COLUMBUS COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Headlines were made Thursday by one local news outlet questioning whether newly elected Columbus County Sheriff Jody Greene actually calls the county home.
We went to get answers after public records could not prove the reports wrong. State law requires a sheriff to have lived in the county at least one year before running for the office.
Thursday night, we heard from one person outspoken against it: the sheriff’s wife.
“You guys do live where the county, the tax records say you live?” WWAY’s Andrew James asked Angie Greene.
“Yes we absolutely do,” Greene said.
There is evidence indicating that Sheriff Jody Greene lives in the county he has sworn to police and protect for years.
“This is home. This is where we have been. This is where we are going to be,” Angie Greene said.
Our conversation was forced after media reports alleged the new sheriff does not live along this road in Cerro Gordo.
“People are upset, and they’re making all kinds of accusations of us, and it’s been quite devastating to be honest with you,” Mrs. Greene said.
Tax records show Jody Greene has owned the land dating back to 2013, but no house is clearly visible from the road. Mrs. Greene tells WWAY that they live in an RV camper on the land. She showed WWAY’s Andrew James her mail that included the sheriff’s medical bills from the state. She also showed him their Duke Energy power bill for the land.
“Go back and check for yourself,” she said. “Go ask the neighbors.”
We did that. We spoke with neighbor all afternoon into the evening. All of them, including those we met that were members of Greene’s family, said that the sheriff lived along the road where campaign records say he lives.
Still we were not satisfied. There are at least three records on the Columbus County property records database that belong to Jody Greene. Aerial imagery of two them visibly showed little on the property owned by him. One last record did, however, display aerials of what appears to be a camper, two barns and a light pole on land owned by Greene. That corroborates what Mrs. Greene told us.
Why would this be the lifestyle they choose to live? Mrs. Greene had an answer.
“Years ago, Jody had a family member, his mother in fact,” Angie Greene said. “There was a drive-by shooting done. So we have reasons. We’re not pulling this stuff out of thin air. We have reasons to be concerned for our safety.”
She had a clear message to the statements questioning proof of residency.
“We don’t appreciate the stories being distorted. We don’t like fake news.”
Later in the evening the Sheriff returned our requests for comment releasing this statement:
“It is correct to say we own multiple properties; some have deeds and some have titles of properties in NC and SC. We do own a camper for my wife’s dogs. Again, I direct you back to the general statute on residency. Please take the time to read it. I meet the residency requirements for the position I have been elected to by the citizens of Columbus County.”
Because it is an RV, Greene says they need only to have proof of title to confirm there is a dwelling there and that proves that they are living in the county.
Records show Sheriff Greene has a beach home in Horry County. What time he chooses to spend in between, is his. To the best of our knowledge no law prohibits that.