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MattJM321
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and it keeps going....

Sewell quits DOT board
His property got road work's benefit

http://www.newsobserver.com/politics/story/1232857.html

Quote :
"Benjamin Niolet and Dan Kane, Staff Writers
Comment on this story

RALEIGH - A state transportation board member who steered $375,000 worth of work to roads near his property resigned Thursday, the day he was supposed to host a fundraiser for the Democratic nominee for governor.
Since a story Sunday in The News & Observer highlighted the actions of Louis W. Sewell Jr., he has gone from a relatively obscure political fundraiser and board member to the subject of an ethics investigation and a flash point in the governor's race.

Sewell, 73, is a fundraiser for Gov. Mike Easley and gubernatorial candidate Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue, both Democrats. Her opponent, Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory, a Republican, has attacked Perdue for her ties to Sewell.

The News & Observer reported that Sewell or his son, Billy, owned four commercial parcels at the busy intersection of U.S. 17 and Western Boulevard in Jacksonville in 2004 when Sewell began steering more than $325,000 in improvements nearby. Sewell and business partners own a 250-acre parcel on Ramsey Road in Jacksonville. Sewell requested $50,000 to repair pavement on the road, including a stretch along Sewell's property.

Sewell and transportation department officials said the work was needed to improve safety and deal with traffic problems.

"Unfortunately, I did not follow proper protocol by fully recusing myself from decisions which could be viewed as having an appearance of a conflict of interest," Sewell wrote in his resignation letter to Easley. "I did not have any intentions to place myself or my family to personally benefit from these road improvements. These were important transportation improvement and safety projects for the citizens of Onslow County."

Sewell and his lawyer could not be reached Thursday.

In a statement, Easley said he agreed with Sewell's decision. "He should have recused himself at the board level with these projects as he did at the local level," Easley said. "Otherwise he has been an active board member and provided good service to the state."

A news release from the transportation department announcing Sewell's resignation says that the projects were instigated by staff members and that none of the improvements at U.S. 17 and Western Boulevard were adjacent to property connected to Sewell.

Property records show that Sewell or his son owned four parcels within 300 feet of the center of the intersection as Sewell was steering projects. And state transportation records show that Sewell signed documents requesting road work and that he voted for money for the projects. He also asked a state senator to secure $125,000 for the intersection improvements.

Last week, when a reporter explained the extent of Sewell's real estate interests, Transportation Secretary Lyndo Tippett referred Sewell to the State Ethics Commission for investigation.

In 2001 Easley appointed Sewell to an at-large seat meant to look out for rural areas. Department records show Sewell sought money largely for the Jacksonville area.

Political fallout

Sewell's resignation rippled across the governor's campaign.

Earlier this week, Perdue said she was not sure whether she would attend a fundraiser Sewell planned for her in his Jacksonville home Thursday. Sewell later canceled the event.

In April, Perdue praised Sewell for his work on the board. She was speaking in Jacksonville, and he was in the audience. "I'm always honored to be in a room where Louis Sewell is," she said. "I thank you for your service to the state of North Carolina."

On Thursday, a Perdue spokesman talked about Perdue's plans to rethink the role of board members.

"We clearly need to change the way we do transportation in North Carolina," said Tim Crowley, a Perdue spokesman. He said that, as governor, Perdue will "remove board members from the process of individual project approval. As in other states, the board should be involved in overall policy and planning and let the professionals make decisions on individual projects."
Sewell is the second Perdue fundraiser to resign from the board this year. In January, Thomas A. Betts of Rocky Mount quit after he sought to raise $20,000 in campaign money from singer Randy Parton and others behind a struggling theater in Roanoke Rapids.

Betts directed $2.5 million in road work to the theater during the previous year. Perdue said she wasn't aware of Betts' solicitation.

A spokeswoman for McCrory said Perdue should give back contributions from the men.

"Just last week, Lt. Gov. Perdue said she wanted to be known for bringing transparency to state government," Amy Auth said in a statement. "She can start right now by returning the money raised by Louis Sewell and Tom Betts."

Restaurant magnate

Sewell is best known for helping to build Golden Corral into one of the nation's biggest buffet restaurant chains. He's also a big fundraiser. A campaign document from Easley's first run for governor shows that Sewell and two others led an effort to raise $125,000.

On the board, Sewell asked sharp questions about spending, said D.M. "Mac" Campbell Jr. of Elizabethtown, a fellow member. "The board has lost a good member who was very committed," he said.

Bob Hall, executive director for Democracy North Carolina, a campaign finance watchdog group, said Sewell's resignation does not address the "chronic" problem with the board.

"There's too much power in the hands of these appointed lords over various fiefdoms, and that's ... why major donors want to be rewarded with an appointment," Hall said.

"


9/26/2008 10:18:51 AM

Str8BacardiL
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Supposedly those intersections ACTUALLY NEEDED the improvements. If you actually read the articles a lot of that work was requested by people in the lower levels of the DOT due to them being outdated, inadequate, and deteriorating. It is not like he just got on the DOT board and said "HAY GUISE LETS IMPROVE MAH ROADS!!!!!1"

9/26/2008 10:49:48 AM

MattJM321
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I dunno, sounds pretty cut and dry:

Quote :
" And state transportation records show that Sewell signed documents requesting road work and that he voted for money for the projects. He also asked a state senator to secure $125,000 for the intersection improvements."


The article in the actual printed paper was a little different.




