Local Politics

Former GOP Lawmakers Settle Feud

Posted October 23, 2007

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— Two Republican former state lawmakers have buried the hatchet, ending a 14-month feud over a vote-buying allegation.

A group financed by Raleigh businessman and former lawmaker Art Pope sent out mailings last year that attacked Steven LaRoque, who faced opposition in the Republican primary to retain his Lenoir County seat in the state House. The mailings tied him to disgraced former House Speaker Jim Black and tax hikes.

Before a runoff election in August 2006, which he ended up losing, LaRoque characterized Pope's financial support of certain Republican candidates as "buying seats" in the General Assembly.

Pope called the statement defamatory, saying he and his company follow state campaign finance laws, and he filed suit against LaRoque.

Last Friday, LaRoque's attorneys faxed an apology to Pope's attorney in Raleigh in an effort to settle the dispute.

"In the heat of a hard-fought campaign and contested election outcome, I misspoke," LaRoque said in the apology. "Art Pope has not been engaged in buying legislators or their votes. I did not mean to imply Art Pope had done anything wrong. ... I apologize for any harm my words may have caused Art Pope and his family."

Pope said Tuesday that, in light of the apology, he would dismiss the defamation suit. He said LaRoque also agreed to an undisclosed monetary settlement based on attorney's fees.

8 Comments

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  • claudiarodgers Oct 24, 2007

    (PS, contrary to some of the blogger comments on this issue, on this website, Pope is an attorney and there are specific laws protecting attorneys from slander/libel as well as a little matter of virtually accusing Pope of a felony. Additionally, there are rules about what a sitting legislator can and can't say about other legislators; ie. Capps.)

  • claudiarodgers Oct 24, 2007

    Pope; Under the Dome http://projects.newsobserver.com/blogs/pope_drops_defamation_suit#comment-1889

    Dear friends, I could not remain still ;-) - my blog entry:

    Steven LaRoque also owes an apology to former Representative Russell Capps for falsely accusing him of illegal and unethical actions. During televised interviews on News 14 and WRAL and in emails to myself and Mrs. Judy Keener, Mr. LaRoque accused Capps of "having sold his soul and his vote to Art Pope for 30 pieces of silver."
    Also in those emails, LaRoque attempted to disparaged those of us who had written to him urging an apology be offered to Rep. Capps and calling us kool-aid drinking "Pope Puppets."
    LaRoque may have reconciled with Art Pope, but he should also publicaly announce his regret for having "misspoke" when he slandered and smeared Capps.

  • FE Oct 23, 2007

    OK...

    Does ANYONE give a hoot about two politicans (deleted) yapping at each other??

    Better?

  • retired and luv it Oct 23, 2007

    Ho Hum who cares. Just a bunch of pompus politicians that love what they see in their mirror.

  • Ekeoutalivin Oct 23, 2007

    For the Record, neither is a lawyer.

  • FE Oct 23, 2007

    Does ANYONE give a hoot about two politicans (probably lawyers!) yapping at each other??

  • rand321 Oct 23, 2007

    Talk about frivilous lawsuits. LaRoque having to pay an undisclosed monetary settlement?

    The voters should cast both of them out of office.

  • whatelseisnew Oct 23, 2007

    Is this story a joke? I remember the fur flying, but at the time figured who cares, just typical campaign nonsense.