Local Politics

Authorities Investigate $500,000 Payment to Black

Posted July 13, 2007

— Two days after former House Speaker Jim Black was sentenced to federal prison for corruption, the State Board of Elections is turning its attention to $500,000 given to him seven years ago.

The money came to light Monday in court papers in which the U.S. Attorney's Office requested that Black receive a stiff sentence.

Prosecutors said a lobbyist gave him a $500,000 check in June 2000 and it was deposited in his campaign account. Black wrote a check back to the lobbyist, but shortly thereafter put another $500,000 check into his campaign account.

Black and his attorney have called the transaction a legal loan from a lobbyist to help in a real estate transaction. They said the money was paid back.

But Bob Hall, executive director of watchdog group Democracy North Carolina, which has investigated finances for years, said he believes the money is connected to the video poker industry.

"This is a politician who singlehandedly protected the video poker industry for years," Hall said. "This $500,000, I'm sure, came from a lobbyist working for the video poker industry, as one of his clients, and I wouldn't be surprised if it's video poker money."

With Black's power weakening last year as state and federal investigations closed in on him, state lawmakers passed legislation outlawing video poker machines statewide.

Neither federal prosecutors nor Hall would identify the lobbyist.

"I think this matter remains under investigation by both state and federal authorities," Assistant U.S. Attorney John Bruce said.

Professional Lobbyists Association President Susan Valauri said the allegations are another blow to her law-abiding colleagues.

"It hurts us when a lobbyist is smeared over allegations of unethical conduct," Valauri said.

Although Black will soon start serving time for corruption, Hall said he hopes authorities eventually get to the people who tried to influence him.

"It's as much about the people who are bringing it in as the politician willing to take that bribe," he said.


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  • shine Jul 15, 2007

    goutytoe....... Your comment is exactly right. AAAHHHH!!! When does the fun end?

  • goutytoe Jul 15, 2007

    Just because a felon has been convicted and sentenced on one crime does not mean that other charges cannot be brought against him. In all likelyhood, the lobbyists will try to pin all of the misdeeds on one dead lobbyist, thereby allowing them to continue peddling their influence unhindered by any whiff of corruption. As if...

  • FloydRTurbo Jul 15, 2007

    "Kind lovable Grandpa Jim" ..... wonder what the grandkids thought about "Aunt Meredith" (cough, cough, wink, wink!).

    Tony Soprano liked bunny rabbits and kittens .... big deal!

  • shine Jul 15, 2007

    Why are they looking at this after they have sentenced him? Are they going to try him on seperate charges? If not someone has a smoke screen they are trying to throw out.
    If they just found this out - the ones who prosecuted him need their heads examined.

  • onyourheels2 Jul 15, 2007

    new meaning to black jack

  • nerdlywehunt Jul 15, 2007

    Good riddance, now on to Cary politics and the influence buying that has ruined this town

  • ncsufamily24 Jul 15, 2007

    beth wrote:

    "I've never seen so many negative people who seem to have an axe to grind. The Jim Black I know is a soft-spoken, kind, gentleman who has done a lot of good things for our State."

    Every legal voter in North Carolina should have an axe to grind with this lying crook. Apparently, he fooled you and a number of other folks across this state who trusted him. Too bad.

    Hopefully, state and federal prosecutors will investigate that
    entire state legislature. Personally, I believe there are more
    ole Jim Blacks lurking around the halls of the North Carolina
    legislative building. Find them, expose them and send them packing.....regardless of party affiliation.

  • Just thinking Jul 14, 2007

    Beth, the same things are said about 99 percent of the other criminals who are caught and convicted of their crimes. Don't let your emotions outweigh the facts - Jim Black is a convicted felon.

  • Nancy Jul 14, 2007

    "I sure do agree with beth that the ONLY real solution to this problem is TERM LIMITS."

    The only way term limits will happen is at the voting booth, WE have to vote them out, give them limits to length of time in office. They will never vote for term limits, they get comfortable with a system that allows so much abuse.


  • mr_natural Jul 14, 2007

    A tragedy is when an innocent dies needlessly. Black is a lowlife lying politician, but that is redundant. What he did was intentional, and he did it to enrich himself and his family. If his precious little grandchildren mean so much to him he should have thought about that before taking the path that led to him becoming a convicted criminal. I hope his crimes are not forgotten. There is no tragedy in this case, just greed and the hunger for absolute power. I hope he rots in prison and that his family remembers him as a convict.