And more stuff from the N&O, spoken by McCrory of course:

Quote :
"McCrory also said Wednesday that he is unsure whether the State Ethics Commission, the bipartisan panel that investigates and rules on ethics violations, can do its job objectively when it comes to Perdue.

McCrory cited an incident in which a lawyer in Perdue's office was allowed to review Perdue's ethics filings in private. That has been at the center of a turf battle between the ethics commission and State Auditor Les Merritt, a Republican running for re-election.

McCrory also said three commission members have donated money to Perdue's campaign.

"This is perhaps the best example of an insiders' culture, a culture of the power elite running state government," McCrory said. "Can we trust the Ethics Commission when they have already acted improperly on behalf of Lt. Gov. Bev Perdue?"

Bob Farmer, the chairman of the State Ethics Commission, dismissed McCrory's criticisms.

"McCrory's probably taking all the information that's furnished to him by the state auditor," said Bob Farmer, chairman of the commission. "Everything the state auditor has said, as far as I'm concerned, is totally bogus.""


http://www.newsobserver.com/politics/story/1231475.html

[Edited on September 26, 2008 at 12:48 PM. Reason : .]

9/26/2008 12:44:56 PM

MattJM321
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Sorry to keep posting:

Quote :
"Farmer blasts Merritt on ethics
Submitted by ryanteaguebeckwith on September 26, 2008 - 10:57am.
Tags: Beverly Perdue | ethics | Les Merritt | N.C. Ethics Commission | Robert Farmer | Under the Dome


State Ethics Commission Chairman Robert Farmer blasted State Auditor Les Merritt Friday, accusing him of leveling "bogus and spurious allegations" in an investigation that is a "total sham."

Farmer, speaking at the start of a commission meeting, lambasted Merritt's inquiry into the ethics commission's dismissal of an employee over an incident involving the lawyer for Lieutenant Gov. Beverly Perdue reviewing Perdue's file, Mark Johnson reports.

Farmer charged that Merritt released a recent report on his investigation without waiting for a pending court ruling on a lawsuit filed by the commission over that same probe, with Merritt saying he is exempt from such interference.

"In other words, he is above the law," Farmer said.

He also accused Merritt of violating government accounting standards, his own duties, his own confidentiality rules and the ethics act.

"Now he thumbs his nose at a court of law," said Farmer, a former judge, "by proceeding to file a report of an investigation that is the very subject of a lawsuit."

The commission later entered closed session to discuss the lawsuit with their lawyer.
"


According to reporter via email:

Matt,

All the council members are Democrats except for Republican Philip Isley.

David Bracken
Reporter
Raleigh News & Observer
Office: (919) 829-4548
Cell: (919) 812-8579

9/26/2008 3:54:55 PM

MattJM321
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Not crooked, but stupid:

http://www.newsobserver.com/politics/story/1248406.html



Quote :
"State's jet purchase is dropped

Mark Johnson, Staff Writer
Comment on this story

State officials are scrambling to recover a $250,000 down payment after canceling an order for a new $9 million jet.
Gov. Mike Easley on Wednesday ordered the N.C. Department of Commerce to scrub the deal after reporters asked about the Cessna Citation jet, called the Encore+. The reversal came during a week in which Easley told agencies to prepare for a 3 percent budget cut.

"A plane is not necessary," said Easley spokeswoman Sherry Johnson. "It's not going to be purchased in this economy."

The Commerce Department's mission includes trying to lure companies to build plants and create jobs in North Carolina. They use both an airplane and a helicopter to take company representatives around to prospective locations. The department was trading up from its current King Air propeller plane to the jet.

Money for the eight-passenger plane was included in last year's state budget, but the contract wasn't made until summer.

Republicans criticized the planned purchase -- and the potential loss of $250,000 -- as expected mismanagement from a Democratic administration.

"If it was wrong when the media found about it, it was wrong before the media found out about it," said Jack Hawke, senior adviser to Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory, the GOP candidate for governor. "It's part of the culture of secrecy that covers up these things and wastes taxpayer dollars."

Secretary of Commerce Jim Fain dispatched a memo to the Department of Administration, which handles all purchases and contracts, late Wednesday asking them to deep-six the deal. He also asked that the deposit be refunded.

Efforts to reach Cessna to see whether it would give back the state's money were unsuccessful.

"

10/9/2008 10:04:43 AM

MattJM321
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Still can't believe Bev won.

11/5/2008 2:17:22 PM

Stonerman
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I'm sure Bev will have it as "motorfleet" and have state tags on it by the end of next year.

[Edited on November 5, 2008 at 3:32 PM. Reason : .]

11/5/2008 3:32:07 PM

MattJM321
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Road chief's hometown gets millions
Other N.C. cities protest the $270 million going to Fayetteville for its highway loop. A $270 million allocation to complete the Fayetteville Loop is protested by other N.C. cities

Quote :
"Mark Johnson, Staff Writer
Comment on this story

RALEIGH - The N.C. Board of Transportation is pumping $270 million in road money into Fayetteville, the hometown of Transportation Secretary Lyndo Tippett and of a key legislative ally, weeks before Tippett leaves office.
At meetings in October and November, the board approved the money for work on a highway loop around Fayetteville, as road money has been drying up and cash for loops around the state's other cities has been delayed.

