'Parking-Gate' Controversy Update
News 13 has learned about a new twist in the so called "Parking-Gate" controversy.
The Buncombe County Commissioner who criticized an Asheville City Councilman for what he did at a downtown parking garage last week is now facing questions about his own actions at a county-owned parking lot months ago.
Commissioner Mike Fryar says he received complaints about the DSS lot on Coxe Avenue that had been cabled-off after hours to keep people out.
He admits removing the cables so people could park there. Fryar is one of the chief critics of Asheville City Councilman Cecil Bothwell's use of his electronic parking pass after last week's Mountain Moral Monday rally, to allow more than 60 cars out of the county garage on College Street.
Bothwell says a ticket-machine had malfunctioned and that he was simply trying to clear gridlock.
"Now I'm learning that Mike Fryar actually broke into a county parking lot to allow his friends to park for free," said Bothwell, "that's not what I did."
Fryar says he had let County Manager Wanda Greene know what he intended to do ahead of time. "I called and the question was asked, and I had the tools and I removed the cables. I didn't cut anything, they could've been put back up just as easily as I took them down."
But Wanda Greene disputes Fryar's story, telling News 13, "I told Mike, don't do it, don't mess with it, because it would be destruction of county property."
Fryar turned the cables over to the General Services Office after taking them down. hey have still not been put back in place.
Cecil Bothwell emailed us a copy of a $520.00 check he has written to cover parking fees for last week, but says he is still waiting for the county to bill him.
By Frank Kracher
Follow Frank on Twitter @FrankKracher