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Archive for September, 2013

ONLY ON 3: Customers surprised to find tax records sold after preparer’s death

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Before she died in July, Margaret Darden had spent most of her life preparing other people’s taxes.

But after her death her family sold her business, and with it her clients’ personal information. Now those customers are searching for answers.

Phyllis and Terry Perkins are just two of the loyal customers that always took their business to Margaret’s Taxes.

“Ms. Margaret has been doing my taxes approximately 15 years. She was excellent,” Phyllis said. “She had been in the tax service for at least 30 years before she moved down here. She is a very well known lady in the area.”

Darden died in july. Shortly after, her daughter sold her business to Zip Zap Income Tax.

“When we came over to her house to question the family, nobody was here, so we talked to the neighbor,” Phyllis said.

That neighbor did not want to go on camera, but she says she watched Darden’s family throw away files. The perkinses had no idea what happened to their information until they got a letter from Zip Zap.

“To receive this letter saying that they had sold her business to someone else with all of my personal information in there, yes, I was highly upset,” Terry said.

Kim Wilson is the manager of Zip Zap Income Tax. She did not want to go on camera, but she says they sent out letters to let Darden’s customers know about her death and to let them know they had purchased her business.

As for the Perkinses, Phyllis’s tax records were found, but her husband’s were not. Now he is worried that his personal information may be compromised, which happened to other family members.

“Someone stole their identity, and it took years for them to clean it up,” Terry said.

It’s a concern that keeps the couple up at night.

Regulators say federal law requires a client’s permission before any records are transferred.

Zip Zap Income Tax says if you were one of Margaret Darden’s customers and would like your tax records, you can stop by the office at 841 S. 17th Street and pick them up.

We tried to reach Darden’s family, but could not track them down.

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French Road standoff ends after man surrenders to WPD

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A Wilmington man threatened to kill himself Tuesday morning which led to a nearly two-hour standoff with police.

“One of the officer’s grabbed me and said you need to go back inside, make sure all your doors are locked, windows are locked,” said Donna Hines.

Shortly after, Wilmington Police evacuated Hines from her French Road home as a precaution to a potentially deadly situation.

“They said the guy next door had a gun. They evacuated us and took us around the back,” she said.

According to the 9-1-1 call, a 26-year-old man threatened to kill himself and had a pistol.

As Hines watched the scene unfold from the street with neighbors, Wilmington Police, the department’s SWAT Unit, and EMS filed in to intervene.

“You never think it will be in your backyard,” said Eric Mullis.

Police are not releasing the man’s name but they did say he told his wife, two children, and another relative to leave the home.

Neighbors said the man’s wife and kids just moved in and that he did not live with them.

“This situation where she had moved in with her kids and maybe her husband had an anger problem with that,” said Hines.

Police negotiators eventually convinced the man to leave his weapon and surrender.

“It does make you question things that go on. You think you may know the people but sometimes you don’t really know,” said Mullis.

Police say they took the man to Cape Fear Memorial Hospital, just a couple blocks away, for evaluation after the surrender.

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While groups bear Thalian’ name, their goals are different

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

Why are there two organizations in Wilmington both after the same arts funding?

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Church damaged by 2011 tornado nears complete renovations

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

It was on the ground for just a few minutes, but when a tornado touched down on April 16, 2011, in Bladen County, it left a disastrous aftermath. With winds estimated to be in excess of 140 miles per hour, the storm came through trees along North Carolina Hwy. 41, west of Elizabethtown, and ripped through the campus of First Baptist Church.

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Tar Heel reacts as Smithfield shareholders approve sale to Chinese

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

TAR HEEL, NC (WWAY) — Shareholders have approved the sale of Smithfield Foods to a Chinese company. The buyout comes amid food safety problems in China, and its impacts could be felt in our area.

As the sale of Smithfield Foods to Shuanghui International Holdings, the largest meat producer in China, moves forward, Smithfield workers at the world’s largest pork processing plant in Bladen County are weighing in.

Smithfield Foods employee Adrian Peterson says he is looking forward to the merger.

“I think it’s a good thing, because it’s guaranteed no closures in the state of North Carolina,” he said.

He says this buyout is just what the doctor ordered.

“That’s what we need: some kind of security for us jobwise,” Peterson said.

While some employees say they don’t mind the merger, one man says he does not like the idea of a Chinese-based company taking over.

“It just bothers me that a company like that that’s already in the United States, you know, built by the United States people, that it would end up going to another country, owned by another country,” said William Thompson, whose brother has worked at the Smithfield plant in Tar Heel for nearly five years.

Thompson says he’s concerned that this merger could cost some in Bladen County their jobs, but employee Christopher Fields says he feels neutral toward the buyout, because he’s been told there will be no changes.

“They say it ain’t going to be no changes, so hopefully there won’t be no feelings, as long as nothing don’t change,” he said.

Peterson agrees. He says he is not worried about losing his job.

“I’m secure,” he said. “Yeah, I’m secure.”

The deal is expected to close by the end of the year. Once complete, it will be the largest takeover of a US company by a Chinese firm, valued at about $7.1 billion, including debt.

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