Controversy surfaces in Charlotte mayoral race

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — There is some controversy surfacing on both sides of the campaign trail with less than a week before the mayoral election in Charlotte.

[Exclusive: Personal finance records for Charlotte mayoral candidates are disclosed]

The first controversy revolves around Republican Kenny Smith’s campaign ad on Facebook.

His opponent, Vi Lyles, said it’s misleading and not true.

"Vi Lyles voted against spending $18.5 million on low-income housing, choosing to save money for the construction of a professional soccer stadium, instead," Smith said in the Facebook campaign ad.

The controversial ad says Smith voted to support that low-income housing proposal and not the soccer stadium.

That is true.

The July proposal would have taken money from the soccer stadium and redirected it to a tourism project next to Bojangles’ Coliseum, and other community infrastructure projects.

Lyles voted against the plan, but she said the ad running on Facebook misleads voters to think she doesn't support affordable housing overall.

“She says you've mischaracterized her here?” Eyewitness News investigative reporter Paul Boyd asked Smith.

“It's not a mischaracterization,” Smith replied. “That ad, I think is very fair and accurate.”

Lyles released a statement Wednesday afternoon on the issue:

“When I committed to run for Mayor, I promised to run a campaign around my values and the issues. My belief in the people of this city makes me optimistic that we can get things done, even when there are tough decisions to be made. 

However, my opponent has gone negative with various misleading ads. I have always and will always support affordable housing. The proposed vote was to expand Bojangles and Ovens Auditorium and was not a vote on affordable housing. The same way I have committed to supporting affordable housing, I also committed to the eastside that we would work to bring back jobs and development in their area, just as I would other parts of Charlotte." 

Smith denies it's an attack ad.

“We have some stark contrasts in how we voted and I think that's an issue-based ad,” Smith said.

Meanwhile, Channel 9 uncovered that in Lyles' campaign filings, it lists RJ Leeper construction as her daughter-in-law's employer 15 different times.

That's the same company her son works for that has construction contracts with the city.

“Has she ever worked for RJ Leeper?” Boyd asked Lyles.

“No, she has never worked for RJ Leeper,” Lyles replied.

Boyd showed Lyles the campaign report on Friday.

“Ashley Alexander,” Lyles said. “Maybe they filled it out wrong because it has her name but she does not work for RJ Leeper. She works at Central Piedmont Community College. They may have filled out the form incorrectly, but no she does not work for RJ Leeper.”

CPCC confirmed Lyles’ daughter-in-law is the director of grants administration.

However, the Lyles campaign has not amended its filings as of Wednesday afternoon.

Boyd uncovered names of some high-profile individuals in Charlotte who have donated to both campaigns recently.