Attorney found dead in home

A former Catawba County government attorney and Conover City Council candidate was found dead Sunday at his home in Conover.

Lewis E. Waddell Jr., who was the subject of a recent N.C. State Bar investigation, was found dead in his home about 5:10 p.m. Sunday afternoon, according to police reports.

He was 69.

Police were called to Waddell’s residence at 410 3rd Ave. NE in Conover after a neighbor discovered his body.

Waddell’s neighbor, Thomas Scott, said he and his wife looked after Waddell and had a key to his home.
Conover Police Chief Steve Brewer said Waddell died of natural causes.

“He was not in good health," Brewer said. "He had kidney problems and a heart condition."

Waddell was a former member of the Catawba County Board of Elections, Newton-Conover Rotary Club and the N.C. Democratic Party. In November, he ran unsuccessfully for a seat on Conover City Council.

Waddell, a licensed attorney since 1966, previously served as attorney for the towns of Catawba and Maiden, according to his office's website.

He also served as the Catawba County Board of Commissioners attorney in the 1970s, according to current county public information officer Dave Hardin.

In recent months, Waddell has been under fire from the N.C. State Bar, which placed an injunction on the Newton attorney in January after it appeared he misused funds in a local client's bank account.

The Bar also requested Waddell turn over all of his financial records.

According to a preliminary Bar investigation, Waddell made two unauthorized $10,000 withdrawals from the Curt Vaught Estate bank account without the knowledge or consent of the Vaught estate executrix, which was the sole signatory on the estate account.

"I think this matter will be resolved," Waddell told The O-N-E in January. "I have full confidence in my financial records. There's not a single thing wrong in my financial records. The only discrepancy is those two withdrawals that I made when I thought I had authority, and I didn't."

The Bar's injunction kept Waddell from serving as an attorney-in-fact, trustee, executor, personal representative or in any other fudiciary capacity. The injunction also prohibited Waddell from dealing further with fudiciary funds in clients' accounts.