The funding comes in the waning weeks of the terms of Gov. Mike Easley, a Democrat, and Tippett, his appointee. Tippett is also a close friend of Senate Majority Leader Tony Rand, a Fayetteville Democrat who pushed for the loop money.

The move has officials in other cities up in arms.

"I don't know what their personal roles are," Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker said, "but I know what the end result is."

Meeker, also a Democrat, said highway money has flowed to Fayetteville in recent years as most large cities in the state have received little.

Rep. Becky Carney, a Charlotte Democrat and a co-chairwoman of a legislative committee that oversees transportation, said approval of the Fayetteville project leapfrogs the state's larger cities and drains a large portion of the money available for the entire state.

"That would be a travesty," Carney said, "if the bulk of our loop money went for one project."

Tippett shrugged off the criticism, saying whoever doesn't get money is bound to complain. The Fayetteville project has been in the works for years, he said, and it's more important now that the Army's Fort Bragg is expanding.

"Those people who are going to the front lines are entitled to a safe commute," Tippett said, "as much as those going to their banking and industrial jobs."

Nina Szlosberg, a member of the transportation board from Raleigh, said Gov.-elect Beverly Perdue and her administration will have a depleted bank account for transportation projects when they take office in January.

"It's important for the new administration to have the opportunity to determine where best to put our transportation dollars," she said.

Perdue campaigned on a pledge to change the board of transportation into a policy-making group instead of one that approves specific road projects.

"Governor-elect Perdue's goal is to prevent these types of disputes," said Perdue spokesman David Kochman, "by transforming the Department of Transportation, including prohibiting DOT board members from voting on specific projects."

Local officials across the state point out that the general pot of road money follows a set -- though much-criticized -- formula designed to make sure every region gets a fair share. But no such equation determines where loop money is spent. Those decisions are made by transportation officials in Raleigh.

Allocation rules needed

Nancy Dunn, a transportation board member from Winston-Salem, said clear decision-making steps should be established. "There should be some known process on how the money is allocated on loops," she said.

Construction was supposed to start this year on a 12-mile section of Raleigh's Outer Loop, I-540, in western Wake County. In 2005, the transportation department postponed construction by at least four years and said it might take until 2030 to finish the entire loop.

Last year, Charlotte's unfinished I-485 loop was pushed back by two years and now isn't expected to be completed for a decade.

But Fayetteville's loop was kept on schedule. The first leg opened three years ago and is handling about 9,000 cars a day. The southern leg of Charlotte's loop handles 120,000 cars a day.

When the state created a separate pot of money for urban loop projects in 1989, most of the money initially went to Charlotte.

The state has spent nearly $1 billion on Charlotte's Outer Loop, I-485, since 1990. Mecklenburg County's share of the state loop money has diminished in recent years as Raleigh, Greensboro and other cities have built or expanded loops.

"You've got the same amount of money with far more competition for the funding," Tippett said. "Nine communities would like their loops finished now."

Fayetteville was not included in the original list of cities for loops, but was added in 2003. Officials from other cities and some board members complain that it has now jumped to the head of the line.

Rand, the Senate majority leader, said Fayetteville was at the end of the line and the money has finally reached there.

"It's our turn now," Rand said.

Tippett argued that the military base closing and realignment process in 2005 shifted a major new command to Fort Bragg and the likelihood of additional jobs. Base commanders asked for various road improvements.

At the same time, the state was paying hundreds of millions of dollars in incentives to companies such as Dell and Google to move to the state and create new jobs.

"Spending $200 or $300 million in Fort Bragg infrastructure improvements seemed to be a deal at the time," Tippett said.


mjohnson@charlotteobserver.com or 919-829-4774
"


http://www.newsobserver.com/politics/story/1303773.html

11/21/2008 8:43:07 AM

nutsmackr
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Hey dick bag, why don't you make a Crooked North Carolina Republicans thread so you don't look like such a hack.

11/21/2008 10:46:36 AM

MattJM321
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Go ahead and make one, legit articles please.

11/21/2008 11:09:02 AM

MattJM321
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If anyone is pissed off about our high gas tax...

http://www.newsobserver.com/news/growth/traffic/story/1174007.html

"Where do gas taxes really go?"

Quote :
"Bruce Siceloff, Staff Writer
Comment on this story

If North Carolina truly is running low on money for roads, buses and bridges, Marjorie Minor says, don't blame drivers who buy less gas.
Blame state political leaders who take gas tax money from the Highway Trust Fund -- and then spend it on other stuff.

"For the last couple of years, they've taken hundreds of millions of dollars," said Minor, 60, a Raleigh legal secretary. "This is money they charged us for gas taxes. It's supposed to be for roads. They keep taking it away."

Several readers were skeptical when The News & Observer reported last week that the state Department of Transportation is suffering as drivers cut spending on two big sources of DOT taxes: gas and car sales.

"You never mentioned the way the governor has 'robbed' the funds collected from gas tax and licensing fees to help balance the general budget," Bob Eby, 70, of Fearrington Village said by e-mail.

Eby and other readers asked for an accounting of the money that moves every year from the Highway Trust Fund to a general operating fund, where it helps pay for schools, hospitals and nearly everything other than roads.

Is this a lawful, bipartisan transfer, as mostly Democratic defenders say? Or -- as mostly Republican critics like to spin it -- is it a pork-barrel raiding party?

Have we misspent enough loot to rebuild 3,000 bridges and upgrade every inch of Interstate 95? Or is this just enough cash to fuel a steady, smudge-pot cynicism about government waste?

