Board of elections asks former High Point mayoral candidate to settle debts

by Jordan Green

The NC Board of Elections is asking a former High Point mayoral candidate to resolve her debts with a Triad political consultant.

Tammy Holyfield, a business consultant, withdrew her candidacy weeks before the election last year after political consultant Algenon Cash publicly disclosed that she owed him almost $10,000.

Holyfield cited “a serious health issue” in her family as the reason for pulling out of the race at the time.

“Mr. Cash has contacted our office to state that neither he nor his attorney have been able to reach you regarding the resolution of the outstanding invoices,” Amy Strange, a compliance specialist with the board of elections, wrote to Holyfield on March 18. “Please advise this office and the vendor of your plan to resolve the invoices.”

Holyfield said in a statement to YES! Weekly that she has every intention of resolving the debts owed by her campaign.

Strange told YES!

Weekly that Holyfield acknowledged the debt in an amended campaign finance report.

Cash manages the Winston-Salem real estate investment company Wharton Gladden & Co. A pro-business Republican residing in Kernersville, he has played an active role in public affairs by moderating political and business forums and participating in debates. Nishaka Proctor, a Wharton Gladden employee, was appointed to manage Holyfield’s mayoral campaign through the candidate’s contract with Cash.

Strange noted in her letter to Holyfield that failure by a campaign committee to pay debts owed to businesses or corporations results in the committee accepting business contributions, which is prohibited by state law.

While accepting business contributions is not permitted under state law, Strange told YES!

Weekly that there’s no point at which the board of elections would refer the matter to the NC Attorney General’s office for prosecution because the law does not set a deadline for committees to pay debts. Strange acknowledged that the lack of a deadline in the statute provides a loophole for candidates to evade enforcement.

“There’s no point in time in the calendar at which we would say, ‘Because you haven’t paid it by X date, you are now in violation,” she said. “I wouldn’t have a violation I could refer to them.”

Strange requested that Holyfield respond by indicating her plan to resolve the debt by March 22.

The former candidate could not be reached for comment for this story.

Wharton Gladden is seeking to recover $9,240 from Holyfield. Cash is not the only creditor pursuing the former candidate: Discover Bank is suing for $8,473 allegedly owed by Holyfield.

Cash said the effort to recover the funds is not just about him, but that he also needs to pay employees at Wharton Gladden who worked on the campaign.

“My failure was, one, I probably didn’t assess her as I should have,” Cash said. “The second failure was going to work without having money in the bank.”