Durham City Councilmember accused of extortion by real estate developer

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Friday, March 24, 2023
Durham City Councilmember accused of extortion, meeting gets heated
Durham City Councilmember accused of extortion, meeting gets heated

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- A Durham City Councilmember is under investigation.

Monique Holsey-Hyman is accused of extortion by a real estate developer.

That developer claims she wanted money for her campaign in exchange for support on a project.

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The news surfaced during a city council work session Thursday afternoon.

"In my years on this council, I've never had to consider a resolution of censure for anyone, and we have had some knock-down, drag-out fights on this council," said Mayor Pro Tem Mark Anthony Middleton. "I was part of the counsel where it got very heated at times. I thought sometimes we may have crossed a line with some of our characterizations of each other."

Back and forth the council talked about their response to what Mayor Elaine O'Neal brought into the public eye Thursday.

The mayor said 10 days ago that a developer came to city council alleging Holsey-Hyman had asked for a donation to her campaign in exchange for support for a project.

Holsey-Hyman said Thursday afternoon that on two occasions she had asked for information from a city staff member about campaign resources and that both of the times were approved by human resources.

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Holsey-Hyman was appointed to the council last year to fill the seat left by Charlie Reece.

"Over the past 10 months, I have been a servant leader, I've been a colleague to my city council, I have actively listened and placed the residents of Durham at the forefront of all of my decisions," Holsey-Hyman said. "It is essential to remember the voice of all residents and communities in the city of Durham. I will continue to be a dedicated servant leader, to serve with transparency and speak for Durham residents."

The vote to censure Holsey-Hyman is pending.

According to her bio, she moved from New York in 2016 to work in academic administration at Shaw University and joined the School of Social Work at North Carolina Central University in 2018.