The issue has bounced around for years on blogs and talk radio, and in campaign debates. The Road Worrier dug out the numbers with the help of the legislature's fiscal research staff.

Marjorie Minor is mostly right.

Before 1989, North Carolina collected a sales tax on cars that generated money for the General Fund -- not for roads. In 1989, Republican Gov. Jim Martin and the Democrat-controlled legislature replaced the car sales tax with a highway use tax on cars. This money went to a new Highway Trust Fund, to help build bridges and highways.

To make up for the money lost to the General Fund, legislators would have to raise taxes or cut spending. Instead, they agreed that $170 million would move each year from the Highway Trust Fund to the General Fund. (Today the highway use tax generates a lot more for the Highway Trust Fund -- $565 million last year.)

What critics call raiding started in 2001 and continued through 2005. Democratic Gov. Mike Easley and the legislature upped the transfer by $80 million, to $250 million a year. This added up to an extra $400 million removed from the Highway Trust Fund over five years.

They grabbed another $125 million in 2002. But they called this a loan, and they reimbursed the Highway Trust Fund in 2006.

These days, pundits and press accounts frequently say that the extra money taken from the Highway Trust Fund was repaid.

But most of it never was. The only money paid back was the $125 million "loan."

The other $400 million, moved to the General Fund between 2001 and 2005, never came back to the Highway Trust Fund.

In all, $3.1 billion has been moved to the General Fund in the yearly $170 million transfers authorized by the 1989 Highway Trust Fund Act. It's hard to call that a raid, but some people do.

On top of that, if you want to call the extra $400 million highway robbery, be my guest. This money was spent for other stuff our legislature decided we needed. We won't see it again.

This year, the legislature finally began phasing out the yearly transfer. The shift to the General Fund will fall from $145 million this year to $71 million in 2010.

Where will that money go? Starting this year at $25 million a year, it will help the N.C. Turnpike Authority build toll roads -- including the Triangle Expressway, set to start construction in December.

Four hundred million dollars is a lot of money. But state planners figure North Carolina will fall at least $65 billion short of the money it needs for transportation over the next 25 years.

Brad Wilson of Raleigh, an insurance executive, is chairman of a statewide committee that will meet next week to talk about ideas for closing that $65 billion gap.

"I think if they never had that $170 million transfer, and we'd had that $170 million over time for transportation, we'd still be having this conversation today," Wilson said.

"

11/24/2008 5:54:27 PM

MattJM321
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Does anybody know David Cook's party affiliation?


http://www.wakegov.com/about/leadership/manager.htm

Wake sends 12 employees to Hollywood for $30K
The county sent 12 for a software conference tied to a budget and HR system


Quote :
"RALEIGH - As the global economic crisis strained Wake County's finances last month, a dozen local government officials flew to Hollywood for a computer software conference at a luxury hotel. The five-day trip cost taxpayers $29,825.
County Manager David Cooke said he approved the travel expenditures.

The group, which included Deputy County Manager Johnna Rogers, was in California the same day Cooke told Wake commissioners he was instituting a hiring freeze and curtailing travel because of a projected $17 million budget shortfall.

Cooke said he green-lighted the trip because the knowledge the staffers gained is essential to effectively operating and maintaining a new $10 million computer software system called eWake, which is to be used by the county for finance, budget, payroll and human resources functions.

"The eWake project is critical to the organization," he said. "We've got a big team working on it."

Cooke added that those who went to Hollywood were sensitive that they were traveling during hard economic times -- especially in light of the scandal that erupted over the summer when two managers in the county's solid waste department were fired after employees used government credit cards to take about 50 trips, including a whale-watching cruise off the coast of Maine and hiking excursions in several state and national parks.

"Everybody has a very heightened sense of, 'My god, we're going to read about this in the newspaper," Cooke said. "But people needed to be at that conference. We made the judgment the right people are there to benefit from that training for the implementation of the eWake project. It's important to get it right."

The Wake contingent stayed four nights at the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel & Spa. Its Web site describes it as the "premier luxury property in the movie-making capital of the world." Amenities include a roof-top pool and an eclectic collection of modern art.

As part of the conference, the government employees received discounted single rooms for $227 a night -- cheaper than similar accommodations in the newly opened Raleigh Marriott City Center.

Round-trip airfare ran about $500 per person, and registration fees for the conference were $1,095. The employees were given $65 a day for meals.

The same software users conference was held in 2007 in the Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at the Universal Orlando Resort in Florida. The county sent 15 employees that year, including some of the same people who went to Hollywood in October. The total cost was $22,731.

Several Wake commissioners said Monday that they didn't have a problem with the purpose of the travel or the number of people who went, though some expressed frustration such conferences always seem to be held in resort hotels in warm, sunny places.

"Why is the training always in Hollywood or somewhere like that?" Commissioner Tony Gurley said. "I'd like to see what it would have cost to get the computer company to send a trainer here to teach our people, rather than sending them across the country." "


Not exactly crooked, but wasteful spending.


[Edited on November 26, 2008 at 11:16 AM. Reason : .]

11/26/2008 11:15:14 AM

joepeshi
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I would like to be a part of Raleigh's "Go-along, Get-along club".

11/26/2008 2:42:31 PM

MattJM321
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Roy Cooper and Richard Moore are both democrats, btw.

