ABERDEEN — City of Aberdeen Building Inspector Terry Lenoir was arrested Tuesday as part of an investigation by the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department. Lenoir was charged with accepting a bribe.
“On Monday, November 23, we were contacted in reference to a contractor that was in a dispute with the City of Aberdeen Building Inspector over a construction project that he was doing in the City of Aberdeen.,” MCSD Chief Deputy Brent Swann said. “The contractor admitted that there was a problem and was trying to take steps to correct the problem. The contractor felt that the City of Aberdeen Building Inspector was going to offer him a solution to the problem that was not legal. The contractor met with investigators and Monroe County Investigators developed enough evidence to charge, Terry Wayne Lenoir, with bribery.
According to the affidavit that wass filed with the Monroe County Justice Court, “Terry Wayne Lenoir did willfully, unlawfully, and feloniously accept one thousand dollars as an offer or promise to influence his opinion, action, or judgment on a pending construction code matter within the City of Aberdeen.” It also states that
Lenoir was on duty as the Building Inspector with the City of Aberdeen when he accepted the one thousand dollars according to Swan.
Aberdeen Mayor Jim Ballard could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.
Ward 3 Alderman David Ewing said the board is not yet willing to make a statement on Lenoir’s arrest.
“As far as the information surrounding this arrest goes, we do not know all of the facts,” Ewing said. “The only comment I can really make at this point is that I assure you I will do what’s lawful.”
Lenoir, a former meter reader with the Aberdeen Electric Department, has come under harsh criticism recently from members of the Aberdeen Zoning Board as well as local contractors and homeowners.
“It was only a matter of time before (Lenoir) got caught by the authorities doing what he has been accused of doing to the City of Aberdeen and its citizens for a long time,” Aberdeen Zoning Board Secretary Jim Edwards said. “My only regret is that it took several years to do it. Planning and zoning has been preoccupied putting out the fires that (Lenoir) has started for many years. Housing-starts in Aberdeen have come to a complete halt as a result of the corruption in this office. It will take some time for investors to regain confidence in the leadership of Aberdeen to enforce their building and zoning codes again. This arrest had to happen for the healing process to begin.”
Aberdeen resident Edward Kelly, who has had a public battle with Lenoir over residential zoning issues, applauded the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department.
“I am very impressed by the work done by Sheriff Andy Hood and his investigators,” Kelly said. “In my opinion, Lenoir has done more damage to the property owners and property values in Aberdeen than the destruction caused by General Sherman when he marched through Atlanta.”
Lenoir was arraigned in Monroe County Justice Court Tuesday morning by Judge Robert Fowlkes, Bond was set at $10,000.
Jeff Clark/Monroe Journal