Local I-Team: Watchdog group calls resources spent on Wharton neighbor dispute “waste of taxpayer money”

Local I-Team

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – A waste of taxpayer money. That’s what a government watchdog group says about the amount of city and county resources spent on a neighborhood dispute involving the former mayor of Memphis and Shelby County.

A C Wharton’s neighbor says he used his connections to harass her. Wednesday, the woman was in Environmental Court after being cited by code enforcement for what she calls minor issues.

Kareema McCloud had to appear in court because she had a couple of broken pickets on her fence and some overgrown shrubs. Those issues are now taken care of, but this feud is far from over.

“This is beyond petty. This is nit-picking. This is stuff we shouldn’t spend our taxpayer money on, period. This is silly,” said McCloud.

It wasn’t just code enforcement. Her “Ring” camera system shows a parade of city and county officials from at least six different agencies visiting McCloud’s house in a three-week period. From code enforcement to the health department to the fire department, and even police, who told her they staked out her house for three days after getting reports it was a brothel.

The barrage of officials came after a visit from former Mayor A C Wharton, questioning the guests staying in her home. McCloud rents out rooms on AirBnB.

“The people telling me they paying or something? What’s going on,” said AC Wharton on the Ring camera video.

A Memphis city spokesperson says Wharton was not given special treatment. Anyone can call in complaints about anything.

Mark Cunningham with the Beacon Center, a government watchdog group, questions that.

“Sure anybody can call in, but I’ll tell you what, from my experience I don’t think anybody can get police officers to do a three-day stake out outside somebody’s home with literally no evidence of any wrong doing at all and say they are running a brothel,” said Mark Cunningham, Beacon Center of Tennessee.

Cunningham says AirBnB operators are subject to the same laws as homeowners.

“The ability for someone to rent out their house on a short-term basis is completely legal,” said Cunningham.

As for the parade of officials spending time and energy at McCloud’s house?

“I think the first major issue with this is it’s a complete waste of our resources. Memphis taxpayer resources,” said Cunningham.

As for McCloud, she would like this feud to end.

“My goal here is to be fair is to work out our issues. Work out our differences and come together,” said McCloud.

Wharton denies harassing her. He previously he turned down Local 24 News’ request for an interview, but at any point if Wharton wants to sit down and tells his side of the story, we would gladly meet him for an interview.

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