"Turf battle ends state's chance to lead lawsuit"

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

A turf battle between state Treasurer Richard Moore and state Attorney General Roy Cooper has cost North Carolina the chance to lead a class action lawsuit against mortgage backer Freddie Mac.
At issue is which state agency should handle lawsuits seeking to protect the state's pension funds.

On Monday, a federal judge in New York found that North Carolina had the most money at stake in the Freddie Mac suit -- $18 million -- but he denied Moore's request that North Carolina be the lead plaintiff because of Cooper's objections.

“Given the uncertainty surrounding the Treasurer's legal authority to act on the (N.C. retirement system's) behalf, the Court cannot accept his certification that (the retirement system) is willing and able to serve as lead plaintiff,” U.S. District Court Judge John Keenan wrote.

The lead plaintiff takes control in a class action suit. Moore said in a statement he was disappointed at losing that position.

“It is unfortunate that this decision means North Carolina cannot use every tool and resource available to get the largest recovery possible for our 820,000 pensioners,” Moore said. “Protecting members of the retirement systems and their investments is at the heart of the Department's mission.”

Keenan's ruling could affect a second class action suit filed in September against the officers of the other government supported mortgage company, Fannie Mae. Moore petitioned the court to be the lead plaintiff in that case earlier this month, because the state has lost more than $70 million in investments with Fannie Mae.

Both suits accuse the companies' top officials of misrepresentation to investors.

Like the earlier suit against Freddie Mac, Moore has hired an out-of-state law firm and a local firm to represent the pension funds, which serve 820,000 current and retired state and local government employees, including teachers and firefighters. And also like the earlier suit, Cooper's office has filed a letter with the court saying Moore lacked the authority to take action without the approval of Cooper and Gov. Mike Easley.

Cooper's spokeswoman, Noelle Talley, said that Cooper's office has been trying to get Moore to develop a competitive bidding process for the hiring of outside counsel.

Documentation provided by Moore's office also suggests that he made such a proposal in March, but did not hear back from Cooper's office.

Meanwhile, Moore's staff says he needed to quickly sign on to the class action suits or the state could lose out on damages.

Cooper's office would also likely hire out-of-state lawyers if the state became the lead plaintiff. Talley said the office has a competitive bidding process for the selection of outside counsel.

Top firms in securities litigation have given to Cooper's campaigns.

This year alone, they chipped in roughly $45,000, according to his campaign reports.

The local firm Moore hired for both lawsuits includes former Lt. Gov. Dennis Wicker as one of its partners. Wicker and his family were big campaign contributors to Moore's campaigns.


Wicker said he thinks his firm, SZD Wicker, got the business because it specializes in securities litigation. Keith Anthony, the firm attorney who is handling both cases, said the state needs local representation to make sure its position is protected and to comply with requests for records and other information.

But Anthony said there may not be much of a need for a local law firm if North Carolina's retirement system is not designated as the lead plaintiff. "


They were so busy trying to give the case to their buddys' firms they lost the chance to be the lead plantiff.

[Edited on November 28, 2008 at 10:55 AM. Reason : delete giant pictures]

11/28/2008 10:38:38 AM

MattJM321
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The question: Where's Libba Evans?
N.C. secretary of cultural eesources still on unpaid leave from job




Quote :
"By Mark Johnson, Staff Writer
Comment on this story

North Carolina's secretary of cultural resources, Libba Evans, joined the exuberant crowd at a Barack Obama rally in Greensboro last month.
Normally, there's nothing surprising about a top Democratic state official attending a rally for her party's nominee for president.

But Evans has been on unpaid leave from her job as head of the state Department of Cultural Resources since May to attend to personal business. In other words, she's supposed to be so busy with personal matters that she can't fulfill her state job.

The prolonged vacancy has raised questions in some Republican circles about why Evans hasn't resigned and about the necessity of her job.

"Since we're facing tremendous budget problems and we have a secretary of cultural resources who hasn't been to work in six months and apparently wasn't missed, perhaps we could do away with that position," said Sen. Tom Apodaca, a Hendersonville Republican and deputy Republican Senate leader.

Evans, a former state Democratic Party chairwoman, did not return messages left on three phone lines listed in her name in North Carolina and Florida, as well as a request for an interview made through Staci Meyer, general counsel at the Department of Cultural Resources and acting secretary in Evans' absence.

"She's taking care of some personal business," Meyer said.

Meyer would not disclose the nature of the business, but said it was not a family medical matter.

"It was uncertain as to how long she would be dealing with this," Meyer said. "I don't think initially she thought it would be taking this long."

Evans' statement of economic interests filed with the state ethics commission lists her as an owner, officer or member of four corporations. The form also showed at least $10,000 in liabilities each for a corporation, loans on vacation and investment properties and lines of credit.

Evans took her leave on May 1 and is not being paid, but she did join first lady Mary Easley and a contingent of North Carolina officials later that month on a trip to Russia and Estonia. The cultural exchange trip cost taxpayers more than $56,000. Evans was already committed to the trip, and her visa and airline tickets were already paid for, Meyer said.

Last month, Evans reimbursed the state for $465 for alcoholic drinks for the North Carolina group after State Auditor Les Merritt's office reported the expenditure. Meyer said the department's staff normally separates out such expenses and asks Evans to reimburse the state, but it missed some of the spending because of a translation error.

Evans is nearly seven months away from the job, though Meyer said Evans has volunteered some of her time to the department.

Gov. Mike Easley, who appointed Evans, isn't going to make her relinquish her title.

