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MattJM321
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http://www.newsobserver.com/news/story/1205934.html



DMV checking propriety of hiring
Internal affairs is investigating influence of a political fundraiser

Quote :
"Dan Kane, Staff Writer
Comment on this story

The N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles is investigating whether a longtime patronage boss from Greene County had undue influence in hiring decisions at the agency.
DMV Commissioner Bill Gore said that he asked his internal affairs investigators Tuesday to look into hires that may be connected to Eddie Carroll Thomas, a former state Transportation Department maintenance supervisor in Greene County. Thomas, 73, was a fundraiser for many prominent Democrats, including the two men who have held the governor's office for the past 16 years -- Jim Hunt and Mike Easley.

Thomas has two nephews and a niece who work in the DMV's Driver and Vehicle Services Unit, which handles licenses and registrations. One nephew has worked there since 1987 and is now a unit supervisor. He could not be reached for comment. The other two relatives were hired since 2006. Both said in interviews that they had little contact with Thomas and did not ask for his help in getting hired.

Thomas abruptly resigned from his job in November 2003, just as the DOT released phone records showing dozens of phone calls from a fax and phone line in Thomas' office to top officials across state government. Among the officials frequently called was a DMV administrator, Wayne Hurder, who is now deputy commissioner. The records show that from February 2002 to August 2003, Hurder received more than 90 calls from the line.

Gore would not comment on a connection between Hurder and Thomas, but two weeks ago he transferred Hurder from Driver and Vehicle Services to a policy development position and named an acting director to handle Hurder's old duties.

"Deputy Commissioner Hurder will not ordinarily be involved in personnel matters, nor direct the day-to-day operations of Driver and Vehicle Services," Gore said in an Aug. 19 memo.

Neither Hurder nor Thomas could be reached for comment. Thomas' attorney, Myron T. Hill of Greenville, said he was unaware that an internal probe was under way.

Thomas' involvement in a new prison for Greene County and a state contract for wetlands protection and his extensive efforts to help people get jobs and promotions in at least three state agencies led to state and federal investigations in 2003. So far, the probes have not led to any criminal charges. Thomas' attorney said he has not heard from investigators in a long time.

"I'm sort of feeling like it's over, but I haven't heard anything," Hill said.

Gore said none of the hires he is reviewing involve people not qualified to do the job.

"It's a question of whether all the qualified people who applied had the same opportunity to get a job," said Gore, a former state judge who took over the DMV a year ago.

Political patronage and favoritism have been longstanding issues for the DMV. Late last year, Gore asked the State Bureau of Investigation to look into the hiring of a friend of the then-head of the DMV's License and Theft Bureau. The friend was hired for an emissions specialist job ahead of a longtime state Highway Patrol mechanic who taught a class on emissions inspections at Wake Tech.

The investigation did not lead to criminal charges, but found that the normal hiring process had been circumvented. Shortly after, the bureau's deputy director and a district supervisor left the DMV.

Gore's predecessor, George Tatum, resigned amid allegations that he had hired friends and political allies over veteran DMV employees.

Gore said Thomas' family connections within the DMV also include a brother, Wiley, who worked there for roughly 20 years. Wiley Thomas was the DMV's chief driver's license hearing officer for several months in 1995 before retiring.


dan.kane@newsobserver.com or (919) 829-4861"


I'll post more later.

9/4/2008 4:44:37 PM

csharp_live
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I approve of this thread

9/4/2008 4:49:43 PM

nutsmackr
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This doesn't fit into the hooksaw thread how?

9/4/2008 4:54:47 PM

MattJM321
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http://www.newsobserver.com/politics/story/1129052.html



Mary Easley's NCSU pay soars
The first lady, an executive-in-residence at the school, gets an 88 percent raise to $170,000 a year

Quote :
"Benjamin Niolet, Staff Writer
Comment on this story

RALEIGH - First lady Mary Easley got a $79,700 pay raise from N.C. State University this week.
Her salary as an executive-in-residence and senior lecturer -- a job created for her in 2005 -- went from $90,300 to $170,000.

Her job title has not changed, but university officials said they have greatly expanded the duties for Easley, a former prosecutor and lawyer who has taught law courses. Her new duties include directing public safety training and co-directing the pre-law services program.

The Tuesday pay increase for Easley, 58, would dramatically raise her state retirement benefits, based on an average of an employee's four highest-earning years.

The raise comes as Easley, wife of Gov. Mike Easley, has been a hot topic among state residents because news reports revealed she was among the state's delegation on two trips to Europe that cost taxpayers more than $109,000.

Meanwhile, lawmakers are trying to hammer out a budget, and a contentious point between the governor and the legislature has been raises for state employees and teachers.

Dana Cope, executive director of the State Employees Association of North Carolina, said Easley's raise is way out of line compared with what state employees might expect.

"It looks like there is obviously preferential treatment going on," said Cope, whose organization represents 55,000 state employees and retirees. "That seems to be ridiculous. When state employees get additional job duties, very oftentimes they will get at best a 5 percent pay increase of what they were making."

Mary Easley did not respond to a request made through the governor's press office for an interview. She and the governor told WRAL-TV on Wednesday that they did not understand the uproar over her salary.

"It's not a raise. She's taking a new position," Gov. Easley told WRAL. "She could go out with a law firm and make a lot more money, but she's decided to stay with public service."

Mary Easley said, "What people have to understand is that I bring something unique to N.C. State," WRAL reported.

Gov. Easley, who is paid $135,854 a year, said he sensed sexism in his wife's critics.

"If she were a man, it wouldn't be an issue," Easley told WRAL.

Jim Martin, a chemistry professor at NCSU and the elected faculty chairman, said there is sexism at the university. A 2006 report from the American Association of University Professors said that just 18 percent of the university's tenured faculty are women. At UNC-Chapel Hill, the figure is 28 percent.

"Yes, we have sexism problems," Martin said, "but it's not paying the first lady $170,000."

The average salary for a full professor at NCSU is $110,000, said Martin, who is paid $101,000 as a full professor of chemistry.

Teach or go private?

Unfortunately, many faculty members must also choose between their jobs as teachers and lucrative careers in the private sector, he said.

"When I see an adjunct faculty being paid, you know, half again, if not close to double the salary of a faculty member, you can't help but say, 'Why?' What is that telling all the rest of us who have made this commitment to public service?" Martin said.

