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 Federal investigation of Easley expands

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March Mellow

Join date : 2009-04-26
Posts : 209
Location : Char-Meck

Federal investigation of Easley expands Empty
PostSubject: Federal investigation of Easley expands   Federal investigation of Easley expands EmptyThu Jun 18, 2009 2:57 pm

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tool goes here Jury's probe of Easley turns to marina deal
A renovation on Easley's Southport home is also part of the investigation of N.C.'s former governor.
By J. Andrew Curliss
Posted: Thursday, Jun. 18, 2009

FILE - In this Wednesday Dec. 12, 2007 file photo, Gov. Mike Easley is interviewed by the media at the Governor's Mansion in Raleigh, N.C. Federal investigators on Tuesday, May 19, 2009 subpoenaed several years of Mary Easley's employment records, adding to scrutiny of the former first lady's university job and potential perks given to her husband while he was in office. (AP Photo/Karen Tam, file)

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Records show that Easley aides worked to shift control of the Southport Marina to new owners. FILE PHOTO

More Information
Oblinger testifies before grand jury

This Old State: Easley is the state's 'most unpopular'

RALEIGH A wide-ranging federal investigation of former Gov. Mike Easley is now venturing into renovations of his Southport house and a marina lease that resulted in an ethics complaint against him.

Several people tied to the marina deal appeared Wednesday at the federal courthouse in Raleigh, where a grand jury was meeting in secret.

Among them was Carl Stewart Jr., a former state House speaker and current chairman of the state Ports Authority, which oversees the marina. Stewart said in an interview late Wednesday that he spent about 30 minutes with the grand jury, answering questions mostly about the marina deal, which was finalized in late 2005 and early 2006.

The lease deal gave long-term control of the state-owned Southport marina to a group backed by Jim Goodnight and John Sall, founders of the Cary-based SAS software company. And it led to major improvements of the dilapidated marina structures. Critics had said the deal was too favorable to campaign supporters of the governor.

“The questions seemed to be appropriate about the decisions that were made,” said Stewart, who was appointed by Easley.

Records show that Easley aides worked to shift control of the marina to new owners as Easley's second term began. Stewart said he does not believe anything illegal took place. He said scores of documents about the deal will be turned over as soon as today.

Residents of Southport had fought Easley on the marina deal, saying at the time that the governor was steering the 430-slip marina to his friends. Records showed that the management group included Wilmington developer Nick Garrett and Cary developers Bubba Rawl and Tim Smith, who, along with Goodnight and Sall, had donated to Easley's campaigns. Easley denied any improper action, and the ethics complaint was dismissed.

Ports officials had said the marina was in bad shape and needed many repairs. They said a long-term lease with those people would lead to improvements.

Renovator had link to deal

Garrett was also at the courthouse in Raleigh on Wednesday. He performed a renovation on Easley's Southport home beginning in June 2001, about six months after Easley took office. It was completed that December. A check later provided by the Governor's Office showed that Easley wrote a check to Nick Garrett Construction Inc. in the amount of $200,000 on March 5, 2002, several months after the work.

Officials have said Garrett dropped out of the marina deal just before it was approved.

Rawl said in an interview that the company now operating the marina has also been contacted by federal agents.

Easley, who could not be reached, has previously said he welcomes any investigation of his many years in public service. Easley, a Democrat, was governor from 2001 until January.

Wide-ranging investigation

Investigators will not comment on what they are probing, but they have issued subpoenas to several state agencies and others seeking information about issues related to Easley that include his family's use of cars, a job created for his wife at N.C. State University, and a coastal land deal in which the governor and Mary Easley acquired a waterfront lot.

Until now, though, it was not clear that authorities were also interested in the marina deal, which generated lots of chatter in Easley's hometown when it appeared that the state Ports Authority was about to sell the state-owned marina to private developers in 2005.

Records released in recent months to The (Raleigh) News & Observer include documentation of a “private luncheon” that Easley had with Garrett in June 2004 at his Wilmington office. Garrett, who also had been awarded a motor vehicle tag office and was appointed to two state boards by Easley, could not be reached.

E-mails provided to the grand jury by N.C. State also include a mention of Easley seeking help from the university's chancellor for Rawl's son, Jordy, in early 2005. Rawl said in an interview that the governor had written a recommendation letter to help his son get into a program at NCSU that provides academic support for freshmen. His son is now a senior at NCSU, Rawl said.

A friend of the governor and university trustee, McQueen Campbell, thanked Chancellor James Oblinger in April 2005 for helping Jordy Rawl. Campbell wrote to the chancellor that an aide to Easley, Ruffin Poole, and the governor “are very appreciative.”

By the end of that year, Easley was taking criticism from his neighbors in Southport over the efforts to sell the marina. Amid the controversy, Easley said the marina would not be sold. Easley officials also disputed that Garrett was involved in it, though documents and e-mail messages showed that he was.

Eventually, ports officials negotiated a long-term lease with a company led by Rawl and Smith, who are based in Raleigh and have completed many other projects with financial backing of the SAS founders.

Ports officials defended the move, saying it would lead to major improvements at the marina and included language to keep it open to the public. The marina company made improvements valued at more than $2.5 million to the marina.

The lease is for up to 40 years. The state gets $160,000 a year from the marina company, which keeps the profits above that.

Woody Wilson, a Southport resident who helped lead opposition to the marina deal, said Wednesday that investigators will have “well-spent time” in looking at the deal.

“That lease is for nickels and dimes what it is worth,” Wilson said.
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Join date : 2009-05-04
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Federal investigation of Easley expands Empty
PostSubject: Re: Federal investigation of Easley expands   Federal investigation of Easley expands EmptyTue Jun 23, 2009 12:30 pm

I don't get how what Easley did is any different than what Obama did with Michelle, just before the election.

Why doesn't media report on it, and why isn't that the smoking gun to get Obama out?

Is he protected from the law/rules?

See below:
Comments about Michelle Obama were found on the white house website:

A product of Chicago public schools, Michelle studied sociology and African-American studies at Princeton University. After graduating from Harvard Law School in 1988, she joined the Chicago law firm Sidley & Austin, where she later met the man who would become the love of her life.
After a few years, Michelle decided her true calling lay in encouraging people to serve their communities and their neighbors. She served as assistant commissioner of planning and development in Chicago's City Hall before becoming the founding executive director of the Chicago chapter of Public Allies, an AmeriCorps program that prepares youth for public service.
In 1996, Michelle joined the University of Chicago with a vision of bringing campus and community together. As associate dean of student services, she developed the university's first community service program, and under her leadership as vice president of community and external affairs for the University of Chicago Medical Center, volunteerism skyrocketed.

Notice how it doesn't tell us anything about what happened to her career after her husband was elected to the state, and then federal Senate, nor what happened to her highly paid position after she resigned to go live in the White House…

How convenient it is to have a wife dedicated to the community and getting others to offer "public service," especially when your husband is running for every kind of public office in the city? What better way to promote your husband than get a job "serving" all the voters in the city? EVEN BETTER to get paid from 100k to 316k a year to get people to offer "public service" after your husband is elected to the State and then Federal Congress? Do you know anyone who gets paid such outrageous wages for community involvement work, regardless of their number of amazing degrees?

If this were a real, normal position, don't you think we'd have a lot more people aspiring to work in community development work? Or does the fact that after she left they purged the position and gave the responsibilities to another current executive already doing their own job kind of stink and leave you scratching your head? I guess this is just more of the change we can believe in...

On behalf of SB
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