GREENSBORO, N.C. – After city council members discovered a $750,000 check left city hall without a signed contract, they called several closed door meetings. Friday, City Attorney Mujeeb Shah-Khan resigned. Monday, Shah-Khan told WFMY News 2 he did nothing wrong. (Read: Shah-Khan's resignation letter)
"My job is to provide legal advice. What I was asked to do was say, 'Was this legally permissible?' That's what I answered. I didn't cut the check. I didn't direct anyone to cut the check. I did my job as city attorney. So, no, I did nothing wrong," Shah-Khan said. "Based on my knowledge as lawyer, I was able to give that answer. Again, the [city] manager made the decision to cut that check, to request the check be cut."
The check was a part of the city's loan to the International Civil Rights Center and Museum. Some council members pointed blame at Shah-Khan. He resigned on Friday and received six-month severance package from the city. Shah-Khan told WFMY News 2 he has not spoken to former City Manager Denise Turner Roth since the controversy became public.
Shah-Khan visited city hall, Monday, to say farewell to his staff. If the former city attorney says he didn't do anything wrong, why did he resign?
"When you work with the city council and you serve at their pleasure, you get an idea where the council is, where they may be on an issue, where they may be with you. It just felt like it was time to move on," Shah-Khan said. "The next person that becomes the interim city attorney will be the eighth person to lead the office in five years. That's a concern. But, I will say this, I came in and hoped that this would be the place I would retire from. That didn't happen. It's going to be up to the city council and future city councils to decide how they want to deal with that. It is something that affects how Greensboro can be viewed. But, when you work in municipal law, you understand politics are part of it. You understand that everything can change every couple of years. So, I went into this eyes wide open."
Shah-Khan added he is proud of the work his team accomplished during his time as city attorney. He mentioned settling the long-standing discrimination lawsuits with police officers, changing rules to help protect people renting homes and making the city attorney's office more welcoming.
Shah-Khan plans to stay in the Triad area to look for a new job.