Martin Anthony “Tony” Denning is a 61-year-old retired teacher and real estate investor who lives in Bladen County with his wife Kimberly. They have two children, Ali and Kenan, who live in Cumberland County. Denning and his wife own over 150 acres of timber and farm land in Bladen, Sampson, and Wayne Counties for which they received $150 in federal farm subsidies in the past 20 years.
Beyond his experience as a coach and teacher, Denning’s record outside the classroom is riddled with red flags for anyone concerned about the policy effect on our state’s economy and schools. Legal records relating to Denning show that he has avoided prosecution for serious traffic and criminal matters. Specifically, he had cases dismissed or cases without fines relating to: Driving while Impaired (1989), Expired Registration/Tags (2002), Improper Equipment – Speedometer (2015), and Speeding (2015). In 2016, he was cited for driving while impaired and toxicology reports showed the he was under the influence of Diazepam, Nordiazepam, and Oxycodone. After an initial jury found him guilty of driving while impaired, he appealed the case and motioned to have the toxicology results suppressed because they included an incorrect date of birth. A second jury, in August 2017, found him guilty of running a red light, but deadlocked on the charge of driving while intoxicated. Ultimately, Denning pled guilty to reckless driving, and agreed to probation and fines for the charge. Included in the case file was a driving history, which showed that he was cited more than 20 times in 30 years on various charges.
Denning was also sued by his Ohio-based sister for mismanagement of rental properties left to them by their deceased parents. According to Mary Kaye Denning, the Dennings permitted the properties to fall in disarray and pocketed rents, rather than paying for maintenance fees. The parties agreed to sell at least one parcel, split the proceeds, and place $10,000 in an escrow fund to settle future disputes relating to the rental-property business.
As a candidate, Denning has filed as a candidate with the State of North Carolina in early 2017 and failed to file any subsequent paperwork. After the North Carolina State Board of Elections assessed a $500 fine against him in January 2018 and threatened to terminate his campaign committee, Denning reached out to the State Board of Elections with a three-page, handwritten letter claiming that his treasurer resigned without notifying him and that, as a first time candidate, he was unaware of filing requirements. He requested that the fine be waived and filed the delinquent forms showing no money raised or spent.
Read more about Denning’s public record: Denning Summary