Closings and delays

High Point mayor indicted on felony charge for writing worthless check

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HIGH POINT, N.C. -- High Point Mayor Bernita Sims was indicted on Monday afternoon by a Guilford County grand jury for allegedly writing a worthless $7,000 check as part of an estate settlement, according to Assistant Guilford County Clerk of Court Adrienne Adams.

Sims indictment

Sims was indicted on one felony count of passing a worthless check. The charge is a Class H felony due to involving more than $2,000.

The indictment has a time stamp of Nov. 13 at 2:47 p.m.

As of 4 p.m. Monday, Sims had not been served the indictment. Adams said Sims likely won't be served before Tuesday.

The bill of indictment states Sims "unlawfully, willfully, and feloniously did draw, make, utter or issue and deliver to [Annie Ponce]" a check from a First Bank account in High Point that Sims "knew at the time ... did not have sufficient funds on deposit with the bank with which to pay the check."

According to Noelle Talley, N.C. Department of Justice public information officer, the SBI investigated the case and attorneys with the Attorney General’s Special Prosecution Division are prosecuting it.

In October, the City Council voted 6-3 asking Sims to resign, citing an investigation into the matter and the mayor's unpaid state income taxes and a city utility bill delinquency. During that hearing, Sims reiterated she will not resign from office.

“Judge me on my work, judge me on what I do. Don’t judge me on a utility bill that has paid. Don’t judge me on an allegation around a check… that has been paid. Judge me on whether or not we’re doing the work, and I would say we are,” said Mayor Sims.

Despite the meeting, city council members have no legal right to force Sims to leave office and there is no recall system in High Point. However, council members wanted their opinions heard and their thoughts on the record.

Documents also showed she had neglected to pay city utility bills and owed thousands of dollars in taxes. The city was asked to garnish her wages in order to pay back those debts to the state.

In October, Sims said “the issue surrounding the $7,000 check? It has been paid. The issue around the utilities? Have been paid. The issue around the taxes have subsequently been paid. So I look at all that? Is it news? Maybe so,” she paused. “There are politicians out there with much larger issues than I have.”

FOX8 approached Mayor Sims both before and after the Council meeting Monday night to ask for a comment regarding the indictment. She refused to comment to the media both times.

27 comments

    • Paula Whitaker

      I believe this is not “only in NC”…please read about alot of mayors, past and present, around the country and Canada. Mayor Rob Ford of Toronto, Canada admits to being addicted to crack and using in his office. Bernita Sims has issues that need to be addressed but not as bad as some stories and most certainly not only in NC..

  • shameka

    This is petty they are taking about her writing a check she paid off but are they doing anything about the council men and commissioners that have ripped us off in the past no one spreads this news how when the market comes high point isnt so popular then how do they know we dont like to see high point look special any other time the people that have lived here all our life would like to see better standards than to see our money going down the drain and paying bills and we never see anything nice just broken down houses and holes in the road.

    • Stephen Melton

      Punctuation…it helps.
      However, a magistrate had to sign off on the warrant. They cant just go write a warrant because they don’t like her…meaning obviously, she lied about payment of the check….big surprise right?
      High Point isnt THAT bad, however, it is like any other town. The surroundings are the makings of its citizens. Its not the towns job to insure your home is painted, or your home looks like Skeet Club..
      Roads wear…the State has a hand in the repair of those…not just your town…of course, Im sure if they closed off most of the streets to repair them, then you would complain about that too right?

    • Chucky1992

      If she had paid it off, the SBI would have halted their investigation and she would never have been charged.

  • J W Liles

    Take a breath Shameka..
    No judge would have signed off on a warrant of this importance unless there was proof.

  • American Citizen

    This is another perfect example of polititians thinking they are above the laws they impose on the rest of us. Political curruption starts at the grass-roots level. Mayors, city councilmen, county commissioners are all part of the machine that has ground this country up into an all-but-useless mess. The comment above that defends the mayor comes from someone that given the chance, will take advantage of our system the way the mayor did. Shame on both of you! The mayor should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, just like I would be had I commite this crime. I’m sure the mayor’s supporters will stand up for her and gladly take her punishment for her, right?

  • FaithC

    “There are politicians out there with much larger issues than I have.”
    Really, well as long as there are others doing worse we will allow you to break the law. The warrant will not be served until Tues…I will assume that the check has not been covered. She lied…Oh what a surprise.

  • jliles1205

    Prediction: she will plead out, mortgage her home to pay back the $7,000 (+court costs and fines) and be sentenced to probation. Class H felony only calls for four to 25 months in prison.

  • fh

    Really!! Mayor own sister does not trust her and presses charges. Mayor stealing from city by not paying bills. It own citizens complaining about how she is doing job but council is not getting streets repaired and old buildings. Last time I check Mayor is kind of the leader. And what is funny they still back her. What a joke of a city. How many criminals will be or are elected into High Point Government I would like to know, make good lunch room jokes. Glad I dont live in High Point!!

  • shameka

    To make a long story short i didnt say she didnt need to be punished but if u are going to commit her get every one else that breaks the law as well i pay my taxes,and i do not break rules and work everyday im not going off the deep end i was just making examples i dont have to correct or puncteverything as long as u can READ what i’m saying. ;-)

    • American Citizen

      You’re right, everyone else SHOULD be punished. She, and every other elected official should be held to a higher standard. They are given our trust and our money and they should respect that, but they don’t. It’s taken for granted and that is just plain wrong. You excused the mayor’s actions for the same reason you excused your unwillingness to use complete sentences and punctuation.. it’s easier to turn a blind eye and let someone else “figure it out” than to do the right thing. Your attitude is what’s wrong with this country…. just sayin…

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