On Tuesday, 26 March 2019, just after 2 p.m., a friend called my wife to relay a message that a mutual friend, Donald Matthews, president of the Randolph County chapter of the NAACP, wanted me to call him on the telephone.
In the interest of full disclosure, Don Matthews and I have been acquainted for about five years now. I stood in solidarity with Don and several more of our neighbors at a vigil in downtown Asheboro for Heather Heyer in 2017, and have seen him speak several times at meetings I have attended. We’ve also been friends on Facebook for several years.
When I called Mr. Matthews he informed me that Ramseur Commissioner Grant Cheek and Mayor Danny Shaw had contacted him. According to Don, both men alleged that I had been racially motivated in my “harassment” of Mr. Cheek and alluded to Mr. Cheek’s intent to file a complaint with the NAACP or possibly file civil charges against me, all based upon my writing here and on social media platforms.
According to Grant Cheek, this entire website, and all the time I have put into it since last December, has but one purpose: to harass him because he’s a Black man.
Sorry Grant, this work is about one thing and one thing only: holding elected officials and employees of the town of Ramseur, North Carolina accountable for their words and deeds. Yes, I have been highly critical of Grant Cheek’s behavior as a town commissioner and his position as deputy town clerk/water-billing clerk. I make no apologies.
I have called for him to resign, either from the Board of Commissioners or from his position as an employee of our municipal government, and I reiterate that demand today. Despite legal exceptions in North Carolina law, Grant Cheek’s constant presence in our municipal office creates several serious conflicts of interest that can no longer be tolerated.
A day or two after my first call with Don Matthews I rang his phone again to see if he had yet received a written complaint as promised. Don informed me that Mayor Shaw was there with him at that moment so I asked him to call me back when Mr. Shaw left. When he called back Mr. Matthews informed me that at no time during their conversation had the mayor ever stated directly what Grant Cheek’s complaint was, nor would he make any statement in writing.
The following Monday, 01 April 2019, I received a call from Mr. Matthews informing me that Commissioner Cheek had finally delivered his complaint in writing. Mr. Cheek was not happy when he was informed that a copy of the complaint would be shared with me, but these are serious accusations, potentially defamatory, and I had a right to see the allegations, as any defendant in a court of law has the right to face their accuser.
On Tuesday, 02 April 2019, I met with Don Matthews and received a copy of the complaint. I discovered that several other people were also named in the document: Commissioner David Overman, Commissioner Vicki Caudle, Ray Caudle, J.C. Parrish, Denise Lowe, and Jim McIntosh. I shared copies with them and suggested that we all meet in person to discuss what action, if any, to take.
I also contacted Don Matthews again and expressed my concerns about additional people being named in Cheek’s complaint. I pointed out that none of Mr. Cheek’s written accusations amounted to any form of racial harassment, with the possible exception of a statement attributed to a former town commissioner, now deceased, which was part of another case in which Mr. Cheek received a $15,000 settlement in 2018, and as such has no bearing upon the current complaint.
Most of the people named above met on Sunday night, 07 April 2019, and the consensus was reached that I should write this down as soon as possible and hold it for future publication. Today is 08 April 2019.
The following is a verbatim transcription, without corrections, of Mr. Cheek’s complaint, dated 26 March 2019. I have added a few line breaks to compensate for Mr. Cheek’s lack of punctuation. Grant Cheek’s words are printed in bold italics. You can also click on each of the images to view larger scans of the original document.
Last year Grant Cheek sued the Town of Ramseur and two commissioners over alleged racial harassment. Here’s an article from the Asheboro Courier-Tribune about the case and the settlement, and here are links (here, here, and here) to the primary documents from that case. The suit was dismissed voluntarily, without prejudice. Here’s a link to a short explanation of what that means. Grant Cheek was awarded $15,000 in the settlement.
“Since then it has been constantly harassment J.C. Parrish Jay Herbert and Denise Lowe”
Mr. Cheek, for the last time, my last name is HUBBARD (pronounced, huh – bird), it’s written on my water bill! Please respect me enough to learn to pronounce and spell my name properly when you attempt to slander me.
“Commissioners David Overman Vicki Caudle and Jay Herbert Held a meeting about behind closed doors and I was not allowed to be a part and at time I told Commissioners Caudle that she shouldn’t be having a meeting in my department and I am not a part of it. It has been a Constant battle with them over my employment”
Yes, we did meet one morning. We had hoped that Jim McIntosh, our former director of public works, could meet with us as well. We wanted to look at the long range plan for water and sewer capital improvements. Since three commissioners cannot meet unannounced to discuss town business without violating North Carolina’s public meetings law, Commissioner Cheek could not legally be present. Besides, the meeting took place during his usual working hours at the municipal office; he was on the clock.