"Secretary Evans has worked hard on the part of the department for seven and a half years," said Easley spokesman Seth Effron, "and the governor is not going to force her to resign in the last few months of the administration while she tends to important personal matters."

Effron said Evans' attendance at the Obama rally did not cast doubt on whether she was unable to perform her job. He said she would have attended on personal time regardless of whether she was serving as secretary or on unpaid leave.

"It's not like no one's in the job," said Meyer. "I don't want you to think we've been unattended to."

"


http://www.newsobserver.com/politics/story/1314702.html

12/1/2008 8:41:21 AM

marko
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KEEP EM COMING

12/1/2008 8:53:20 AM

nutsmackr
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Quote :
"Mail » » dick bag
From : MattJM321
To : nutsmackr
Received : Friday November 21, 2008 at 11:17 AM
Subject : dick bag
Hey granola eating, tax and spend surrender monkey, lets keep the personal insults to pms."

12/2/2008 7:33:43 PM

MattJM321
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State drops a notch in 'integrity index'

Quote :
"In the six years since the Better Government Association first rated states on an "integrity index," North Carolina has added an ethics law for the executive branch and banned lobbyists from offering lawmakers golf trips, Super Bowl tickets and other perks.
But the changes had little effect on North Carolina's rank. The state dropped a spot from 22nd to 23rd place in the association's recent report.

The association, a Chicago-based watchdog, rates the states on three core principles -- transparency, accountability and limits on campaign contributions, gifts and other perks. States that have strong laws for freedom of information, whistle-blower protection, campaign finance, open meetings and conflict-of-interest disclosures fare best.

North Carolina may have dropped a notch because of a change in the ranking system. In the 2002 index, the association rated states for limits on gifts. This time around, the association dropped that rating, saying loopholes in state laws make it hard to evaluate the limits.

That was an area in which North Carolina made strides after the scandals that put former House Speaker Jim Black in federal prison.

In other areas, the index found that North Carolina ranked 40th in making information public, 19th in whistle-blower protection, 14th in campaign finance accountability, 29th on open meetings and 19th on conflict-of-interest disclosure.

"North Carolina has come a long way, but obviously we still have a lot of work to do," said Jane Pinsky, director of the N.C. Coalition for Lobbying and Government Reform."


http://www.newsobserver.com/politics/story/1325350.html

12/8/2008 9:31:57 AM

PinkandBlack
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So is this supposed to make me, as a left-winger, not vote Democratic in state elections? I can either vote for a corrupt party that might stand for something I believe in, or I can vote for a party that, while it might have upstanding members, stands for things I uniformly, in many cases STRONGLY, disagree with. If it meant anything to vote 3rd party I would, but even the only viable 3rd party here is damn near retarded.

Also, NC might have corrupt government officials, but at least they aren't trying to gut the university system like our neighbors to the south, something that affects many more people's opportunities in life than whatever crooked shit Basnight did this week. This state is bad, but it could be worse.

[Edited on December 8, 2008 at 10:49 PM. Reason : .]

12/8/2008 10:47:04 PM

MattJM321
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^I don't want to make you do anything. You're using sheep logic and I can't persuade you.

I'm amazed at how easy it has been to keep this thread well stocked. On another note, the beuracratic federal government is still witholding road money because even they realize our state isn't accountable. http://www.newsobserver.com/news/story/1328059.html

Quote :
"RALEIGH - Grants worth $25 million for local public transportation services across the state are still frozen because North Carolina -- alone among the 50 states -- has not yet convinced federal officials that it will manage the money properly.
State Department of Transportation officials will be asked at two public meetings today to explain what they're doing to reverse an unusual decision by the Federal Transit Administration to freeze grants it tentatively approved in September.

"Withholding funds is a tool FTA uses sparingly," the FTA said by e-mail. Tia N. Swain, an agency spokeswoman in Washington, provided the statement this week in response to questions from The News & Observer.

The FTA told state transportation departments in November 2007 to prepare detailed management plans for how they would distribute the money and account for its spending. North Carolina is the only state whose funds are frozen because it has failed to submit an acceptable plan, the FTA statement said.

State DOT officials are scheduled to discuss the FTA money today at meetings of the legislature's transportation oversight committee and the state Board of Transportation. "I think the board needs to be aware of what the situation is and what needs to be done to rectify it," said Nancy Dunn of Winston-Salem, chairwoman of the board's transit committee.

In a Nov. 4 letter to Roberto Canales, state DOT deputy secretary for transit, the FTA said North Carolina was deficient in 12 of 21 areas involving federal transit money.

Yvette G. Taylor, FTA Southeast regional administrator, told Canales to fix shortcomings in how DOT manages grant money, helps local agencies with their planning and meets state needs for charter and inter-city bus service. Taylor said DOT must do more to ensure local agencies meet guidelines for vehicle maintenance, drug and alcohol testing for drivers, services for disabled residents, and equal-opportunity purchasing and hiring.

Local agencies depend on the federal money to sustain transportation programs that help elderly, disabled, low-income and other mostly rural North Carolina residents. Some grant money approved in earlier years is still available, and local agencies apparently have not yet been hurt by the federal action.

The statement from Swain, the FTA spokeswoman, said the agency "believes this issue will be resolved shortly." "

12/10/2008 11:18:30 AM

DrSteveChaos
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^^ Remember, kids - corruption is A-OK as long as it's coming from Team Blue! I mean, at least they're not - gasp - libertarians!

