Durham City Council member will not face state charges in alleged extortion probe

Durham City Council member Monique Holsey-Hyman will not face state charges after investigators found “no probable cause” in connection with allegations of extortion and campaign finance violations, the district attorney announced Tuesday.

“In fact, the (State Bureau of Investigation) was unable to discover any credible allegations against her at all,” DA Satana Deberry wrote in a letter to city officials on Tuesday.

Holsey-Hyman, a social work professor at N.C. Central University appointed in 2022, is currently running for election.

In-person early voting starts Thursday. There are three at-large City Council seats up for grabs, with a field of 12 being narrowed to six in the Oct. 10 primary.

At-Large Durham City Council Member Monique Holsey-Hyman
At-Large Durham City Council Member Monique Holsey-Hyman Travis Long

The investigation began in March after developer Jarrod Edens told the planning director that Holsey-Hyman had solicited a campaign contribution to vote for a project of his.

Edens did not cooperate with the investigation, while Holsey-Hyman and city staff did, Deberry wrote.

“(Special Agent N.) Deming interviewed Holsey-Hyman at length. She not only willingly answered his questions, but she also voluntarily provided documentation of her conversations with the developer, Jarrod Edens,” the letter stated. “Deming reviewed text messages between Holsey-Hyman and Edens and found nothing improper.”

The SBI was also looking into work a city employee did on Holsey-Hyman’s campaign while on the clock. The agency determined that Holsey-Hyman did not solicit that and the employee was appropriately reprimanded.

Jarrod Edens speaks at a Durham City Council meeting on May 15, 2023.
Jarrod Edens speaks at a Durham City Council meeting on May 15, 2023. City of Durham livestream

The FBI was also investigating allegations against Holsey-Hyman, though it’s unclear if that investigation remains open.

“Per Department of Justice policy, we cannot comment on anything related to investigations. I apologize that this is not very helpful,” a spokesperson told The News & Observer in an email Monday.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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Mary Helen Moore covers Durham for The News & Observer. She grew up in Eastern North Carolina and attended UNC-Chapel Hill before spending several years working in newspapers in Florida. Outside of work, you might find her biking, reading or fawning over plants.

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