In a statement Wednesday, the university's provost and executive vice chancellor, Larry Nielsen, defended the 88 percent pay increase, which was first reported Wednesday by the Carolina Journal, a weekly publication owned by the John Locke Foundation, a conservative think tank.

Nielsen, whose office budget will pay Easley's salary, said her job has a new five-year commitment.

"Mary Easley brings unmatched experience to our students at N.C. State, and we are fortunate to have her as a member of our faculty," Nielsen said.

'Uniquely qualified'

Easley was hired by the university in 2005. She graduated from Wake Forest University and its law school, said Sherri Johnson, Gov. Mike Easley's communications director. She was a prosecutor for 10 years and in private practice for eight. She also taught law at N.C. Central University.

When NCSU hired her, her duties included teaching and running a university seminar series. Under her direction, the series has attracted speakers including former U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala and South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham.

Easley has previously taught legal aspects of police supervision. In her new job with NCSU, she will direct a training program for public safety leaders, first responders and other security professionals.

Her new duties also will include co-directing the pre-law services program and building partnerships with the legal profession and area law schools, according to the university.

"Mrs. Easley's experience in the legal profession and commitment to public service make her uniquely qualified to direct these efforts at N.C. State," Nielsen said.

(News researcher David Raynor contributed to this report.)


ben.niolet@newsobserver.com or (919) 829- 4521
News researcher David Raynor contributed to this report."

9/4/2008 4:56:22 PM

nutsmackr
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Someone is copying and pasting from the hooksaw thread.

Duke, query of the chair?

9/4/2008 4:57:04 PM

csharp_live
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Shouldn't there be another 5 Palin threads made this afternoon?


On topic:

Easley might want reevaluate his wifes new payraise. He'll be in the 90% tax bracket with Obamas plan.

See all her money she earns is going right back to the government anyway!! lol. I bet she didn't think of that. LOL

9/4/2008 5:01:42 PM

mrlebowski
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that's the best stuff you got? you don't really want us to dig up all the crooked conservative shit do you? I don't know, like lying to the country about why we're going to war?

9/4/2008 5:03:44 PM

gunzz
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Quote :
"Duke, query of the chair?"

9/4/2008 5:15:08 PM

Ytsejam
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Jesus, local NC Democrats are about as corrupt as you get. They have been in power for forever. And people come in here blasting this thread? Are you serious? When there are about a dozen threads on the first page of the soap box which are basically just Democratic talking point rants? Come on.

9/4/2008 6:00:07 PM

MattJM321
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http://www.wral.com/news/local/story/3094238/

Was Craig Wittin a Democrat (the Wake County recycling program manager)? Can't seem to find an answer anywhere.

Anyway, this thread is about LOCAL Democrats (and local Republicans). Please post whatever articles you can find. Credible sources only please.

I didn't see hooksaw's thread, but if his/hers is about local dems I'm sorry and please delete.

9/4/2008 8:43:52 PM

MattJM321
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I've got a big one for local followers.

When the judge ruled that $750 million was to be repaid to schools ( http://abclocal.go.com/wtvd/story?section=news/local&id=6322517&pt=print ), who the hell decided that it needed to be earmarked into a new "technology fund" and who got high paying, government appointed job to run the fund?

Stuff like that is crooked.

Quote :
" Attorney General Roy Cooper's office, which represented the state agencies in the case, will consult with Gov. Mike Easley's office and legislative leaders before deciding what to do next, Cooper spokeswoman Noelle Talley said.

Ed Dunlap, executive director of the North Carolina School Boards Association, the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit, said in a statement that school leaders "look forward to working with the General Assembly to devise a fair way for those funds to be repaid within a reasonable timetable and put to work for school children across this state."

The technology money already is used by school district to pay for computer labs, high-tech whiteboards and expanding high-speed Internet to all schools, said Leanne Winner, an association lobbyist.

Manning's ruling sets no timetable for lawmakers to resolve the issue, so legislators could make payments over several years if needed. But he wrote that any payments must go solely for technology matters.

About $800 million sits in the state's rainy day fund, but Hackney said it wouldn't be prudent to take money from a reserve traditionally used to respond to natural disasters.

Hackney suggested that the public schools already have been receiving more funds because lawmakers would have had to shift other tax dollars to run state agencies had they not retained the civil fines."


I bet it was a rainy day when the county school systems (Democats) had to step on the toes of the higher up Democrats in Raleigh when they filed a lawsuit.

9/4/2008 8:54:43 PM

TreeTwista10
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Quote :
"This doesn't fit into the hooksaw thread how?"


HA! You're one to talk. You made a thread 24 hours ago and its already locked.

9/4/2008 8:58:57 PM

MattJM321
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http://www.newsobserver.com/politics/story/1113165.html\




Easley trip to Italy cost $170,000
For meals, rooms, Mercedes rental

Quote :
" Benjamin Niolet, Staff Writer Comment on this story
An earlier version of this story overestimated the cost of hiring two chaufferred Mercedes for Gov. Mike Easley and his wife on a trip to Italy. The service cost $51,954.

Taxpayers spent more than $170,000 to send Gov. Mike Easley, his wife and a dozen others on a nine-day business-recruiting trip to Italy.

The expenses ranged from $700 for a lunch for eight in Rome to $51,000 for a daily chauffeured Mercedes just for North Carolina's first couple, referred to on the invoice as "Governor Easley and Lady Easley."

The state released documents concerning the April trip after a public records request, but the bills are still coming in. Still unknown are expenses for Easley's security detail and the head of the state Commerce Department.

The trip was designed to recruit industry to North Carolina and pitch the state as a tourist destination, especially because the euro is strong and Europeans can visit cheaply now. The dollar's weakness was starkly illustrated by hotel bills that topped $590 for two nights in Florence. Four years ago, that same bill would have been $160 cheaper at the going exchange rate.

State officials say the trip has already led to as many as six promising leads of new or expanding business. It led to at least two news stories in Italian publications highlighting North Carolina as an attractive tourist destination.

"The trip was a success," said Jim Fain, secretary of the Department of Commerce. If one or two businesses locate or expand in the state, the trip would pay for itself in new tax revenue, officials said.

Fain, whose expenses for the trip were not yet available, was appointed to his cabinet position by Easley, a Democrat nearing the end of his second and last term.

