SBI to investigate Durham City Council member over alleged extortion, agency confirms

The State Bureau of Investigation will investigate an alleged extortion attempt by a sitting Durham City Council member, the agency said Monday.

Monique Holsey-Hyman is accused of requesting a campaign contribution from an unnamed developer in exchange for supporting their project, the mayor revealed during a City Council meeting Thursday.

Holsey-Hyman declined to speak with a reporter after the meeting and has not responded to requests for comment. She did not address the allegation during the meeting.

An SBI spokesperson confirmed late Monday that the agency had been asked to investigate the matter.

Durham County District Attorney Satana Deberry also issued a statement Monday afternoon.

“I have asked the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation to open an inquiry into allegations made at last week’s meeting of the Durham City Council. As with any criminal investigation, the existence of an allegation or inquiry is not on its own confirmation of a violation of the law,” the statement said.

Holsey-Hyman, a social work professor, was appointed to her seat in May after her predecessor moved away. She announced earlier this month she intends to seek election in the fall.

Censure vote next week

Holsey-Hyman faces a censure vote next week over separate allegations that also surfaced Thursday.

Those accusations center on whether she improperly mixed campaign work and government business. Holsey-Hyman characterized them as misunderstandings due to her being new to the job.

“For the past 10 months, I have been a servant leader. I have been a colleague to my staff, to my City Council. I have actively listened and advocated and placed the residents of Durham at the forefront of all my decisions,” she said, adding that she plans to continue her service.

City officials said they would not comment on the matter and have not yet responded to public records request seeking further information.

The matters have severely divided the council, with shouting breaking out between two other members after Thursday’s meeting.

The City Council’s next meeting is set for 7 p.m. Monday, April 3.

Who is the Durham City Council member accused of extorting a developer?