Last week, a Columbus County house burned down in a suspicious fire. Since then, we’ve been looking into the relationship between the boy who lived there, 17-year-old Allen Strickland and the man who Strickland says paid for the house, Senator R.C. Soles.
The two have known each other since Strickland was 14.
The 74-year-old Senator befriended Strickland, and served as his attorney, but the two have a rocky relationship.
In fact, Soles has a rocky relationship with many of his clients, as proven by dozens of police reports, just in the last year.
There are about 20 reports, nearly all of them involving altercations between the Senator and his clients.
“This has been sort of an ongoing thing with a lot of clients and ex-clients. I’ve been here for five years, and it’s kind of a steady amount of calls of that nature,” said Capt. Dean Foley of the Tabor City Police Department.
While a handful of calls involve the Senator calling in complaints about 17-year-old Allen Strickland. Other young, male clients have been involved in the disputes as well.
The nature of the complaints range from trespassing at the senator’s law firm and residence, to larceny, harassment, and even extortion.
The Senator’s calls for help come in at all hours of the day and night.
They take up a lot of time for the police department, but rarely result in prosecution. “He doesn’t want to press charges the majority of the time,” Foley said.
R.C. Soles’ clients say they’re frustrated with the mixed messages they’re getting from him.
“I really don’t know how to feel about him being my attorney, and calling the cops on me and having me banned from his office,” said Jackie Jordan, one of Soles’ clients.
Strickland added, “He said he’s tired of us being at the office, but he’s our lawyer, so that’s what we don’t understand.”
Columbus County residents may remember another situation a few years ago with a client of Senator Soles named B.J. Wright.
Wright had dozens of charges against him dropped with Senator Soles’ assistance, but the District Attorney ultimately decided to prosecute him anyway, and he was sent to prison.
Wright is scheduled to be released next week.
We called D.A. Rex Gore to see if he’s considered intervening again because of the volume of called related to Senator Soles and his clients. He says not at this point.
While there are a lot of calls to police involving the Senator, R.C. Soles hasn’t been pressing charges, so at this point, the District Attorney for that area says there’s not a lot he can do.
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