The delegation toured a winery and held meetings and luncheons with business leaders. Easley's role was often to give brief remarks before turning the program over to someone else. At a luncheon in Padova hosted by a pro-business group, Easley was scheduled to speak for four minutes of the 90-minute program. At a gathering for reporters and travel agents, Easley was scheduled to mingle for 25 minutes before addressing the group.

Many of the dinners taxpayers paid for, though, included only North Carolinians and their aides. In Rome, they dined at Ristorante Pierluigi for $599.84 and at Piccolo Mondo Osteria for $508.25.

Easley was main draw

Fain said the governor was needed on the trip because he was a draw for business leaders, government officials and reporters. Events were well-attended, likely because of Easley's presence, he said.

Sherri Johnson, Easley's communications director, accompanied Easley on the trip. But she referred most questions about the trip to Fain.

Johnson said she helped Easley deal with Italian news media and stay in touch with what was going on in Raleigh. She was responsible for making sure that Easley was in the right place and that he knew whom he was meeting.

"It's my job to assist the governor and make sure his goals for the trip ... were achieved," Johnson said. "I think it's kind of odd that you think he would go without a staff person."

The largest single expense of the trip was a chauffeured Mercedes S-Class sedan and Mercedes van available for Easley and his wife. The car alone and its driver alone cost as much as $3,600 on a single day, according to an invoice from Green Line Tours.

When asked why Easley and his wife needed a chauffeured luxury car, Johnson referred questions to the Department of Commerce.

"We had no idea that that was what was going to be the mode of transportation until we got there," Johnson said. "We didn't request that type of car and we didn't expect that. I think you need to ask Commerce why they chose that."

A Commerce official said the decision was made by Easley's security detail.

Bryan Beatty, head of the agency that handles Easley's security, said the car was necessary to ensure the safety of the governor. When Easley travels to other states, his security team can count on police agencies to take proper precautions.

"The governor, to us, is very important. But in Italy you don't know how they will perceive him," Beatty said in an interview. "We want to make sure we're familiar with the transportation we'll be getting. The cost is what it is. We obviously don't want to request anything that's not needed."

ben.niolet@newsobserver.com or (919) 829-4521"


[Edited on September 4, 2008 at 9:08 PM. Reason : I know, old news.]

9/4/2008 9:07:59 PM

MattJM321
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And of course the biggest one lately:



3 lawyers shielded Edwards affair
Relationship also may have begun earlier than Edwards has claimed

Quote :
" By Serge F. Kovaleski and Mike Mcintire, The New York Times Comment on this story
As tabloid reports of a sex scandal threatened former Sen. John Edwards' presidential campaign last December on the eve of the Iowa caucuses, two lawyers surfaced with written statements that appeared to exonerate the candidate.

One of them, Robert Gordon of New York, said that his client, Rielle Hunter, a pregnant 43-year-old filmmaker, was not carrying Edwards' child. Soon, the other lawyer, Pamela Marple of Washington, sent word that her client, Andrew Young, an Edwards campaign aide, was the baby's father.

Seemingly issued independently of Edwards, the statements appeared to deflate the anonymously sourced reports of an Edwards tryst.

But what went unnoticed was that the two lawyers shared an important connection to Edwards that raises questions about whether they were part of an orchestrated effort to protect him, one that is continuing even after he admitted last week that he had an affair with Hunter but denied that he fathered her child.

The lawyers are linked through Fred Baron, a wealthy Dallas lawyer and former finance chairman for the Edwards campaign who was a key player in the campaign's response to the scandal. Gordon has worked with Baron on class-action personal injury cases, and Marple helped defend a lawsuit brought against both men and their law firms by an asbestos manufacturer.

After initially saying that he did not know how the lawyers were chosen to represent Hunter and Young, Baron acknowledged that he might have played a role.

The revelations of ties among the lawyers emerged through public records and interviews with people close to Edwards and Hunter, which suggested that their affair went on longer than Edwards admitted and that the effort to conceal it by Edwards' inner circle was much more extensive than has been reported.

The review found that Edwards' political action committee went to unusual lengths to make a final $14,000 payment to Hunter's film company months after its contract with the committee had ended. The payment was issued while the committee was short on cash and could pay its bills only after receiving thousands of dollars from Edwards' presidential campaign and donations from four people, including Baron's wife.

Furthermore, a woman who helped Hunter create a Web site on New Age spirituality in 2006 says she regularly corresponded with her about a married North Carolina man named John whom Hunter was dating in March of that year, if not earlier. Edwards has said his affair with Hunter did not begin until after she had started doing video work for his political action committee months later.

The woman, Pigeon O'Brien, who says she worked with Hunter to build her "Being Is Free" Web site and a related foundation, said that Hunter recounted how she had met "John" at the Regency Hotel in New York in early 2006 and that they had started dating soon after.

O'Brien said that Hunter made at least one trip to North Carolina in March 2006 to visit him and that, during the next few months, she never made any references to Young, who later claimed to be the father of the child, or indicated that she even knew him.

Gordon, Hunter's attorney, declined to comment, citing the privacy of Hunter and her baby.

$14K for furniture

Hunter's work for the political action committee involved making short videos of Edwards. The committee made six payments totaling $100,000 to Midline Groove Productions, Hunter's production company, before its contract ended on Dec. 31.

But three months later, on April 1, 2007, the committee made another payment to Midline for $14,086, which coincided with the receipt of $14,035 by the committee from Edwards' presidential campaign to cover the cost of office furniture, according to Federal Election Commission reports. The infusion of cash from the presidential campaign was necessary to make the payment to Midline, because the committee began April with only $7,932 in the bank, the reports show. The only other money the committee took in during that quarter was donations totaling $18,000 from Baron's wife and three other people. "

9/4/2008 9:11:00 PM

MattJM321
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http://projects.newsobserver.com/dome/profiles/jim_black



Quote :
"Synopsis


Jim Black is a former speaker of the N.C. House of Representatives. He resigned in February, the day before pleading guilty to a felony corruption charge. He is serving in a federal prison.

A licensed optometrist, Black went into politics late in life, but eventually became one of the state's most powerful politicians. After serving two terms in the N.C. House of Representatives in the early 1980s, Black lost three campaigns in a row. In 1990, he was re-elected and soon moved into leadership. He served as speaker of the house a record-tying four terms, including a historic co-speakership with Republican Rep. Richard Morgan. Amid mounting criminal investigations, he resigned in early 2007, pleading guilty to a felony corruption charge the next day. He is currently serving time in a federal prison.

