Local Politics

Wright Released on Bond After Surrender

Posted December 14, 2007

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— Indicted state Rep. Thomas Wright surrendered to authorities in Raleigh on Friday morning and was arraigned and released on bond.

Wright, an eight-term Democrat from New Hanover County, was indicted Monday on five counts of obtaining property by false pretense and one count of obstruction of justice in connection with unreported campaign contributions and two allegedly fraudulent loans.

Smiling and waving to reporters, he appeared in the Wake County magistrate's office, flanked by two State Bureau of Investigation agents. After being processed, he was released on a $50,000 unsecured bond.

Wright declined to comment on the accusations as he left the Wake County Courthouse with his wife. Noting the crowd of reporters and photographers covering his brief appearance, however, he remarked, "You would have thought I murdered somebody."

Unlike former House Speaker Jim Black and other officials charged with crimes in the past few years, Wright has refused to resign, saying the voters would determine whether he remains in office.

"It's really an insult to the North Carolina taxpayers that he continues to hold office and we have to support him financially," said Joe Sinsheimer, a former political consultant whose complaint last year prompted the State Board of Elections to begin examining Wright's campaign finances.

"North Carolina's had a reputation for a long time as being a clean-government state, and we've really put that reputation in jeopardy over the last couple of years," Sinsheimer said.

The Legislative Ethics Committee announced Wednesday that it would review one fraud charge against Wright, an allegation that he used his position to influence a state official to write a letter to help him obtain a $150,000 loan for a real estate deal in Wilmington.

House Speaker Joe Hackney on Friday appointed six lawmakers to a special committee to examine the other charges against Wright. The ethics committee cannot review them because they are not related to his work as a legislator.

The allegations include accepting $185,000 in unreported campaign donations and diverting almost $19,000 in contributions and loans into his personal accounts when they were supposed to go into a fund he directs.

Rep. Rick Glazier, D-Cumberland, will chair the special committee, and Rep. Paul Stam, R-Wake, will be vice chairman. Other members are Reps. Marvin Lucas, D-Cumberland; William McGee, R-Forsyth; Edith Warren, D-Pitt; and Laura Wiley, R-Guilford.

The committee hearings could lead to lawmakers' voting in a special session of the General Assembly next spring to remove Wright from office, which would mark the first time in more than a century that legislators expelled a member.

Wright is scheduled to appear in court on Dec. 31.


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  • Beeyatcchh Dec 16, 2007

    Probably because of his color.

  • djofraleigh Dec 16, 2007


    It has been more than a year...read this letter from Joe Sinsheimer, which got it all started. Why is JUSTICE so slow? Why isn't a grand jury involved in this case when the whole of the state political system should be ON TRIAL.

  • djofraleigh Dec 16, 2007

    For over a year, Wright has NOT resigned, NOT denied, NOT had a visible attorney, NOT returned money, NOT made press statements, not done anything but WEAR his expensive suits, SMILE like a cartoon character, WAVE at the cameras like he just returned from a trip, and IS getting his pay, his pension, his benefits all the while. He's smiling cause he has he state bent over while he keeps scr*wing them.

    Wright believes his district voters would slavishly vote him back in office and if voted in, then he should be able to act any way he wants to without others saying anything. Wilmington might not care if Wright is stealing from the rest of the state, but the rest of the state cares.

    Wright could stay out of jail the 10 years he deserves by breaking GOOD and naming names and deeds of other Assembly members, starting with Basnight and reaching to Lt. Govenor and governor wannabee Bev Perdue.

    The whole assembly needs to sit in front of a Grand Jury and testify under oath.

  • Beeyatcchh Dec 15, 2007


  • Beeyatcchh Dec 15, 2007

    Patriotsrevenge: "US Vet, could you explain in a little more detail? What exactly is "typical"? A politician accused of wrongdoing? I hope that's what you mean, because others on this site have made the same comment as a racial remark. I enjoy your comments, and you seem to be very bright, please tell me you're aiming at politicians only! If that's the case then I'm with you friend, but if you're making a racial remark, please take that hatred somewhere else. I apologize in advance if I misunderstood."

    Someone, actually a lot, always have to think a certain word is racial, geez people, stop being so freakin sensitive.

  • peakofgoodliving Dec 15, 2007

    What is up with this fool just smiling like he was given an award or something; you almost wonder if he has mental retardation and doesn't fully understand what's happenin' here.

  • Beeyatcchh Dec 15, 2007

    I think I heard Wright was giving Roger Clemens a shot in the buttocks.

  • Beeyatcchh Dec 15, 2007

    Look at him and his wife, just a smilin!

  • RedStatesManWatts Dec 15, 2007

    "Maybe if we voted in regular middle class working americans instead of lawyers and businessmen who are power hungry and wheeler/dealers maybe we could make the difference this state needs. Once and for all this country needs to get rid of the professional politicians." purrcard

    I am as middle class hard working as they get. I will be honored to accept your nomination. Vote for RedStatesMan Watts!

  • humbleblaklady Dec 15, 2007

    "Maybe if we voted in regular middle class working americans instead of lawyers and businessmen who are power hungry and wheeler/dealers maybe we could make the difference this state needs. Once and for all this country needs to get rid of the professional politicians."

    Valid point. I agree and HOPE that surrounded by "power" and opportunity--"average working middle class people" would not soon turn to greed and dishonesty too. If they did; at least when they are charged and/or convicted of crimes, they won't be so arrogant , self-centered, egotistical, and in total denial. I'm tired of these (the present day) OVERPAID CROOKS! What have WE gotten for our vote and dollars? A group of dishonest "professional liars/politicians" (both Democrats & Republicans) who turn a deaf ear to our needs and APPOINTEES who are MORE CONCERNED WITH THE RIGHTS AND PRIVILEGES OF ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS THAN OUR RIGHTS AND NEEDS! Can ANYONE name a state politician that they have faith in or can trust?