Forsyth County commissioners face ethics complaints over road wi - CBS46 News

Forsyth County commissioners face ethics complaints over road widening vote

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Two Forsyth County commissioners have been accused of ethics violations for votes they made to widen Castleberry Road to four lanes

Ralph "Pete" Amos was cleared of wrongdoing by an ethics panel last week. County resident Bob Rorke filed the complaint in June which claimed Amos should have recused himself from the February votes because the Amos was negotiating a deal to sell hundreds of acres of land three miles from Castleberry Road. The land has been owned by Amos' wife's family for generations.

Amos announced the deal to sell the land to a housing developer in April, a month and a half after his vote to widen Castleberry.

"My concern is whenever you vote to improve the infrastructure, usually in an area within two or three miles of that same area, it increases the value of the property," said Rorke, who indicated in his complaint that the land deal will bring Amos' family $20 to $30 million.

Amos told CBS46 investigative reporter Jeff Chirico that his family is not profiting from the widening of the road.

"There was no conflict of interest for me," Amos told Chirico.

A CBS46 investigation had found the most recent traffic count completed in 2013 showed half the number of vehicles use the road than is required to justify widening the road.

Amos told Chirico the county is preparing for growth but many taxpayers are calling the $22 million project "government waste." The county spent $10 million in 2009 purchasing rights-of-way.

Commissioner Cindy Mills, a real estate agent, will face an ethics panel this week over allegations she stood to gain financially because an agency with which she's affiliated was attempting to sell a piece of property along Castleberry around the time of the vote. In her rebuttal, Mills denied there was any conflict of interest.  

Although Amos has been cleared, local political blogger Nydia Tisdale said the public will likely continue to speculate that widening Castleberry may be widening commissioners' wallets as well.

"I think the public is wise to pay attention to attend meetings and to question votes," Tisdale said.

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