12/10/2008 11:49:13 AM

PinkandBlack
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oh come on. put yourself in this situation. you have two options. one you disagree with on all the issues and another you agree with on some issues. one has some corruption problems. would you seriously vote for the people you disagree with all the time? oh, wait, sounds like your a toughguy rugged libertarian. you're always right when you'll never get a chance to be proven wrong, eh?

12/10/2008 3:16:22 PM

DrSteveChaos
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You tell me - all you do is piss and moan about how stupid libertarians are, like some internet tuffguy. It's awfully easy to be right when you stand for nothing at all.

12/10/2008 3:27:24 PM

PinkandBlack
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gosh, chill out dude. you've done this in 2 threads now. i've made fun of libertarians like, what, 3 times this year? you really don't like it, do you? is this hooksaw with a new user name? i thought you mellowed out dude.

if you want something more than just bullshit posts from me, youre gonna have to go back further and look at old posts.

[Edited on December 10, 2008 at 3:32 PM. Reason : .]

12/10/2008 3:29:45 PM

DrSteveChaos
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There would be more name-calling and spelling errors if it was a hooksaw alias.

I just think your MO is kind of stupid and annoying, that's all. You've uselessly and in unprompted fashion trolled on libertarians on two threads, and I've called you on it in two threads.

Gosh, I wonder if there's a pattern here!

12/10/2008 3:31:52 PM

PinkandBlack
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the pattern that you've responded to me angrily in two threads with regards to posts that weren't directed at you?

12/10/2008 3:33:16 PM

DrSteveChaos
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Dude, for serious. Pull up your post history. Whenever I see PinkandBlack posting in a thread, there is a very high probability of some completely unprompted diatribe about Ayn Rand, Libertarians, or so forth. Regardless of whether any of those have come up.

Have you ever just thought of, I don't know, getting a new schtick?

12/10/2008 3:34:40 PM

PinkandBlack
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you're fucking tenacious about something you've seen me post how many times now?

i'm gonna concede to you this INTERNET VICTORY because I don't have time to go dig up posts from 2005 that I made on something substantial. i have work to do.

[Edited on December 10, 2008 at 3:38 PM. Reason : .]

12/10/2008 3:36:11 PM

DrSteveChaos
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http://www.thewolfweb.com/message_search.aspx?type=posts§ion=4&searchstring=&username=PinkandBlack&usertype=match&sortby=date&sortorder=descending&page=

Seriously, your act is old.

12/10/2008 3:38:30 PM

PinkandBlack
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ARGH! YA GOT ME! I've been fucking around on the internet making shitty posts and you got me!

12/10/2008 3:40:20 PM

PinkandBlack
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Ok, I think the best response to this thread is to point out the fact that a system that does only allow for two true parties is inevitably going to give voters the choice between a party they dislike ideologically and a party that is corrupt. Sometimes it might happen that the party you hate is corrupt, which is dandy, but the fact of the matter is, as has been discussed in plenty of other threads, it's hard to get people to engage in democracy when they are always sacrificing part of their values system when they vote. This is why I like fusion voting like they have in NY, SC, and a few other states.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fusion_voting

This allows a 3rd party to better act as a pressure group on existing parties and, if they can build up enough publicity over time, possibly challenge later. A lot of fusion parties already hold offices in the states they're in.

12/10/2008 7:54:20 PM

MattJM321
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Nutsmackr and Gunzz jump in this one.

12/10/2008 9:05:15 PM

nutsmackr
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vagina

I'm still waiting for you to ever mention the name Hugh Webster

Or maybe the recent slew of corrupt republican sheriffs who are now in prison. Or is that above your hackery?

[Edited on December 11, 2008 at 3:51 PM. Reason : .]

12/11/2008 3:51:04 PM

MattJM321
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Hey limp wristed pinko, PLEASE post any info you have on that

12/11/2008 6:49:14 PM

nutsmackr
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I don't really care, since corruption knows no party. It knows only power.

But you can continue to be a turd burglar.

12/12/2008 1:55:53 PM

MattJM321
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Sounds like somebody is conceding?

12/12/2008 4:52:46 PM

nutsmackr
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So, you are conceding the point that corruption doesn't belong to one political party?

12/12/2008 6:35:07 PM

MattJM321
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bump

"A clean game on the brink"

Quote :
" Rob Christensen, Staff Writer Comment on this story
The startling tale of political depravity out of Illinois last week raises the question of which state is the nation's most corrupt.

The arrest of Gov. Rod Blagojevich for allegedly trying to sell the open U.S. Senate seat of President-elect Barack Obama would seem to give the corruption edge to Illinois.

But New Jersey and Louisiana are competitive. Former U.S. Rep. Billy Tauzin once quipped that "half of Louisiana is underwater, and the other half is under indictment."

North Carolina has long had a reputation for relatively clean government -- until recently, that is.

Former House Speaker Jim Black is in federal prison for taking cash payments from chiropractors. Former U.S. Rep. Frank Ballance is in federal prison for funneling public money to his law firm, church and relatives. Former state Rep. Thomas Wright is in state prison for converting $150,000 in campaign contributions to money for his personal use. Former state Rep. Michael Decker is in federal prison for selling his vote. Also in the lockup is former state lottery commissioner Kevin Geddings, who did not report receiving thousands of dollars he got from a lottery company.