“Mrs. Caudle and David has told me they want me out of the office and Board. I have been threatened. Very nasty thing put on the internet that’s untrue and I honestly believe because the color of my skin”
Commissioners Caudle and Overman are entitled to their opinions and have the same rights every other American has to express those opinions, right or wrong. If Mr. Cheek was threatened he should have stated the exact nature of the threat, the date, approximate time, and any other specific details. Likewise, he should have provided precise details of any statements that have been posted by me on the Internet, and state exactly what part of anything I have said or done indicates that I was motivated by Mr. Cheek’s ethnicity, sexual orientation, or any other facet of his existence he has zero control over.
Yes, I and at least some of the others listed have driven or walked past Mr. Cheek’s home at times. He lives on Elam Avenue, which is a municipal road that connects two state highways. Many people travel that street every day. Others walk, jog, ride bicycles or exercise their pets in the neighborhood.
“Keep an eye on me”
Mr. Cheek is a public official and is subject to criticism, like any other pubic official.
“Coming into my Job harassing me. Commissione[r] Caudle Husband has even come in the office and threatened to drag my skinny ass from behind the Counter. I also been Called by Commissioners Fried Chicken and going to send us back across the ocean Now that Trump in office.”
Ray Caudle admitted to me, and probably to anyone else who asks, that yes, he did tell Grant Cheek he would drag his skinny ass from behind the counter once. The incident happened before the 2017 election in which Mr. Caudle’s wife was elected to a seat on the Board of Commissioners. Mr. Cheek has a history of instigating arguments with the Caudles going back many years; this incident was one in a long series of events. Calling someone skinny is not a racial slur.
As for the “Fried Chicken” remark, it is my understanding that remark was made by former commissioner Joe Lineberry, now deceased, shortly after or on the night of Mr. Cheek’s election in 2015. The incident was included in Mr. Cheeks’ civil case against the town, which was settled in 2018.
“I have been called a bastard by Mr. Jay Herbert he even posted it on the Internet. Miss Denise Lowe refused to pay me her water bill to me and that is my Job the Town Clerk had to come out the back office to take her water Bill.”
I cannot recall ever calling Mr. Cheek a bastard, verbally or online, and bastard is not a racist term. According to Denise Lowe the incident Grant Cheek refers to with her happened in early 2016, less than three months after Cheek took office. She was unsure of his position within the office at that time and wanted to make certain that her payment was recorded properly. Given the number of mistakes in payment recording that have been reported to me by several concerned citizens in recent months, perhaps Denise Lowe had a valid concern.
Grant Cheek and his neighbor, Commissioner* Adam Smith, hired – perhaps bartered, depending on who’s telling the story – some local men well known for doing tree trimming work. The brush these men cut was stacked at the edge of the street to be collected by contractors employed by the Town of Ramseur, in blatant violation of local ordinances and with complete disregard for how such behavior might have the appearance of an abuse of power by elected officials.
Nowhere in the above narrative have any threats or race based harassment been shown. The only thing I see proven by Mr. Cheek’s statement is that he’s not very literate.
On Saturday, 13 April 2019, Grant Cheek spoke to the Randolph County chapter of the NAACP at their monthly meeting. I’m told there was some debate about whether to invite us both to speak on the same day, and initially I agreed that it was correct to keep our testimonies separate, but now, almost a week later and hearing from several people who were in the room, I wish I had been there, if for no other reason than to know first hand what Grant Cheek said about me.
Witnesses to his complaint state that Mr. Cheek misrepresented my work at RamseurWatchdog.com as focused only on him. This is demonstrably untrue. I have offered criticism here of Mr. Cheek, Mr. Smith, Mr. Cox, and Mayor Shaw. Given time I’m sure I will find reason to criticize Mrs. Caudle, as I did early in her term in office in a letter to the editor of the Courier-Tribune, and I’d probably find fault in some of what Mr. Overman does as well, except that most of his departmental responsibilities were stripped by previous board members and given to Mr. Cheek. It’s hard to find fault in a commissioner who isn’t allowed to work in the same capacity as his peers.
I’m also told that Mr. Cheek told the NAACP meeting that Commissioner Caudle and Denise Lowe, and perhaps others, are “using me” or somehow manipulating me into harassing him. I hate to be the one to break it to Mr. Cheek, but he should have figured out last summer that I’m not so easily manipulated or coerced, and he’s really not that important to me as an individual.
At 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, 11 May 2019, this post will be published at the same time that the Randolph County chapter of the NAACP convenes their next monthly meeting. I have been asked to speak on my own behalf. I know who I am. I am not a racist, nor am I homophobic. I am a concerned citizen exercising my right to scrutinize my elected officials and to publish (speak) my opinion and as long as I draw breath I will not be silent.Print This Post