By Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – Todd Wade, an independent who will face Mayor George “Pat” Patterson in the June 4 general election, has challenged Patterson to divest himself of real estate interests while serving in City Hall.
Patterson counters that Wade is trying to divert residents’ attention from more substantive concerns.
Without making specific allegations, a statement from Wade’s campaign said, “It is well-known that Oxford’s current mayor has a vast portfolio of student housing and business property.”
Wade was quoted in the statement as saying, “We must work harder to make sure that the public fully trusts the office of mayor and, regardless of actual impropriety or not, an outright prohibition on private real estate business dealings for the mayor will remove any misperceptions … .”
Patterson said his holdings are well-known and denies any impropriety.
“Since being elected mayor I have owned or had interest in one piece of commercial property in Oxford (James Food Center), 10 rental homes and previous holdings in mini storage units,” Patterson said. “I have owned them for years with no conflict of interest.
“This kind of accusation shows a lack of focus and understanding of the real issues surrounding this election.”