Local Politics

Scope of Easley probe grows almost daily

Posted June 18, 2009

— Critics of former Gov. Mike Easley have taken shots at him for years and come up short. As a federal grand jury probes his dealings with friends and contributors while in office, many of those old issues are resurfacing.

The State Board of Ethics, for example, dismissed a 2006 complaint that accused Easley of using his influence to push through a lease deal for the Southport marina for his contributors.

Gov. Mike Easley Grand jury net around Easley gets wider

"I don't think the Ethics Commission did a serious investigation of the nature of the Southport marina deal and Easley's role," said Don Carrington, vice president of the conservative John Locke Foundation and associate publisher of the group's Carolina Journal.

Carrington has written extensively about Wilmington developer Nick Garrett, who was initially involved in the marina deal and who completed major renovations on Easley's home in Southport. Carrington also questioned a land purchase Easley made in the Cannonsgate subdivision in Carteret County.

"You or I would not get the choicest lot in Cannonsgate for half price. We couldn't get our home remodeled and not pay until long after it's finished," he said.

The federal grand jury has subpoenaed records related to the marina deal from the state Ports Authority, and authority Chairman Carl Stewart testified before the grand jury Wednesday.

Federal investigators also have questioned people about the Cannonsgate deal and vehicles car dealers provided to Easley and his family.

The grand jury also has subpoenaed the former governor's travel records from the state Highway Patrol. The News & Observer newspaper has reported that some contributors flew Easley on their private planes, but the flights were never disclosed in campaign finance reports.

Former North Carolina State University Chancellor James Oblinger also testified before the grand jury Wednesday. N.C. State has turned over all records regarding its employment of Easley's wife, Mary Easley.

Oblinger, former Provost Larry Nielsen and McQueen Campbell, a close friend of Mike Easley who served as chairman of N.C. State's Board of Trustees, have all resigned in recent weeks amid questions of their roles in Mary Easley's hiring in 2005.

N.C. State terminated her $170,000-a-year contract last week, citing state budget cuts.

Former federal prosecutor Dan Boyce, who represents an unidentified witness in the case, predicted the Easley case won't end anytime soon.

"The scope of this investigation is so broad. It could be a year or two years before the grand jury completes its investigation," Boyce said. "A lot depends on whether you think this is a prosecution or a persecution."


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  • tsquaring Jun 19, 2009

    It's George Bush's fault.

  • Garnerwolf1 Jun 19, 2009

    Not saying it's right, but what's he done that any other politican, or person with sufficient power, hasn't? Is this not a case of same 'ole, same 'ole? If his wife had an ounce of brains, and had quit two months ago, this microscope might not be focused on them now.

  • batcave Jun 19, 2009

    I bet Mike even gets kick backs from novelty lighter sales.

  • seaturtlesrule Jun 19, 2009

    Boyce Hudson was certainly involved. He was a stalker and rapist in Wilson....the so-called "Mayor", "City Mgr." and minions let him go scot-free! Didn't want to be sued...Corrupt then, Corrupt now!

    1987 Community Development House of Perverts Anon.
    No one was warned that he already had "sexual harrassment" lawsuits against him even then.

    Women Against Violence in the Workplace. Never be silent again!!!

  • squawk08 Jun 19, 2009

    Now I cant wait to see who else will go down with Sleasly, these politicians never go down by themselves, maybe we will see Bev, Erskine, maybe see good ole boy Roy all sharing a cell and playing cards with Black! If they need legal advice they can call Mary Sleasly, we all know she doesnt know when to go when her time is up!

  • jrf1957 Jun 19, 2009

    Forget about it!!!!!! They're not going to do anything to him if he is found guilty!!!!! He is way above the law.

  • JAFOinWF Jun 19, 2009

    Good think the N&O endorsed Sleazy Mike twice. All of the lib media loved him just like they like Bev and O. NC knew Mike was bad and elected him anyway. NC gets what NC wants.....

  • news4u Jun 19, 2009

    Look at the Judges Easley appointed (after a Monetary Contribution was made of course)...Smells like a 3 day old fish on a 100 degree day!

  • webberx101 Jun 19, 2009

    Easley is paying for what he did... being judged as he judged others... he will NOT be alone!

  • Frank Downtown Jun 19, 2009

    Oh my! How much money is someone spending on this!! Its how business works. You hire friends and get advice from friends about others to hire or work with. This is how things work.