Trivia


He has been a licensed optometrist since 1962.

Endorsements


* Biography
* Occupation
* Contact Info
* Education
* Military
* Links

Biography

Marital Status
Married
Spouse
Betty
Children
Daughter, Deborah; son, James

Jim Black is a former speaker of the N.C. House of Representatives. He resigned in February, the day before pleading guilty to a felony corruption charge. He is serving in a federal prison.

Political Career

Black, a licensed optometrist, began his political career in 1981, when he was elected to a state House seat representing Mecklenburg County. He served two terms, losing a re-election bid in 1984.

He lost comeback attempts in 1986 and 1988 but won the 1990 election. In 1995, he was selected House minority leader by his Democratic peers, a position he held for three years.

He was chosen as speaker of the House in 1999 and again in 2001.

In the 2002 election, Republicans won control of the House, 61-59. But shortly before the session began, Republican Rep. Michael Decker switched parties.

After nearly a week of negotiations, Republicans and Democrats agreed to a historic co-speakership between Black and Rep. Richard Morgan.

When Democrats regained control in 2004, Black became speaker for a fourth term. He is tied with Liston B. Ramsey as the longest-serving state speaker.

Amid mounting criminal investigations in late 2006, he dropped out of the race for a fifth term as speaker. He resigned on Feb. 14, 2007.

Investigations

During his final years in office, Black and his associates were involved in several major investigations related to the creation of the state lottery, lobbying by the video poker industry and the co-speakership.

* Meredith Norris, a former legislative aide to Black, failed to register as a lobbyist while wining and dining lawmakers on behalf of lottery vendor Scientific Games. In 2006, she was found guilty of a misdemeanor lobbying law violation.

* Kevin Geddings, a Black appointee to the state lottery commission, failed to disclose a past business relationship with the head of Scientific Games. In 2007, he was sentenced to four years in prison and a $25,000 for five counts of mail fraud. He was also convicted on state charges.

* Rep. Decker pleaded guilty in 2006 to a federal conspiracy charge, admitting he left the Republican Party and supported Black for speaker in exchange for $50,000 and a legislative job for his son. He was sentenced to four years in prison and a $50,000 fine.

* Rep. Thomas Wright, one of his top lieutenants, was indicted on five felony counts of fraud and one of obstruction of justice for spending money solicited for a charity. The state House is considering expelling him.

U.S. Attorney Frank Whitney looked into Black's dealings as part of video poker probe "Operation Double Black Diamond," and the State Board of Elections looked into his finances after a complaint from Democracy North Carolina.

Black denied wrongdoing during and after the investigations, although he eventually pleaded guilty to taking payoffs from three chiropractors.

Chiropractors' Cash

Between 2002 and 2005, Black illegally received $29,000 from chiropractors Fletcher Keith and Thomas Brown of Charlotte and Steve Willen of Greensboro, according to court records.

* In February of 2002, the chiropractors gave Black $8,000 in cash at a private dining club in Charlotte.

* In December, they gave him $10,000 in cash at the same dining club.

* On Feb. 14, 2004, two chiropractors gave him $4,000 in cash in the bathroom of a restaurant in Concord. At the same event, the third gave him a check for $4,000 that he deposited into his personal bank account.

* On Dec. 3, 2005, a chiropractor gave Black another $3,000 in cash in the restroom of the Capital Grille in Charlotte.

In 2005, Black pushed for legislation that would lower insurance co-payments for chiropractors. He succeeded by inserting language in the state budget, avoiding public debate. The provision cost the state's largest insurer $8 million.

In exchange for cooperating with investigators, the three chiropractors will not be prosecuted. They also will not face disciplinary action from the N.C. Board of Chiropractic Examiners.
Black and Decker

In late 2002 or early 2003, Black met with Rep. Decker at an International House of Pancakes off Interstate 85 in Salisbury.

According to testimony from an agent with the State Bureau of Investigations, the two went into the bathroom, where Decker told Black he would switch parties for $50,000 and a legislative job he could give to someone else.

Throughout that year, Black gave Decker checks from BellSouth's political action committee PAC and the N.C. State Optometric Society PAC, as well as cash, for a total of $42,050.

In his capacity as co-speaker, he also allowed Decker to hire his son as a legislative assistant for $46,000 a year.

After the legislature adjourned in 2003, Decker switched back to the Republican Party, but he failed to win the 2004 GOP primary. Black then worked with the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources to create a tourism job for him.

Career Ends

After the 2006 elections, seven candidates considered challenging Black for the job of speaker.

In December, Black dropped out of the race, saying he did not need "to be speaker forever." Democrats eventually selected Rep. Joe Hackney, who had sponsored a number of ethics reform bills the previous session.

On Feb. 14, 2007, Black resigned from the state House.

The next day, he pleaded guilty in federal court, admitting that he took $29,000 from the three chiropractors, a felony under gratuity statutes. As part of the plea, he agreed to cooperate with investigators.

Court Cases

On Feb. 20, he entered an Alford plea in Wake County Superior Court to bribing Decker and obstructing justice, both felonies under state law. He did not admit guilt to those charges, but said that a jury would likely find him guilty.

On March 27, the House voted to rescind the restriction on insurance companies charging higher fees for chiropractors.

On July 11, U.S. District Court Judge Terrence Boyle sentenced Black to 63 months in federal prison and a $50,000 fine. With good behavior, he could reduce his sentence by nine and a half months.

During sentencing on state charges on July 31, Wake County prosecutors presented evidence that lobbyist Don Beason illegally loaned Black $500,000 in the summer of 2000, which Black then put into his campaign account to help raise money.

Black argued that the money was a bridge loan for a real estate transaction.

On the witness stand, Black also admitted to taking an illegal $2,000 cash payment from Charlotte strip club owner David "Slim" Baucom. He said he also gave $8,000 to then-Rep. Alex Warner, a Fayetteville Democrat.

Wake County Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens sentenced Black to a $1 million fine and $54,000 in restitution, but suspended additional jail time provided that the former speaker pays the fine by December.

"I am giving him the opportunity to pay his debt to North Carolina," Stephens said.

Black reported to federal prison officials on July 30, 2007. He was sent to a prison in Lewisburg, Pa. "


[Edited on September 4, 2008 at 9:18 PM. Reason : .]

