The text message you’ll find reproduced below was sent from Commissioner Adam Smith to Commissioner David Overman, sometime between August 5 and August 9, 2019. Mr. Overman showed the original messages to me on August 9, when I met him in order to make copies of the original set of library roof bid materials supplied to board members prior to the August 5 meeting.
After seeing those messages on Mr. Overman’s phone I asked him to forward them to me, which he did, in compliance with my ongoing request for all electronic communications relating to public Town of Ramseur business. Messages between elected officials regarding municipal business are considered public records and by law must be made available for examination upon request.
A quorum of any elected or appointed governing board (in this case, three members) cannot meet outside of a properly announced meeting to discuss government business without violating North Carolina’s open meetings law. Mr. Smith asked to hold an illegal meeting with two other commissioners and myself. Brazen, or just plain stupid? You be the judge.
I am certain that Mr. Smith was made aware of this law soon after his appointment to the Board of Commissioners just over a year ago. The other commissioners and Mayor Shaw have often referred to that law in conversations I’ve witnessed, so Smith cannot claim ignorance this time. Besides, as any police officer will tell you as they haul you away to jail, ignorance of the law is no excuse.
Adam Smith has earned a reputation for questionable behavior since his appointment, and the incident above is one more example of his disregard for the law and disrespect for the citizens whose support he is seeking in November’s election.
For the sake of those who haven’t kept score, here’s a brief review.
Smith’s appointment to the Board of Commissioners, on 6 August 2018, was a contentious affair in itself; the result of a divided four member board and a tie-breaking vote cast by the Mayor Danny Shaw.
Mayor Shaw, after nearly a quarter century either participating in or leading board meetings, refused to follow the most basic rules of regular order on the night in question. He could not bring himself to wait for the board members to cast their votes before improperly inserting himself into the process. Attorney Wilhoit appears to have agreed with my assessment, as seen in the short video below.
Commissioner Smith was assigned responsibility for seeing to the maintenance of our public library and Sunset Knoll cemetery. Within days he had hired a couple of his friends, one from Charlotte area and another from Pleasant Garden, to carry out pressure washing, painting, masonry, and electrical work, mostly at the cemetery.
The masonry work was so poorly executed that it had to be torn down and rebuilt, but only after a massive protest from citizens. Smith even stated that it “looked good” to him in a public meeting. Most of the electrical work performed is no longer functional; only the fixtures at the Coleridge Road entrance still burn.
Early last winter Mr. Smith went rogue and took it upon himself to initiate a trademark application for the town. It is highly unethical for an elected or appointed official to initiate such action without the knowledge, much less the approval, of all his or her fellow board members. The Board of Commissioners did eventually approve the application, but only after the process had been underway for several months and had cost local taxpayers almost a thousand dollars that could not be refunded. The final cost will be roughly $2,000; all to trademark a slogan, “Where family and friends meet,” that most people here, including the board members, rarely get right.
On March 4, Commissioner Smith lost his temper in the municipal office and verbally assaulted a local citizen. That same night he also skipped a scheduled board meeting and Mayor Shaw announced that Smith was giving serious thought to tendering his resignation. Mr. Smith did eventually apologize for his childish behavior, but it took much pressure from outraged citizens to make it happen.
As if all of the above wasn’t bad enough, Commissioner Smith has used at least three unofficial email accounts for town business, despite having been documented using his official townoframseur.org account soon after his appointment, in an effort to thwart a legal request to review any emails he sends or receives regarding town business. What other purpose could there be for using at least three different email accounts to carry out Town of Ramseur business?
Smith was also the point man in an effort to shut down this website and social media sites where citizens gather online to converse and critique the actions of our elected officials. The website you are now reading was established days after Mayor Shaw, with Smith and Cheek’s cooperation, led the Board of Commissioners to approve spending our tax money on legal services aimed at choking free speech in Ramseur.
Shortly thereafter, Adam Smith sent a poorly written email to Bob Wilhoit, making baseless accusations of a conspiracy between myself and David Turner, a web designer the town hired in 2018 to update, host, and help maintain the town website. When that tactic didn’t pan out, Smith apparently tried to pass himself off as a law enforcement agent to Facebook, still trying to quash the First Amendment freedoms he swore to defend as both a town commissioner and as a member of the United States Marine Corps.
