Local Politics

Gun Charge Continues Ex-Lobbyist's Fall

Posted August 30, 2007

— Former House Speaker Jim Black's fall from power included an array of allegations that piled up over time. Now, a former lobbyist linked to Black is likewise facing a mounting list of problems.

Don Beason has been charged with assault with a firearm, a misdemeanor offense, after a handgun was brandished during a curbside confrontation last month.

Beason came under scrutiny last month after authorities identified him as the source of a $500,000 loan to Black seven years ago. The loan, which passed through Black's campaign account, came to light as Black was sentenced on a federal corruption charge that stemmed from illegal cash payments he received from chiropractors.

Black is serving a 63-month sentence at a federal prison camp in Pennsylvania.

Days before the $500,000 loan was detailed in federal court papers, Beasley and a Raleigh couple exchanged words at a gas station near Oberlin Road in Raleigh. During the incident, Beason pulled a holstered handgun from the center console of his pickup and laid it on the front seat.

The couple called police as Beason drove off, and he was later pulled over and cited. He has a permit to carry the gun in his truck, police said.

"I think he feels like he's under scrutiny constantly, and that would probably wear on anybody," said Beason's attorney, Bob Hensley. "I think it's basically a misunderstanding, and I think that will come out in court."

Beason is scheduled to appear in court Sept. 20.

The couple involved in the incident, Jason Batten and his fiancee, Chrisy Tellis, said they feel the issue has been blown out of proportion. Beason never pulled the gun from the holster or pointed it at anyone, they said.

The gun charge continues Beason's fall from the heights of a power-broker in the halls of the General Assembly, said David McLennan, a political science professor at Peace College.

"He was a top lobbyist – consistently voted that by fellow lobbyists and legislators for years – has major clients, has the ear of political leader of the state," McLennan said. "This is a guy who cracked under pressure potentially."

Beason withdrew his state lobbyist registration two weeks ago amid mounting criticism over the loan to Black. State and federal authorities continue to investigate the transaction.

The loan and the gun charge will likely define Beason's legacy, McLennan said.

"The $500,00 loan and his brandishing a gun in a parking lot are going to be the things that are remembered," he said.


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  • Comments Aug 31, 2007

    All together now.....

    AWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW......Pooooooor Don !!!

    HAHA...glad to see him go down too!!

  • kmanc4s Aug 31, 2007

    Is there nothing else to report on???? Even the couple involved says that this has been blown out of proportion.

  • Lightfoot3 Aug 31, 2007

    I think these are trumped up charges, especially considering that the couple said THEY think the issue was blown out of proportion. Beason never removed the pistol or pointed it. Someone getting out of their car to confront is the first sign of road rage. A county deputy told me if someone comes up to you in a manner that causes you to be fearful it could be considered assault. If someone ever gets out of their car to confront me, at the bare minimum my hand will be on my firearm.

    Sounds like Beason did a smart thing. If the couple had not seen that he was armed they might have attacked him. They were already mad enough to get out of their car to confront a stranger. The first words to the officer should have been he saw signs of road rage, his car was being approached by enraged strangers, he had no where to withdraw to, was fearful for his life and safety, and retrieved his firearm for protection. All perfectly legal. Again, trumped up charges here.

  • Iquana Aug 31, 2007

    Talking is fine. So you think someone walking up to a car deserves to be shot?
    No. But if you want to avoid getting shot you dont get out of your car to confront someone you dont know.

  • G-man Aug 31, 2007

    "He has a permit to carry the gun in his truck"? There is no such thing. He either has a permit to carry concealed or anyone can carry openly period. If someone walks up to your vehicle and you have fear of harm, showing you are armed is no crime. None of this story makes any since.

  • tbajr Aug 31, 2007

    Although I detest his political dealings, sounds as though
    the gun charge was trumped up. Guns are allowed in public and
    even those involved said it was blown out of proportion.

  • ifcdirector Aug 31, 2007

    There are two sides to every story. Frankly it surprises me that without a disinterested witness the police can just charge someone at random like this. He could have had his firearm sitting out on the seat and the guy saw it when he went back to "talk to him" (yeah what about by the way? I am sure that was a friendly visit.....) and decided hey I think I will say he waved that around at me to get back at him. It wouldn't be the first time. Plus we don't know what was said during this "talk" either. Were the person's statements threats that could be construed as potentially life threatening? It will all come out I am sure but in this state you don't go around in situations like this walking up to stranger's cars or homes without invitation or you potentially take your life in your own hands even if you are right and they are wrong what difference would it make if you are dead?

  • Marc3939 Aug 31, 2007

    "You dont go up to a person's truck window to talk." - Iquana

    Talking is fine. So you think someone walking up to a car deserves to be shot?

  • dougalu Aug 30, 2007

    Ya''l took the bait...Beat up on Beasley...the Democrats best friend

  • FloydRTurbo Aug 30, 2007

    Don The Cryptkeeper going dowwwwwwn .....

    Now go get "The Duke of Dare County".