Local Politics

Second Easley appointee resigns

Posted May 20, 2009

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— For the second time in a week, a major supporter of former Gov. Mike Easley has resigned amid state and federal investigations into the former governor's dealings with friends and contributors.

Transportation board member Cameron McRae, who reportedly flew Easley on his corporate jet, submitted his resignation to Gov. Beverly Perdue, and she accepted it.

McRae, a Bojangles' restaurant franchisee from Kinston, had served on the powerful transportation board for more than eight years. Easley appointed him to a third four-year term shortly before leaving office in January.

Mike Easley Investigation graphic Easley investigation claims another donor

The News & Observer newspaper recently reported that McRae had flown Easley in his plane at least twice, but neither man disclosed the flights in campaign finance reports.

State law requires transportation board members to provide details of campaign activities. Also, the unreported flights violated a state ban on corporate political contributions and exceeded the limits placed on individual contributions.

The FBI last Friday subpoenaed Easley's travel records as part of a growing probe into his activities while in office. Investigators also have questioned people about vehicles provided to the governor's family and about a coastal land deal in which he was involved.

"If the federal government's involved, if there is a federal grand jury investigation, it's a big deal," said Dan Boyce, a former federal prosecutor who represents a potential witness in the case.

Still, Boyce said, questions don't always mean guilt.

"I've been involved in scores of investigations over the years on both sides where nothing ever comes of it," he said.

On Tuesday, the FBI subpoenaed records from North Carolina State University about the hiring and promotion of Easley's wife, Mary Easley.

Mary Easley began working as a part-time instructor at N.C. State in 2002. Since 2005, she has served as an executive-in-residence and senior lecturer, developing a speakers program and teaching a graduate course in public administration and courses in the Administrative Officers Management Program, which provides leadership training to law enforcement officers.

Last year, she received an 88 percent pay increase, to $170,000 a year. N.C. State officials defended the move, saying she had taken on additional duties, such as directing pre-law services at the university and serving as a liaison to area law firms and law schools at other universities as she developed a dual-degree program.

Provost Larry Nielsen, who hired her in 2005, submitted his resignation last Thursday, citing stress over questions about her. N.C. State Board of Trustees Chairman McQueen Campbell resigned the following day, saying he didn't want questions about Mary Easley to become a distraction for the university.

Mike Easley twice appointed Campbell to the university board, and The News & Observer reported that Campbell also flew Easley on his private plane but never disclosed the flights in campaign finance reports.

Nielsen and N.C. State Chancellor James Oblinger have been subpoenaed to testify Thursday before a federal grand jury about Mary Easley's hiring and promotion.

Oblinger and University of North Carolina President Erskine Bowles have called on Mary Easley to resign, but it's unclear whether they would take the decision out of her hands.

"I'm hoping Mrs. Easley will do the right thing," Oblinger said Wednesday.

The State Board of Elections on Friday closed its file on Mike Easley to the public, indicating that officials there have formally begun a criminal investigation of his campaign finances.


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  • canesnut May 21, 2009

    Glad I don't know the Easleys because anyone associated with them now seems to be tainted. He was a terrible governor, and now those closest to him are paying the price. Hope that he and his wife will pay soon, too.

  • teacher-mom May 21, 2009

    They all make me sick. They act like thay are entitled to everything. This happens when politicians are bought by special interest groups. If you want to clean up politics, you must do away with lobbyists...

  • Bendal1 May 21, 2009

    I seem to recall Easley saying he would reform the DOT Board, make them more accountable and less politically oriented. Guess that didn't happen, did it?

  • SANDHILL May 20, 2009

    As the rats leave the sinking ship, I am still waiting for Mary Weasley to resign.

  • Nikka May 20, 2009

    Mcrae should rot in a prison cell for the rest of his life.

    While he has minimum wage employees working their rears off at Bojangles, he is taking company profits and spending it on political influence so he can pay less in taxes and get appointments so he can feel important.

    Mcrae, Perdue and the Easley twins need a trip to the country club.

  • coolwill May 20, 2009

    get thoese emails that he had that easley deleted

  • ncsufamily24 May 20, 2009

    Jim Black:

    Now, please be honest. Ok? I bet you're wearing a big smile on your face aren't you? Remember when the Democrats turned their backs on you when you needed them? Shame on those political hypocrites. But you're a survivor. And a darn good one, too. Just hang in there and know that before all of this is over, other Democrats may possibly get the opportunity to experience what you've had to endure.

  • demo7691 May 20, 2009

    Well If they look at the records they may find that when Bev was Lt. Gov. she may have bent the law as well. Maybe while they are looking they need to check her too. Politician= Truth bending,scamming, back stabbing, Law Changing, Money Spending, .................and it goes and goes. Lets get all the crooks out of office. Oh we wont have anyone left.

  • mondo May 20, 2009

    Go Green!!

  • Adelinthe May 20, 2009

    Personally, because of all the "guilt by association" when no one's guilt has yet been established, I think everyone appointed by Easley should resign and leave all the gossipping North Caroliners working like dogs to try to get their jobs done.

    I'm ashamed of all that's gone on here - on both sides, and I'm ashamed to say I live in NC. If it weren't for the Hurricanes being in the play offs, there wouldn't be anything worth staying here for, especially with the layoffs and unemployment.

    God bless.