if he will get elected. He additionally informed the information group that he doesn’t need to get in the best way of RJ Leeper’s skill obtain and work on bids for metropolis contracts.

RJ Leeper has been concerned in work on public initiatives such because the Charlotte Conference Heart and Charlotte Douglas Worldwide Airport expansions, the Observer has reported.

The development firm was based in 1993 by former Metropolis Council member Ron Leeper, and has develop into one of many main minority-owned contractors within the Southeast.

Failure to pay mortgage

In early 2020, Shiny Hope loaned Mitchell $375,000, in keeping with paperwork obtained by way of a public information request. It’s not clear what the mortgage was for. The mortgage was secured by, amongst different issues, Mitchell’s 25% stake within the building firm.

A yr later, Robinson Bradshaw, the agency representing Shiny Hope, wrote an e mail to Mitchell demanding fee of the mortgage. At that time, paperwork present, Mitchell’s mortgage stood at round $382,000, together with curiosity. The fee was due inside 5 enterprise days, the paperwork state.

Failure to pay would imply Shiny Hope would pursue methods to recuperate the mortgage, together with submitting a lawsuit towards Mitchell and “foreclosing on your member equity in Bright Hope Construction, LLC,” paperwork state.

On Jan. 24 of this yr, Robinson Bradshaw wrote a letter to Mitchell stating he didn’t make a fee and even reply to the letter. He had till the top of the month to make a fee or Shiny Hope might pursue the lawsuit and the foreclosures on Mitchell’s member fairness in Shiny Hope, paperwork state.

On March 1, Shiny Hope wrote one other letter to Mitchell stating the mortgage was nonetheless excellent. The letter states Shiny Hope’s proper to just accept Mitchell’s 25% stake underneath the phrases of the mortgage settlement.

Later that month, Shiny Hope wrote to Mitchell that it had accepted — or, basically, taken management of — his 25% stake within the firm, per phrases of the mortgage settlement. The efficient date was March 22.

The mortgage settlement features a paragraph concerning the mortgage fee. Mitchell agreed to pay the $375,000 mortgage “on demand, but in any event no later than 12/31/2024,” paperwork present.

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Gordon Rago covers progress and improvement for The Charlotte Observer. He beforehand was a reporter at The Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, Virginia and commenced his journalism profession in 2013 on the Shoshone Information-Press in Idaho.

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