“My parents were blue-collar workers who founded a church in my hometown, and I absorbed from them the values of fairness and an obligation to help others. Those values have stuck with me throughout my life, and it means a lot that my work with the Attorney General’s office has allowed me to have such a concrete impact on the lives of everyday people throughout North Carolina.
One of my first cases out of law school was representing an African American family that was being sued by a moving company. I was then working as a civil rights attorney for the UNC Center for Civil Rights in Chapel Hill, NC. The company claimed that the family owed them $11,000 for one move in a very small town, which was obviously drastically inflated. It turns out that the family had received a grant from HUD, and it’s possible that the moving company found out and was trying to get as much of the grant money it could. We won in summary judgment because I happened to research the licensure of the company, and it turns out they weren’t even licensed. It seems like a simple case, or a simple solution — but seeing the impact I had on that one family’s life was one of the things that inspired me to keep working in the consumer protection field.
I currently handle motor vehicle and auto finance complaints in the NC Attorney General’s office, and when people reach out to our office, it’s pretty clear that we’re their last resort. Back in 2015, we joined the U.S. Department of Justice in bringing suit against a dealership with an owner who had made derogatory remarks about African Americans, and was targeting African American car buyers for predatory loans. We were able to obtain a settlement of a quarter of a million dollars and reform the practices of the dealership, which not only had a tremendous impact on the individual consumers who had been wronged, but benefitted all consumers when the industry realized that they can’t get away with those discriminatory practices.
It’s important to remember that maintaining a fair market is not contrary to the spirit of capitalism or freedom. As in the sports arena, competition is best when the rules are fair. We have to remember the lessons of the financial crisis of 2007-08, and make sure that we maintain a fair set of rules that levels the playing field for companies and the consumers they serve.”