Failing to repay an elderly woman for work he never did appears to be just one of the many instances in which Fayetteville mayoral candidate Franco Webb has found himself on the wrong side of the law.
On Tuesday, a small-claims court magistrate ordered Webb to pay Claire Carver-Lacy more than $2,200, the amount, plus interest, that Webb charged her upfront to install a security system in her home but never did.
The magistrate issued his order after Webb failed to show up in court. Webb said Wednesday that he had marked the wrong date on his calendar and that he will repay Carver-Lacy rather than file an appeal.
Cumberland County District Court records show that Webb has been accused – and in some cases convicted – of crimes dating back to at least 1985.
Among Webb’s convictions, the records show, he pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and injury to personal property in 1985 and to “fail to work after paid” in 2015.
The records also show that the District Attorney’s Office dismissed charges of assault on a female in 1992; failure to pay child support in 1991; communicating threats in 2018; failure to work after being paid in 2014; driving while license revoked in 2017; and simple worthless check for $465 in 2015. His last criminal court record is dated 2018.
Civil court records show that Webb has been sued by numerous businesses and individuals over the years. Those documents show that Webb has repeatedly been sued in small-claims court for owing people money. The documents show Webb still owes a man more than $8,700 following a Superior Court case in 2013, and he still owes ReMax Choice Rentals $7,600 for a small-claims case in 2012.
Webb did not return four messages seeking comment that were left on three of his phones.
On Wednesday, a reporter for CityView TODAY asked Webb if he had any more small-claims court actions against him other than the one by Carver-Lacy. Webb said he did not.
Despite the criminal and civil filings against him, Webb became a board member of the Fayetteville-Cumberland Human Relations Commission. He was first appointed to a partial term in July 2019, then reappointed to full terms in 2019 and 2021. His current term ends on Sept. 30, 2023. He has served as the commission’s vice chairman, according to the website for his mayoral campaign.
The Fayetteville City Council appointed and reappointed Webb. In the first appointment, minutes of a 2019 council meeting show, the council unanimously accepted the recommendations of its Appointment Committee and named Webb and 24 other people to eight boards and commissions.
Mayor Mitch Colvin said the council doesn’t do background checks on candidates for voluntary board positions.
“However,” he said, “it may be something for council to reconsider in the future.”
On his campaign website, Webb also says he has served as chairman of the city’s Military Affairs Council, president of a community watch group, commander of the Veterans Day parade and road commander for Wreaths Across America.
In a Fayetteville Observer article from last year, Webb told a reporter that he got authorization to take a fire truck to New York City, where he said he and other firefighters from what was then known as the county’s Fire Station No. 7 assisted with search-and-rescue efforts following the 9/11 terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center.
The Observer’s article paraphrased Webb: “As the fire truck rolled through the crowds and coasted through the ash, he said, it was like Moses parting the Red Sea. His Station 7 patch now sits in a memorial in a church he and his team slept at in New York. They stayed in the city for three weeks.”
But it appears that never happened.
Longtime fire chief Freddy Johnson Sr., now head of the Cumberland County Fire Chiefs Association, said he is not aware of any fire trucks from Fayetteville or Cumberland County going to aid in the World Trade Center disaster. Johnson said he checked with other fire officials who reached the same conclusion.
It also appears that Webb does not have a North Carolina license to sell, service or install security systems. A search for a license for Webb or his company, Core Computer Technologies, finds no results on the website of the N.C. Department of Public Safety’s Alarm System Licensing Board’s website. People who work with security systems are required to have the license.
Greg Barnes is an investigative reporter for CityView TODAY. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Have a news tip? Email news@CityViewTODAY.com.