Economic development group reveals donors, salaries

Posted October 31, 2014

Gov. Pat McCrory and Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker held an April 8, 2013, news conference to announce plans to create a nonprofit to handle North Carolina's economic development efforts.

— North Carolina's newly minted public-private partnership set up to create jobs across the state revealed its five major donors this week, among them Duke Energy and software firm Red Hat.

Legislation passed by the General Assembly this summer required the nonprofit Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina to raise at least $250,000 in private funds before receiving state money. Establishing the partnership was a central part of Gov. Pat McCrory's plan to change the way state attracts business growth.

In a press release Friday afternoon, the group announced it received $440,000 from five "corporate partners."

The largest donation, $200,000, came from Duke Energy. Raleigh-based Red Hat pitched in $100,000, and smaller donations came from Piedmont Natural Gas, Morrisville-based computer maker Lenovo and Charlotte Pipe and Foundry Co.

What jobs cost INTERACTIVE: Job Promise Explorer

Red Hat has so far received about $470,000 out of $15 million in incentive projects announced in 2011.

Duke Energy and Piedmont Natural Gas political action committees have contributed thousands of dollars to North Carolina Republican leaders since 2012, including McCrory. So has Frank Dowd, chief executive of Charlotte Pipe and Foundry.

The partnership also touted its role in the creation of 1,560 jobs across eight different projects and the continued filming of CBS' "Under the Dome" series in Wilmington.

It's not clear what specific role the group had in securing the jobs. EDPNC Chairman John Lassiter did not return a call for comment Friday afternoon.

“What’s different about our approach is that we’re marshaling public and private resources to help in North Carolina’s business recruiting efforts,” Lassiter said in the release. “We’re delighted with the confidence these companies have shown by joining us, and with the quality of new and expanding business prospects who are considering planting or growing their roots here.”

Although ostensibly a nonprofit entity separate from state government, state law specifically requires the partnership to follow North Carolina public records law with regard to much of its business, including providing salary information, policy specifics and records of gifts and contributions.

The partnership's website on Friday listed 20 "management-level" salaries as of October.

In mid-October, WRAL News requested a number of records from the organization, including detailed salary information and conflict of interest policies. The partnership has not yet fulfilled the full request.


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  • miseem Nov 4, 2014

    I don't think the salaries are extremely high. You could trim them by 10% or 15% if you were concerned about them being too high. But this does not include any bonuses, incentives or possible raises next year. The main thing I dislike about this is that they will be less accountable and are not really doing anything the state was not doing in the past. If the NCGA thought there was too much red tape slowing down the recruitment, just eliminate some of the red tape. They already had some protections on disclosure, so other streamlining could have been done. And as another poster mentioned, the corporations are not in a big rush. They would rather sit back and watch the states fight it out over who has the biggest (incentive) package.

  • Greg Thomas Nov 3, 2014
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    In pushing for this new business model, the governor said economic development needed to be more "nimble".... that the Commerce Dept. was too slow.

    Having worked at Commerce, I can tell you that most of the hold-ups were with the Companies themselves, who sat back and waited to see which state would give them the biggest Corporate Welfare package. Time was on *their* side and they were in no hurry.

    It was weak rationale by the governor to convert to a model that usually doesn't work.

  • TruDat Nov 3, 2014

    This hybrid structure, which has failed just about everywhere else it has been tried, is a pay-to-play scandal in waiting. Think about it: Which companies will have a rational motive to contribute heavily unless they expect something in return?

    Very poor judgment on the part of Pat McCrory's team. This ill-advised move likely will come back to bite them, without having done much good.

  • j9us Nov 3, 2014

    View quoted thread

    What makes you qualified to judge these as overpaid salaries? Must be your mastery of grammar and the English language.

  • 68_dodge_polara Nov 3, 2014

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    So what exactly so bad about this program?

  • Larry Lynch Nov 3, 2014
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    lol- look at those over paid salaries-- just a reflection of gov nor mc's wrong headed management style. i'd cut every salary in half- just to reflect the earnings of the average working person in nc. and guess what- many of them are college educated to -- gov nor mc. you really do need to change some of your methods..

  • Steve Lancaster Nov 3, 2014
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    Jw, I know, so you and I both know that the Democrats have received more help from the outside than the Republicans.

  • Mike Welsch Nov 1, 2014
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    This just makes me ill.

  • James Henderson Oct 31, 2014
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    View quoted thread

    This article has absolutely nothing to do with Hagan, but nice try.