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April 15, 2024

DA: No charges against Miller, Weaver

NO CHARGES — Former Town of Taylorsville employees Darrin Weaver (left) and Warren Miller (right) are shown in this file photo from December 2009. The two, who own Millers Septic Service, performed septic contract work for the Town through their company during emergency situations, when needed, before and during their time of regular employment with the Town. This violated the Town policy because the Town cannot do business with a company in which Town employees have a financial interest. However, this was done with the knowledge of Town officials.

By MICAH HENRY

The District Attorney for Alexander and Iredell counties has recommended that the State Bureau of Investigations (SBI) file no charges regarding two former Town of Taylorsville employees, Warren William Miller and Claude Darrin Weaver, in the wake of the 2023 State Auditor’s report, according to attorney Joel Harbinson, who is representing Miller and Weaver.

Furthermore, District Attorney Sarah Kirkman has recommended the SBI investigtion be closed, said Harbinson, citing an email he received from Kirkman on March 12, 2024.

The Nov. 2 State Auditor report found that the Town of Taylorsville paid Millers Septic Service, a business owned by Town employees Miller and Weaver, for service from March 2006 to January 2023, totaling $746,839 for septic and sewer services during that time. This is in violation of the Town’s Procurement Policy, which states the Town cannot do business with a company in which Town employees have a financial interest. This finding was referred to the District Attorney to determine if there was sufficient evidence to pursue criminal charges.

As its response to the audit last November, the Town Council, Town Manager, and Town Staff agreed to “ensure that all policies in place for the fiscal management of the Town are followed, including but not limited to the Procurement Policy, Conflict of Interest Policy, Personnel Policy and Ethics Policy.”

Also, the Town purchased “a new vacuum truck and hired an employee to operate [it] as needed; therefore, there should not be a need to contract any services from Millers Septic Service or any other provider of this type in the future unless emergency situations should dictate where more than one truck is needed,” the Town statement said.

Harbinson related that Millers’ services were only sought by the Town during emergency situations and were done with full knowledge of the Council, stating, “my clients…did what they were hired to do as part-time Town employees AND as independent contractors with Miller’s — providing a critical service at an affordable rate only when specifically requested by the Town.”

Harbinson and his clients are glad to hear of the District Attorney’s recommendation.

“My clients and I are pleased, but not surprised, that Mrs. Kirkman, our elected District Attorney, made the right decision in finding that not even probable cause existed for criminal charges in this matter, much less the likelihood of a conviction. The Town itself planned, executed, ratified, and carried out this arrangement involving my clients. If there were any criminal offense involved, the past and recent members of the Town Council would have been complicit as well,” Harbinson stated.

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