9/4/2008 9:16:45 PM

MattJM321
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Crickets chirping in here...

Quote :
"that's the best stuff you got? you don't really want us to dig up all the crooked conservative shit do you? I don't know, like lying to the country about why we're going to war?"


Please do, but lets stick to local NC Republicans and make sure we have articles to support our claims.

9/5/2008 8:26:23 AM

Nerdchick
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Quote :
"Jim Martin, a chemistry professor at NCSU and the elected faculty chairman, said there is sexism at the university. A 2006 report from the American Association of University Professors said that just 18 percent of the university's tenured faculty are women. At UNC-Chapel Hill, the figure is 28 percent."


Duh. NCSU has a large engineering school. There is a low proportion of female professors in engineering. That's not sexism, that's demographics.

9/5/2008 9:04:45 AM

Stimwalt
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There definitely is sexism at the university. I think the argument they are attempting to make is that women avoid colleges like engineering from the start, because of the overwhelming difficulty in breaking the proverbial glass ceiling.

[Edited on September 5, 2008 at 9:25 AM. Reason : -]

9/5/2008 9:23:44 AM

MattJM321
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The list goes on:



http://www.newsobserver.com/politics/politicians/phipps/story/626220.html


Quote :
"Federal prosecutors portrayed Phipps, the daughter and granddaughter of former governors, as the ringleader in a scheme to accept illegal contributions from carnival companies seeking to do business at state-operated fairs. The money went to pay off campaign debt and for personal use, the government said.

Phipps pleaded guilty to extortion, conspiracy and mail fraud and was sentenced to four years in federal prison. She was released earlier this year.

Strates sued in federal court in Raleigh, alleging fraud, conspiracy or unfair trade practices by more 30 defendants. Strates argued it would have received the 2002 midway contract had it not been for the Phipps scheme and the defendants' "unlawful conduct.""

9/5/2008 10:43:12 AM

MattJM321
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I still can't find out about the Wake County Recycling Program manager who was fired, or about his boss as far party affiliation...

9/5/2008 10:50:23 AM

nutsmackr
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how old are the scandals you are going to pull out. You might as well point at Vance Aycock now.

^I'll tell you why, he wasn't an elected official, or a government appointee, therefore his political party does not matter.

[Edited on September 5, 2008 at 10:52 AM. Reason : .]

9/5/2008 10:50:27 AM

gunzz
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MattJM321, you need to stop double posting. edit post is there for a reason:
Quote :
"Do not consecutively reply to a topic - If you are within the alloted timespan for editing a message that no one has replied to and you think of something to add, EDIT the message. DO NOT REPLY AGAIN. Constant abuse of this will not be tolerated. "


site_postguide.aspx
this will be your only warning

9/5/2008 10:52:14 AM

MattJM321
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Gunzz, thanks for the update. I'll make sure to edit next time. Just a lot of information out there and I was posting as I found it.

Quote :
"^I'll tell you why, he wasn't an elected official, or a government appointee, therefore his political party does not matter. "


Oh it does matter in NC. It matters with any 6 figure government job.

Here's another hash:



http://www.newsobserver.com/politics/story/1207303.html

Quote :
"The Golden LEAF Foundation was created in 1999 to receive half the funds due to the state from a national settlement with cigarette makers. The board, appointed by the governor, Senate president pro tem and House speaker, distributes grants for projects that are supposed to benefit once tobacco-dependent counties or those that are otherwise economically distressed.

The foundation has had a rocky past. Critics have contended that grant decisions are driven by politics, not need. Others have complained that the organization has been too passive. Legislators have threatened to take away its funds."


Quote :
"Lee announced her intention to retire last year, and the board received about 300 applications for her job. It winnowed the list to a handful of candidates.

In June, Easley asked Golden LEAF to delay a decision until this month. He and Basnight encouraged members to choose Gerlach, who will be out of a job when Easley's term ends in January."


So out of 300 applicants, they disregard all of them because the Governor wanted his buddy to have the job?

Here are his qualifications, according to Marc Basnight:

Quote :
"Basnight conceded that "there was a time I didn't care for Dan Gerlach at all," but said he grew to respect Gerlach after working on legislative proposals.

"Dan is a very, very smart man. Strange. Different. There's no question about that," Basnight said. "If you look at him, he looks a bit kooky. But inside, he's got a big heart and a great intellect." "


Dan is mentioned here in this article: http://www.newsobserver.com/news/story/1040808.html

It's involving the Feds withholding $175 million from the state concerning the mental health program.

Quote :
"The federal government has withheld payment of $175 million for a key state mental health program because of concern that the money was improperly spent.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services informed the state in an e-mail that it would defer payment for claims in the community support program during the last three months of 2007.

"While we realize some of the community support services expenditures may be legitimate, at this time we are not able to determine the 'good' expenditures from the 'bad' expenditures, resulting in us having to defer the entire amount," wrote a financial analyst for the federal government./quote]

[quote]Gerlach called it a "cash flow issue" and said the state will contend that because of reforms it has already made, or plans to make, the federal government should pay.

In a five-part series published six weeks ago, The N&O reported the state had wasted at least $400 million on mental health reforms. Most of the money was spent on the two community support programs. "


Great so one of Easley's top economic advisers now has his greasy hands in another fund.

9/5/2008 11:24:05 AM

nutsmackr
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Personally knowing Dan Gerlach, I will tell you that you are full of shit and have no idea what the hell you are talking about.

Dan has an extensive resume and is more than qualified for the position.

Quote :
"Oh it does matter in NC. It matters with any 6 figure government job."


I don't think you understand the difference between EPA and SPA or anything at all to do with hiring municipal employees.

You are just an ignorant clod.

[Edited on September 5, 2008 at 11:32 AM. Reason : .]

9/5/2008 11:31:36 AM

MattJM321
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Dan Gerlach

AGE: 41

EDUCATION: Notre Dame, bachelor's degree in economics and English; Syracuse University, master's degree in public administration.

EXPERIENCE: Gov. Mike Easley's senior policy adviser for fiscal affairs, 2001 to the present; project director, N.C. Budget & Tax Center, 1995 to 2001; budget analyst, New York legislature, 1991 to 1995


That's a great eduaction...but it wouldn't land that kind of job without his buddy's help. Especially if you came off "kooky" in the interview process against 300 other applicants with similar qualifications.

Nutsmackr lets try and debate here, instead of calling names.

