PILOT MOUNTAIN — Pilot Mountain commissioner and candidate Kimberly Quinn has filed charges against fellow candidate Frank Nichols.
The charges include disrupting a public meeting and disorderly conduct and the matter is still an ongoing investigation that the Pilot Mountain Police Department is handling.
Quinn was first appointed to the Pilot Board of Commissioners in October 2014. This fall she and Nichols are among four candidates vying for two at-large seats on the board.
Following what has been described by both parties as a tense working relationship, on Wednesday Nichols abruptly entered a closed session of the town board at the Pilot Mountain Tourism Development Authority.
According to Quinn, Nichols barged into the room and invaded her personal space while yelling in a hostile manner. Quinn also said that Nichols pulled up his shirt to expose scars and stated that he was a breast cancer survivor.
Quinn said that the cancer comment was in regard to a previous email conversation that she had with Nichols about the upcoming Paint the Town Pink event that is scheduled for Oct. 8.
The closed session was scheduled only to review applications for a new town manager, not to discuss any other town business.
“From my perspective, everyone was shocked,” Quinn said of the other commissioner’s responses.
Quinn said that Mayor Dwight Atkins immediately apologized to her for what had happened.
When Nichols entered the closed session, Quinn started recording Nichol’s statements. The portion of Quinn and Nichol’s exchanges that were recorded are as follows:
Nichols: So if you accuse me of trying to down your event, maybe I didn’t ask correctly, but I make a $5,000 donation every year.
Quinn: Well I have your text where you said that I was using it as a political ploy.
Nichols: You were using it as a political ploy.
Quinn: I am not.
Nichols: And if you want to send an email that way to everybody and their brother, come to me and talk to me first.
Quinn: I’m not taking your bullying anymore, if you continue, I’m going to get a restraining order and I’m going to go to the police right now whether they like it or not, so leave please, I’m not taking the bullying anymore. Get out! This is a closed session meeting. Get the hell out. Get out.
Nichols is the owner of Vape Escape on Main Street and a member of the Tourism Development Authority board.
“Someone just told me that the meeting wasn’t in closed session, that it was over with,” Nichols said on Friday, refusing to identify that individual that he alleged gave him that information.
“It was just a big misunderstanding, a misunderstanding of where the meeting was,” Nichols said of the fact that he entered the meeting.
Nichols declined to provide additional comments about the meeting or his actions.
“If we were both elected, it is what it is; we would need to get to a place where we could work together as a board for the betterment of Pilot Mountain,” Quinn said of the possibility of both of them serving on the board of commissioners.
According to Quinn, issues between Nichols and herself have primarily been over tourism in Pilot Mountain.
“Mr. Nichols and I haven’t had a good relationship since I was appointed to the board,” Quinn said.
In addition, Quinn said that Nichols allegedly called the fire marshal and reported a Ladies Night Out event, which she was organizing, and said that it was going to be over capacity. After visiting several locations that the Ladies Night Out event was scheduled to take place at, Quinn said that the fire marshal said that none of the locations were in violation.
“I’m not playing the victim. I’m a strong, outspoken, assertive person,” Quinn said.
As for the appointment of a new town manager, Atkins said that the board will likely name a choice within the next week.
Aila Boyd may be reached at 336-415-2210.