SENATOR STONEWALL Day #7: 4,000 Sign Petition Calling on Fayetteville's Wesley Meredith to Answer Questions on Welfare Fraud
Despite calls to come clean by his own local GOP party, respected GOP consultants, and his own local newspaper, State Senator Wesley Meredith of Fayetteville continues to duck questions about his income, real estate holdings, and a record of public assistance for Medicaid and food stamps for his own family
FAYETTEVILLE -- One week after documents surfaced which raise questions about Senator Wesley Meredith's income, real estate holdings, and record of receiving public assistance, Sen. Meredith has still refused to directly answer questions on accusations of welfare fraud. Meantime, over 4,000 people have signed an online petition calling on Meredith to come clean and directly answer questions about his income and a record of receiving public assistance for Medicaid and food stamps.
"Senator Meredith clearly thinks he can hide from questions of welfare fraud long enough to get passed an election 29-days from now," said Gerrick Brenner, Exec. Director for ProgressNC Action. "If this petition is any gauge of public interest, Senator Meredith is gravely mistaken. Welfare fraud is a serious accusation which a politician cannot simply dodge. The public wants elected officials who are accountable and who take personal responsibility for their actions."
To recap events of the last week:
Last 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 $19,800 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 assert that Senator Meredith was directly involved in her application for Medicaid and food stamps while they were married in 1996. "Wesley and I went to DSS and applied for Medicaid," Elizabeth Meredith told The Fayetteville Observer. Elizabeth Meredith also 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."
On Friday, respected GOP political consultant Carter Wrenn was quoted in The Fayetteville Observer: "You can't shuffle it under the rug... You've got the documents that show his sone was on Medicaid. And you've got documents showing he was earning more than would allow his son to qualify for Medicaid. That's a legitimate thing for his opponent to bring up."
On Saturday, The Fayetteville Observer said in an editorial: "Wesley Meredith needs to answer some questions." The FayObserver also said the accusations are "relevant, given Meredith's vote against Medicaid expansion."
On Sunday, ProgressNC Action collected 4,000 signatures on a petition calling on Senator Meredith to stop his stonewalling, come clean, and answer serious questions about credible evidence that his family collected Medicaid and food stamp benefits while he made close to a six-figure income in 1996.