[Edited on September 5, 2008 at 11:39 AM. Reason : .]

9/5/2008 11:36:34 AM

nutsmackr
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Quote :
"budget analyst, New York legislature, 1991 to 1995"


He worked for the Speaker's office.


I will acknowledge that Dan is a "kooky" guy, but that doesn't change the fact tha being Easley pointman on every administrative action coupled with his prior experience makes him more than qualified.

The fact that I know Dan and have worked with Dan gives me a leg up in this discussion.

9/5/2008 12:03:05 PM

aaronburro
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and it certainly doesn't give you any bias over all of the other candidates whom you have never met, right?

9/5/2008 1:02:48 PM

nutsmackr
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I'm not the one arguing that he was falsely hired. I am pointing out that Dan Gerlach is more than qualified for the position.

9/5/2008 1:06:36 PM

aaronburro
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and yet, is he more than qualified when compared to the other people in the process? Did he prove his qualifications through the hiring process, or did a governor affect that process? That is the issue in question, you know.

9/5/2008 1:09:02 PM

mrlebowski
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I think I remember there being some crooked shit going on with something around Brad Miller at one point in time or another, but I could be wrong

9/5/2008 3:28:09 PM

nutsmackr
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^^Do you know anything about the situation, or are you just running your mouth in an attempt to make it seem like a scandal is present even though there is no evidence for that.

9/5/2008 3:31:38 PM

MattJM321
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It keeps going...

http://www.newsobserver.com/news/story/1042749.html

Easley e-mail policy backed
Scholar: Practices don't violate law



Quote :
"David M. Lawrence, a professor of public law and government at UNC-Chapel Hill, is a member of the group appointed by Gov. Mike Easley to review his administration's handling of e-mail.

"I believe that the guidelines conform with and do not violate the public records statutes," Lawrence wrote in a letter to the panel's chairman. "


Of course it doesn't, you were appointed to say it wouldn't.

Quote :
"The current dust-up over public records began last month when Debbie Crane, the former spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Human Services, said she had been instructed to delete all e-mail sent or received from the governor's office in an effort to destroy records that could be requested by the public.

Notes taken by two other public information officers during meetings with Easley's press staff appear to back Crane's claim.

Ten North Carolina news organizations, including The News & Observer, have sued the Democratic governor over his administration's deletion of e-mail, which they say violates the state's public records law."


Quote :
""They tend to confirm the occurrence of actual events and provide a unique window into the operation of state government," wrote Merritt, a Republican who was not among those appointed to the e-mail group.

"For the Office of the State Auditor, e-mails serve as information in the audit trail. Their retention aids our ability to carry out all of our audits including the vital role of uncovering fraud, waste and abuse in state government." "


It's awful quiet in here...where are the Palin bashers?

[Edited on September 5, 2008 at 4:06 PM. Reason : .]









Found another good one. This one is interesting to me because I personally know someone who has recieved this award. I would consider him an oustanding man and someone I personally look up to.

The long leaf pine award :http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Order_of_the_Long_Leaf_Pine
It's supposed to the be the highest award our state can give to an individual citizen.

The funny thing is that Mike Easley awarded it to the top NC lobbyist of this year.

http://www.wral.com/news/state/story/3430415/
Quote :
"The top spot went to contract lobbyist Roger Bone, a former lobbyist, who works for several groups. Bone has been a fixture at the General Assembly and was awarded the state's highest citizen honor, The Order of the Long Leaf Pine, by Easley earlier this year."


[Edited on September 5, 2008 at 4:31 PM. Reason : another one]

9/5/2008 4:05:58 PM

pooljobs
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Quote :
"where are the Palin bashers?"

are you asking because she is another corrupt state politician? cause i can agree with that

9/5/2008 6:33:06 PM

mrlebowski
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politicians on both sides are corrupt, who woulda thunk it?

I think everyone is missing the point big time

9/5/2008 6:34:32 PM

aaronburro
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Quote :
"Do you know anything about the situation, or are you just running your mouth in an attempt to make it seem like a scandal is present even though there is no evidence for that."

Do you know anything about the other candidates for the job, or anything about how they fared in the interview process?

9/5/2008 6:34:51 PM

MattJM321
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http://www.newsobserver.com/politics/story/1212319.html

Crooked Republican in there too...but a Democrat. I guess they equal out...out wait no they don't.

Wake lawmaker skipped toll road vote

Quote :
"From Staff Reports
Comment on this story

RALEIGH - While Sen. David Hoyle voted to fund a toll road project from which he could potentially benefit, a Wake County lawmaker excused himself from voting for the same reasons, according to the political newsletter The Insider.
Hoyle, a Democrat from Gaston County, voted for a budget that specifically funded the Garden Parkway in Gaston County. Hoyle and two family members own 327 acres near a planned exit.

House Minority Leader Paul "Skip" Stam, a Republican from Wake County, declined to vote on the budget bill because of a similar potential conflict, The Insider, reported today. The e-mail newsletter is published by The News & Observer.

Stam's family members and clients own property along the planned Triangle Expressway, a toll road that received funding in the budget bill. Stam told The Insider that he didn't know the facts about Hoyle's situation and could speak only about his own.

Stam said he excused himself from voting on the budget bill because it specifically provided funding for the toll road. However, he debated budget amendments that had nothing to do with the road project.

"It was awkward," Stam told The Insider. "As you may recall, I spoke neither positively or negatively about the budget until after [it passed]. I didn't want to be influencing people."

All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be published, broadcast or redistributed in any manner."

9/9/2008 4:47:28 PM

aaronburro
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how is that a crooked republican? He abstained from voting specifically because he had a conflict of interest, and, here's the best part: he even said so. Meanwhile, the Democrat voted and said nothing, even though he had effectively the same conflict of interest. Do you even read the things you post?

9/9/2008 10:36:14 PM

MattJM321
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They are BOTH landowners where a major thoroughfare is being built...but the Dem was definitely more crooked. Moving on, will post more later as they come up.

9/10/2008 8:29:16 AM

aaronburro
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Ummm, simply being a landowner near where a major road was to be built doesn't make you a crooked politician. if that land has been in the family for generations, then it is hard to claim the Republican did anything wrong by simply owning it. Now, if he went out and bought the land after getting wind that the road was going there, it'd be one thing. It'd also be something if he influenced the routing of the road. But, that article gives us no impression that either of those is the case. So, I again ask you, why are you calling the Republican, who revealed the conflict of interest and abstained from voting, a crook?

