Dispute lingers over Charlotte City Council candidate’s stake in local construction firm

CHARLOTTE — The investment firm that owns R.J. Leeper Construction seized former Charlotte City Councilman James Mitchell’s ownership stake in the construction firm in March after Mitchell failed to repay a $375,000 loan, according to documents obtained by CBJ as part of a public records request.

Mitchell told CBJ twice, in separate interviews, in April he would be willing to reduce his interest in Leeper Construction below 10% if he is successful in his current campaign to regain a council seat.

This morning, Mitchell reiterated those earlier statements in an interview with CBJ. He went on to say he disagrees with the stance of Leeper Construction and said his lawyer has told him he still maintains a 25% share of the company.

Mitchell said he has not responded to the investment firm because nothing has changed.

He has been adamant about his ownership stake in Leeper Construction, even as a company executive and a principal investor told CBJ in previous reporting that Mitchell no longer holds any interest in the firm. The distinction is important because of conflict-of-interest laws that could affect city government’s ability to work with the construction company.

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