Local Politics

Probable Cause Found That Wright Broke Ethics Rules

Posted January 9, 2008

— A panel of state lawmakers on Wednesday found probable cause to believe that Rep. Thomas Wright took part in campaign finance and loan fraud in violation of legislative ethics rules.

The six-member House Select Committee voted to proceed on eight counts of misconduct against Wright, an eight-term Democrat from New Hanover County.

A Wake County grand jury indicted Wright last month 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.

"It is a sad and disappointing day that this committee had to be in a position to move to find probable cause against a sitting representative," said committee co-chair Rep. Rick Glazier, D-Cumberland.

Neither Wright nor his attorney, Douglas Harris of Greensboro, attended Wednesday's hearing. Harris couldn't be reached for comment afterward.

The committee examined charges related to $185,000 in unreported campaign donations and allegations that Wright 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 and diverted almost $19,000 in contributions and loans into his personal accounts when they were supposed to go to a nonprofit organization he directs.

The panel was appointed because the Legislative Ethics Committee couldn't review most of the charges against Wright because they were unrelated to his role as a legislator.

"That is, if nothing else ever could be, a pattern and practice that appears to be purposeful and deliberate misconduct," Glazier said as the committee pored over evidence in the case.

Harris has said that Wright was guilty of nothing more than sloppy bookkeeping.

Wright has refused to resign, saying voters should determine if he remains in office. He announced plans last week to run for re-election.

The committee has set a Feb. 11 hearing for motions in the case, but no date has been set for a special legislative session in which lawmakers could expel Wright.

No lawmaker has been expelled from the General Assembly by other legislators since the 1880s.


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  • Aries82 Jan 10, 2008

    One more crooked politician

  • G-Dawg Jan 10, 2008


  • whatusay Jan 10, 2008

    Many of our elected officials have set up non profit organization to siphon money from the government and put it in their own pocket. Once they get into office they learn ways to stick it to the tax payers and put it in their pockets. Some set up shelters for battered women, some for depression, some from un-wed mothers. Most of these are connected with a representative at the helm.

  • dlb800 Jan 10, 2008

    Look people KNEW Black was a crook, and they STILL voted him
    to keep him in office. Of course there are going to be people
    who want to keep Wright in office. To them, it doesn't matter
    whether the politician is honest or a crook.

  • IHave1-2 Jan 9, 2008

    Hmmm, I wonder what unsuspecting lobbyist(s) will donate funds to his re-election campaign...

  • Garden Guy Jan 9, 2008

    hope he gets the same judge as Black. His punishment fit his crime, and Wright needs the same.

  • djofraleigh Jan 9, 2008

    Wright plans on running again, and there are people who would vote for him again if he is bringing bacon back home to Wilmington, but then that would really make the voters crooked themselves. Maybe Wright will be serving from a jail cell leaving his district without representation, whifch would be justice.

  • Evil one Jan 9, 2008

    Wouldn't it be something if the NAACP held a news conference and asked Mr Wright to step down until these charges are resolved.

  • mrr03 Jan 9, 2008


  • doubletrouble Jan 9, 2008

    He is using stealing tax money from ALL of us...that's the hard working Blacks, Whites, Indians, and every other color under the rainbow. He is nothing more than a thief, plain and simple...and should do time in the general population, not at Camp Cupcake.