9/10/2008 5:17:03 PM

MattJM321
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Scandal tough on Edwards aide
Is Young fall guy or a key player?

Quote :
"Lorenzo Perez and Ames Alexander, Staff Writers
Comment on this story

During John Edwards' two campaigns for president, Andrew Aldridge Young was a trusted, loyal aide, often near the candidate's side when he was in North Carolina.
When Edwards and his family were out of town, Young looked after their houses. When they flew into town, Young picked them up at the airport. If Edwards' parents needed help at a campaign event, Young was there. When hordes of reporters and photographers trampled the grass of Edwards' Raleigh neighbors during his 2003 presidential announcement, Young arranged to have the damage repaired.

And when Rielle Hunter -- the campaign videographer with whom Edwards has acknowledged he had an affair -- became pregnant, Young said the baby was his.

That statement, posted in December by a Washington lawyer representing Young, transformed and complicated the life of a 42-year-old man who finished law school at Wake Forest but apparently has never practiced law. He has lived in the Governors Club near Chapel Hill with his wife and three children, and more recently in a Santa Barbara, Calif., home worth nearly $2 million. Both homes are in gated communities that offer some shielding from public view.

It is not clear whether he is working. But records show that work is wrapping up on Young's new home: a 5,300-square-foot structure on a wooded, 10-acre lot outside Chapel Hill.

The circumstances have raised questions about Edwards' longtime aide, most sounding more like the stuff of soap operas than the residue of a failed campaign:

Was Young really the father of Hunter's newborn daughter? How did a man who collected a middle-class income raising money and serving as a personal assistant wind up doing so well for himself? Why did Edwards' campaign finance chairman pay to move Young and Hunter from North Carolina to palatial homes in California, away from prying tabloid reporters?

Last month, Edwards acknowledged that he had an extramarital affair with Hunter but denied that he was the father of her baby girl, born in February. He said he was willing to take a paternity test; Hunter has since refused to allow her daughter to be tested. Edwards also denied having any previous knowledge of payments made to Hunter and Young.

But news stories and blog postings since then have fueled skepticism about those assertions -- and about Young's role.

Pigeon O'Brien, a Texas-based publicist who said she was a longtime friend of Hunter before losing touch with her in June, said that although she remembers Hunter's talking about her boyfriend "John" from North Carolina, she could not remember Hunter's ever mentioning Andrew Young.

When the National Enquirer's pursuit of the Edwards affair story heated up last year, the Youngs and Hunter fell under the protection of Fred Baron, finance chairman for the Edwards campaign. An influential fundraiser for the Democratic Party, the former Dallas trial lawyer acknowledged last month that he paid to move Young and Hunter from North Carolina to California.

At one point after the move, according to Baron, Young's family was sharing a home with Hunter, at least until tensions arose.

Young's new home outside Chapel Hill is secluded. There he and his family may be able to dodge the persistent questions surrounding Edwards' relationship with Hunter, the woman hired to shoot a series of videos leading up to his run for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination.

Young and his family aren't talking to the press. But in a mid-August interview with the New York Post, Young's mother, Jacquelyn Juchatz, expressed doubts that her son was the father. No father was listed on the baby's birth certificate. "


http://www.newsobserver.com/politics/story/1218098.html

The picture made me lol.

9/16/2008 3:48:50 PM

MattJM321
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Official steered road money near his land



Quote :
"By Dan Kane
(Raleigh) News & Observer
Posted: Sunday, Sep. 21, 2008
Slideshow

SEWELL.NCDOT.NE.020708.ASR----Louis Sewell, Jr. is an at-large member on the Board of the North Carolina Department of Transportation.__Staff Photo by Shawn Rocco / The News and Observer

“All I try to do is help the people of Jacksonville and North Carolina,” said Louis Sewell of Jacksonville, a state Board of Transportation member. SHAWN ROCCO – (RALEIGH) NEWS & OBSERVER PHOTO
A state Board of Transportation member from Jacksonville steered roughly $375,000 in public money to road improvements adjacent to properties that he co-owned at the time.

In 2004 and 2005, board member Louis Sewell Jr. recommended or voted to spend $200,000 in state money to improve a busy commercial intersection where he or his son, along with business partners, were selling two properties at more than $1 million each. He also asked a state senator to provide another $125,000 for the intersection improvements from a DOT discretionary fund.

In 2006, Sewell recommended and voted for $50,000 in state money to patch a section of road on the outskirts of Jacksonville where he and business partners own a 250-acre parcel. The land is now for sale.

State law requires members of the transportation board to refrain from seeking money for projects that might directly benefit them. Minutes of board meetings do not show Sewell mentioning his financial interests in those two areas of Jacksonville. Twice, he voted for some of the funding for the road improvements.

Sewell, 73, was a fundraiser for Gov. Mike Easley, who named him to the transportation board.

“All I try to do is help the people of Jacksonville and North Carolina,” Sewell said before a recent board meeting. He said any money he has recommended and approved for road projects has been in the public interest.

Sewell followed up with a letter, sent by his lawyer, in which Sewell wrote that he had sought the money at U.S. 17 and Western Boulevard to improve safety at an intersection widely considered the area's busiest. He said the patching at Ramsey Road on the northern outskirts of Jacksonville aided a new housing development that includes an elementary school.

State Transportation Secretary Lyndo Tippett said Friday that he would forward information about the transactions to the State Ethics Commission for an investigation.

In March 2004, Sewell recommended $115,000 in state money to add and extend turn lanes, move overhead signs and add concrete medians at the intersection of U.S. 17 and Western Boulevard. It was the first of three recommendations he made for state money in 2004 and 2005 at the intersection for a total of $327,000.

Records show Sewell was trying to upgrade the intersection while he and his partners were developing a parcel near one corner, and a son and his partners were developing a parcel at another corner.

Sewell and his business partners subdivided a parcel about 300 feet west of the intersection into four lots that are now home to a medical clinic and a Texas Roadhouse restaurant. Sewell and his partners paid $603,000 for the land in 1999 and sold three of the four subdivided parcels for a total of $1.7 million over a year-long period beginning in September 2004. That's six months after he began requesting DOT money for improvements.

