OXFORD, MISSISSIPPI — Former Ole Miss football player and current Oxford mayoral candidate Todd Wade stopped just short Tuesday night of accusing his opponent of having conflict of interest issues.
Wade, who’s running as an independent, said in a campaign press release that he would not participate in any private real estate transactions if he’s elected, and said Democratic incumbent George “Pat” Patterson’s real estate holdings could violate the public’s trust.
“I encourage my opponent to join me in this pledge to restore the public’s confidence,” Waid said in the release.
Patterson said in an interview Wednesday afternoon that he owns one piece of commercial property in Oxford that houses the James Food Center near the Square.
That contradicts Wade’s assertion that Patterson owns “a vast portfolio of student housing and business property” in Oxford.
“It’s total political malarkey,” Patterson said. “What pieces of property is he referring to? I only have one. It’s complete B.S.”
Until Tuesday’s primary ended, the most common issues in Oxford’s mayoral debate had centered on parking and public transit. Patterson said he intended to keep it that way. “I’m not going to spend a lot of time on this,” he said.
Patterson served as head of the Oxford Tourism Council and as alderman before being elected mayor in 2009. Wade was an All-America offensive tackle at Ole Miss and was selected 53rd overall by the Miami Dolphins in the 2000 NFL draft. He played for four teams before retiring in 2008. He has spent his post-NFL career in Oxford.
Wade and Patterson will face each in the general election June 4.