“Medicaid Meredith” Day #4 - A SENATOR STONEWALLS
State Senator Wesley Meredith of Fayetteville continues to thumb nose at voters, media and his own Cumberland Co. Republican Party which has called on Sen. Meredith to directly answer accusations of welfare fraud. "You can't shuffle it under the rug," now says respected GOP consultant.
FAYETTEVILLE -- Despite calls from his own Cumberland County Republican Party for State Senator Wesley Meredith to come clean on accusations of welfare fraud, Senator Meredith devolved from dodging questions on Tuesday and Wednesday to completely stonewalling reporters on Thursday.
Now a respected GOP political consultant says Meredith must come clean and explain documents which suggest his family collected Medicaid and food stamp benefits when they made almost $100,000 per year in 1996.
"You can't shuffle it under the rug," said Carter Wrenn in Friday's Fayetteville Observer. "You've got the documents that show his son was on Medicaid. And you've got documents showing he was earning more money than would allow his son to qualify for Medicaid. That's a legitimate thing for his opponent to bring up."
On Tuesday, reporters received copies of tax returns, food stamp vouchers, Medicaid cards, and a divorce settlement which show that Meredith and his ex-wife had received government assistance when their taxable income in 1996 reached almost $100,000 and far exceeded the maximum allowed to remain eligible for Medicaid and food stamps. Meredith did not deny accusations that he and / or his ex-wife had received government assistance. Instead, Meredith tried to attack his accusers without addressing the issue directly.
On Wednesday, Linda Devore, Chair of the Cumberland Co. Republican Party issued a statement which read in part, "we are disappointed to hear of allegations that Senator Wesley Meredith may have financially abandoned his wife and child." Devore also said, "The public deserves to learn the truth from men asking for our trust." Again, Meredith refused to answer any specifics about the allegations of welfare fraud.
On Thursday, Meredith's ex-wife, Elizabeth Meredith came forward to describe the family's financial relationship in 1996, the time of the alleged welfare fraud. "I had no outside source of income," Elizabeth said. "I was totally dependent on Wesley's income. He did not keep me informed about the financial decisions he made for our family." Also published in Thursday's Fayetteville Observer, Elizabeth Meredith said that Senator Meredith had come with her in person to the Cumberland County Dept. of Social Services in 1996 to apply for Medicaid and food stamps.
On Friday, Gerrick Brenner, Exec. Director of Progress North Carolina Action released the following statement:
"As Senator Meredith continues to stonewall these serious accusations of welfare fraud, he is quickly squandering any trust voters have left in him. Clearly, Senator Meredith thinks he can play cat and mouse with the media just long enough to get past the November election. It's now clear that is not going to happen. Senator Meredith needs to come clean with voters by clearly answering some very relevant questions about his income and government assistance his family appears to have received."