It turns out this was not the only time Adam Smith has abused his status as a town commissioner in the past year. A few weeks ago I was contacted by a gentleman named Jose’ Gonzalez, who claimed to have information about Mr. Smith that he wanted to share with me.
I was skeptical, so I did a little research of my own. When I was satisfied that Mr. Gonzalez was indeed a real person I called him back and asked him how he knew Adam Smith. After a slight hesitation he told me that he plans to marry Mr. Smith’s ex-wife, and that Smith had been harassing them both for months.
Jose’ Gonzalez shared copies of several emails with me, and authorized me to share them here. I can find no reason not to believe that the emails were written by Adam Smith. The writing style matches known examples of Smith’s writing and the email addresses match accounts known to be his. This strong evidence indicates that Adam Smith used his title as a town commissioner in an effort to further a personal vendetta. If that’s not illegal it’s certainly unethical.
Two of the emails are reproduced in the images you see here. One was sent to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the other to a Department of Agriculture (USDA) email account. Both clearly show Adam Smith attempting to use his position on our Board of Commissioners to intimidate private citizens. In the first case he seems to have been attempting to obtain information about his ex-wife’s new partner or his family members, and possibly even have them deported.
(Names of Mr. Gonzalez’s family members have been deliberately omitted from the reproductions to protect their privacy. I have hidden the faces of Mr. Smith’s children from images used here for similar reasons.)
The second email appears to be an attempt to affect Smith’s children’s mother’s ability to obtain S.N.A.P. benefits, a.k.a. food stamps, which would have been used to feed his own children. What kind of sick individual does such a thing?
Anyone paying attention knows by now that Adam Smith is quite fond of his own image, his fancy cars, and his fancy house. Adam wants everyone to know he’s rich and powerful but a few months ago I was informed that Mr. Smith had taken a blue collar job at plant in Asheboro. I made a few calls and was able to verify that story was true.
Why would a man as wealthy as Adam Smith would like us to believe he is need to work for a local manufacturer? He’s a self-proclaimed “real estate mogul“. He even sells a book and offers consultations to help others become rich like him on a website called Frill Fortune.
If all that is true and legit, then why has his former spouse found it necessary to seek government benefits to keep their children fed? Why does she need government assistance at all? Is Mr. Smith not supporting his children?
Yes, these are very personal questions, but when you become a public official or a candidate for office these are fair questions potential voters may ask to find out what kind of person you are.
A few days ago, a neighbor alerted me to a new billboard on U.S. 64 heading east, near where N.C. 49 turns north toward Liberty. By now I’m sure most local readers have seen it too. I was curious about what such a thing might cost, so I visited the website of Lamar Advertising, and found some pricing information. Their site states, “Prices vary based on location, longer campaign lengths, and number of advertising locations purchased.”
Ramseur Commissioners are paid $1,800 per year before taxes are withheld. Since this sign went up just before the end of August, and the election happens on November 5, it’s probably a safe bet to say Adam Smith paid for at least eight weeks. Assuming $1,400 for each four week period, that’s $2,800, a thousand dollars more than he’ll get paid for one year as a town commissioner. That’s a pretty poor return on investment.
The average candidate will spend several hundred dollars on yard signs to run for office in a town this size. I know because I’ve done it. This being Smith’s first real campaign, and Adam being Adam, odds are he’ll spend more on those than necessary as well. Is this the kind of financial judgement you can trust with our scarce public funds?
Adam Smith is simply unfit to serve. His behavior reveals questionable character at every turn, and reflects poorly not only on his judgement but that of the three men who appointed him to our Board of Commissioners as well.
Two of those men, Danny Shaw and Grant Cheek, are running for reelection this year. They had several better options last year when they jumped at the chance to appoint Smith, a man whom they knew almost nothing about. None of them deserve to sit behind that desk and lead our local government another day.
Adam Smith is just plain wrong for Ramseur.