Sewell's son, Billy, and his partners paid $510,000 in September 2003 for a parcel at the northeast corner and sold it for $1.1 million in October 2004. That's seven months after Louis Sewell began requesting money for the improvements.

Today, Sewell continues to co-own land leased to an Outback Steakhouse about 300 feet north of the intersection. Billy Sewell co-owns the Golden Corral restaurant about 300 feet east of the intersection.

In early 2006, Louis Sewell recommended $50,000 to patch a 2-mile stretch of Ramsey Road on the northern outskirts of Jacksonville.

The public purpose was to fix the two-lane road in front of a new school added as part of a growing subdivision called Carolina Forest, according to state records. Also along the repaired section is a 250-acre tract owned by another Sewell partnership. The land is assessed at $3.2 million and is up for sale. Sewell and his partners bought the land in 1996 as part of a 440-acre parcel for $825,000, Onslow County property records show.

Sewell's attorney, J. Dewey Edwards Jr., said Sewell acknowledges he should have let another board member handle requests for road work that might have a direct effect on his real estate holdings.

Sewell sits on the Jacksonville Transportation Advisory Committee, a regional transportation board. At its meetings, minutes show, he avoided advocating road work near his property – in contrast to his actions on the transportation board in Raleigh.

The DOT's ethics policy, which applies to board members, says employees shall not “use or attempt to use his or her position with the NCDOT to secure unwarranted privileges or advantages for himself, herself or others.”

Sewell has tried to avoid the appearance of conflicts in several other projects before the state board. Board members are required to fill out a form when they abstain from a vote. A public records request of all of Sewell's abstentions produced eight votes since 2005 from which Sewell abstained.

Sewell has been an active political fundraiser. An internal campaign document from Easley's first campaign for governor in 2000 shows that Sewell and others led an effort to raise $125,000. Shortly after the election, Easley appointed Sewell to a board seat, which has long been a perk governors bestow on major fundraisers.

Today, Sewell is a fundraiser for Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue, the Democratic nominee for governor. She championed the 1998 legislation meant to reform the transportation board.

Sewell's appointment has exposed weaknesses in those reforms, which were adopted after some board members were found to have been obtaining money for projects that benefited their business interests. The reforms required future members to disclose their fundraising, but a legal interpretation requested by Easley narrowed the reach of the reporting. The opinion said the disclosure requirement was limited to campaign checks and cash collected in hand. Sewell and another appointee who held fundraisers or solicited contributors – but didn't actually hold the money – reported no fundraising.

Another reform intended to bring more balance to the board called for at least three appointees who are not from the governor's political party. In March 2001, shortly after Easley announced his appointees for the board, Sewell switched from unaffiliated to the Republican Party. An Easley spokeswoman said the governor thought Sewell had always been a Republican.

Onslow County Republicans say Sewell hasn't been active in the party, and in 2004, he argued against an effort to name a bridge across the New River after former President Ronald Reagan, a Republican.

Instead, part of the highway is named for Reagan. Several months later, local officials came up with another honoree for the bridge: Sewell himself.

"


http://www.charlotteobserver.com/breaking/story/205457.html

9/21/2008 9:42:23 AM

NeuseRvrRat
hello Mr. NSA!
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crooked politicians? NO WAI!!!

9/21/2008 10:41:41 AM

MattJM321
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I just don't understand why anyone would vote Democrat on the state level.

9/21/2008 1:12:43 PM

MattJM321
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Quote :
"Sewell calls off Perdue event
Ethics probe target cancels fundraiser

Jim Morrill and Dan Kane, Staff Writers
Comment on this story

N.C. Board of Transportation member Louis W. Sewell Jr. on Tuesday canceled a fundraiser for Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue, hours after Perdue equivocated about whether she would attend.
"I think it is in the best interest of my family and everybody else involved to cancel the event," Sewell said in a statement released by an attorney.

Sewell is the subject of a State Ethics Commission probe after The News & Observer reported Sunday that he had steered roughly $375,000 of public money to road projects in Jacksonville adjacent to properties that he or his son co-owned at the time. Sewell has said he only sought to serve the public's interest.

Sewell is a fundraiser for Perdue. Perdue said Tuesday she supports the ethics investigation, but she was unclear about whether she would attend the fundraiser that was scheduled for Thursday night.

At one point, she said, "I need to think about that," but later she said: "The fundraiser's in Jacksonville, and as I understand there are a lot of folks who are doing the fundraiser. ... And so I'm very hopeful that I will keep the commitments I've made on the coast."

Perdue, a New Bern Democrat, said The N&O report left her "saddened and stunned."

In one case, the money Sewell requested went to improvements at a busy, accident-prone intersection; in the other, a road was patched where a new elementary school and residential community opened.

State law requires transportation board members to refrain from seeking money for projects that might directly benefit them.

Perdue's opponent in the governor's race, Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory, continued to press the issue Tuesday.

"Even sadly today there are newspaper articles about DOT board members who are putting roads through property they own, and no one knew about it," said McCrory, a Republican. "Yet those same people are giving fundraisers for gubernatorial candidates. That's the type of mistrust and inefficiency we can no longer afford in North Carolina."

Perdue would not say whether she would reappoint Sewell to the board if she is elected governor.

"Lord have mercy," she said. "I'm trying to win the governor's race."

"


http://www.newsobserver.com/politics/story/1230097.html

She didn't even answer the question?

9/24/2008 8:59:09 AM

nutsmackr
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I hear rumors and say to myself, "that douchebag will probably post them in this thread." Two days later, sho nuff.

9/24/2008 9:05:43 AM

stantheman
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Quote :
"I just don't understand why anyone would vote Democrat on the state level."


Because they are the only ones who care about the schools.

9/24/2008 9:09:19 AM

MattJM321
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^^keep those blindfolds on jackass, and it's more like you hear rumors and then they published in the paper.

[Edited on September 24, 2008 at 9:31 AM. Reason : .]

9/24/2008 9:30:52 AM

nutsmackr
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I'm not blindfolded by anything. We will sweep to a Democratic victory in November (possibly not the Gov race since i'm voting for Richard moore).

9/24/2008 9:40:04 AM

EarthDogg
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"Lord have mercy. I'm trying to win the governor's race. That McCory fella is kicking my little kiester. I can't worry about who is corrupt on my staff."

9/24/2008 11:47:37 AM

stantheman
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I'm voting with Andy Griffith.

9/24/2008 11:49:45 AM

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