And former state Agriculture Commissioner Meg Scott Phipps was released from federal prison last year after serving time for campaign finance irregularities.

(All of them are Democrats, except for Decker.)

Is North Carolina becoming more corrupt? Probably. The infusion of big money into state politics and the state's close Democratic-Republican competition has caused a lot of political money to be floating around -- always a temptation for weak politicians.

Compared with other states, North Carolina historically has had clean government. Of the last 10 Illinois governors, five were charged with criminal conduct. No North Carolina governor has gone to jail in modern times.

But the concept of clean government is relative.

Despite North Carolina's reputation, many past practices would not pass today's smell test. Vote-stealing was once a way of life, particularly in the mountain counties. The 1920 governor's race was almost certainly stolen. Others probably were as well.

The old-fashioned machines relied on political patronage. People were required to work for or contribute to candidates to get state jobs. And once they got state jobs, they were often required to kick back part of their salaries in the form of political contributions.

Under-the-table political money -- sometimes carried in brown paper bags -- was a way of life.

The election machinery was rigged so that most black people couldn't vote.

North Carolina even had a vacancy of a U.S. Senate seat that would raise eyebrows today.

In 1930, U.S. Sen. Lee Overman died in office.

Gov. O. Max Gardner appointed former Gov. Cameron Morrison to fill the seat. The same month, Morrison, a Charlotte millionaire, used his money to help Gardner stay afloat financially.

Morrison invested money to prop up Shelby's First National Bank. Like many banks during the Great Depression, it was on the brink of failure.

Gardner was a director of the bank, and his textile mill, Cleveland Cloth, was heavily invested in the bank. If the bank went belly up, Gardner could have lost his mill and his savings.

Today, such a deal would have attracted federal prosecutors. But Gardner (1929-1933) is remembered today as one of our cleanest governors. "


http://www.newsobserver.com/politics/story/1333344.html

12/15/2008 11:26:11 AM

nutsmackr
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Wow, another Rob Christensen collumn where he tries to take some current event and tie it in withs something out of North Carolina's history.

12/15/2008 12:17:32 PM

MattJM321
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12/15/2008 12:31:27 PM

nutsmackr
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What does any of this have to do with today? Oh that's right. It's pointless. Just another Rob Christensen collumn where he tries to give some historical lesson and tie it in with current events.

Quote :
"Despite North Carolina's reputation, many past practices would not pass today's smell test. Vote-stealing was once a way of life, particularly in the mountain counties. The 1920 governor's race was almost certainly stolen. Others probably were as well.

The old-fashioned machines relied on political patronage. People were required to work for or contribute to candidates to get state jobs. And once they got state jobs, they were often required to kick back part of their salaries in the form of political contributions.

Under-the-table political money -- sometimes carried in brown paper bags -- was a way of life.

The election machinery was rigged so that most black people couldn't vote.

North Carolina even had a vacancy of a U.S. Senate seat that would raise eyebrows today.

In 1930, U.S. Sen. Lee Overman died in office.

Gov. O. Max Gardner appointed former Gov. Cameron Morrison to fill the seat. The same month, Morrison, a Charlotte millionaire, used his money to help Gardner stay afloat financially.

Morrison invested money to prop up Shelby's First National Bank. Like many banks during the Great Depression, it was on the brink of failure.

Gardner was a director of the bank, and his textile mill, Cleveland Cloth, was heavily invested in the bank. If the bank went belly up, Gardner could have lost his mill and his savings.

Today, such a deal would have attracted federal prosecutors. But Gardner (1929-1933) is remembered today as one of our cleanest governors. ""

12/15/2008 12:33:21 PM

MattJM321
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Not sure if you can count on Wikipedia....http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oliver_Max_Gardner

But it's relevant because...






























They're all DEMOCRATS.

12/15/2008 12:36:39 PM

nutsmackr
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So, the actions of 75 years ago are indictments on the Democrats of today? that is a massive leap in guilt by association.

While we're at it, why don't we bring up the Democrats from the 1800's, one of whom was kicked out of office and sent to jail.

[Edited on December 15, 2008 at 12:38 PM. Reason : .]

12/15/2008 12:37:24 PM

MattJM321
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I don't know anything about that. All I do is read the paper at my desk in the morning and say "Wow, another article about crooked Democrats." I'll post that in the thread I started. If you want to do the research about something like that, feel free. I've also repeatedly asked you to start your own Republican thread.

Where is the real world talk tough guy?

12/15/2008 12:41:14 PM

nutsmackr
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I guess reading the newspaper hasn't taught about historical relevancy to discussions.

12/15/2008 12:50:41 PM

MattJM321
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So there is no relevancy?

[Edited on December 15, 2008 at 1:33 PM. Reason : vague wording]

12/15/2008 1:08:47 PM

nutsmackr
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good god you are a tard.

12/15/2008 1:13:13 PM

MattJM321
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Oh, I see. The historical actions and mindset of Democrats in our state aren't at all relevant nowadays, right?

12/15/2008 1:26:52 PM

nutsmackr
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A person who was governor 75 years ago has nothing at all to do with the actions of today.

If that sort of indictment were to really matter then every political party would be fucked based solely on the corrupt actions of the past, namely vote buying and liquoring people up on election day.

12/15/2008 1:32:48 PM

MattJM321
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Just like how Chicago's corrupt history has nothing to do with Blagojevich?

12/15/2008 1:38:24 PM

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