Exclusive: Personal finance records for Charlotte mayoral candidates are disclosed

by: Paul Boyd Updated:

The mayor of Charlotte is paid a modest salary of $25,000 per year.

That has Channel 9 wondering about what else each of the candidates for mayor will do to earn money if elected to office.

[LINK: Meck Co. early voting sites]

Channel 9 dug through financial records and sat down with Vi Lyles and Kenny Smith for answers.

Both Lyles and Smith acknowledged voters have a right to know about their financial health going into election day.

So how much are the candidates for mayor worth?

"You can look at the value of our house and that's pretty much, probably where our net worth would lie," Smith said.

"If you want to calculate my net worth, I have a house and I have a job and a car that's a couple of years old," Lyles said.

Lyles and Smith live only a mile apart in south Charlotte.

Property records show Smith and his wife paid $540,000 for their home in 2007.

Zillow now values it at $620,000.

The Smiths have a $295,000 loan with Atlantic Bay Mortgage Group and a $225,000 line of credit with Bank of America.

Smith told Channel 9 that money is used in part for home improvements.

"We would rather have the ability to pay something down in chunks on a quicker basis. We're a conservative family on the financial front," Smith said.

Lyles moved into her current home in 2016.

"I actually think the place that I live is pretty much moderately priced for that area," Lyles said.

Lyles sold an $873,000 family home in Charlotte last year and purchased a $451,000 townhouse.

Zillow now values it at $519,000. She took out a $255,000 loan with SunTrust Mortgage Inc.

Lyles said she doesn't own any rental properties in Charlotte, but her children do.

Smith said he's part owner of two small business properties in the city.

The mayor's $25,000 annual salary begs the question of how the candidates will generate additional income, if elected.

"I can live on my pension," Lyles said.

Lyles worked for the city of Charlotte for 28 years, from December 1975 until September 2004, and was earning $149,058 as an assistant city manager when she left.

State records obtained by WSOC-TV show she currently receives $101,000 per year from her city pension.

A spokesperson for Lyles qualified that number by saying she contributed 6 percent of her entire career to her pension from her biweekly salary.

Lyles told Channel 9 she also receives her late husband's Social Security survivor benefits.

Lyles said her business, Vi Lyles Consulting, has had only one client since she was elected to the City Council in 2013.

"I haven't been actively engaging in my business since then," Lyles said.

Smith, a commercial real estate broker in Charlotte, declined to share his current income. He said he's fortunate to be part of a dual-income family.

His wife works in digital marketing at Bank of America.

Smith also believes there's a long history of mayors who balance their work life while also leading the city.

"You've had plenty of mayors that have had full-time jobs and they've been able to balance the rigors of public service and maintaining their responsibilities on the private sector side," Smith said.

Both candidates said their personal financial records prove they are ready to help manage the city’s finances as mayor.

"I've managed my budget just like I would manage the city's budget," Lyles said.

"I have to pay my bills on time. I want the government to pay the same thing," Smith said.

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