Local Politics

Outside experts to investigate missing travel records

Posted August 26, 2009

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— Three attorneys will investigate the missing 2005 travel records of former Gov. Mike Easley, the state Highway Patrol said Wednesday.

Independent panel to investigate Easley travel records Independent panel to investigate Easley records

A federal grand jury is looking into Easley's dealings with friends and contributors while in office, including flights on private planes that might have violated campaign finance laws.

The Highway Patrol in May turned over Easley's travel records, but authorities said records for 2005 were missing. Patrol officials said this week that they also have turned over a computer that once contained details of Easley's travel to federal investigators, hoping that FBI forensics experts can recover the lost data.

A patrol investigative report, released over the weekend, didn't determine what happened to the missing records.

Secretary Reuben Young of the state Department of Crime Control and Public Safety asked three attorneys to look into the missing records at the request of Gov. Beverly Perdue, Highway Patrol spokesman Capt. Everett Clendenin said.

The attorneys conducting the investigation are:

  • Willis Whichard, a former state Supreme Court justice and dean of the law school at Campbell University
  • Robert Morgan, a former director of the State Bureau of Investigation and former state Attorney General
  • Ralph Walker, former superior and Court of Appeals judge and former director of the Administrative Office of the Courts

"We're going to make anyone in our department answer questions that are put to them by these three distinguished public servants. We'll make them available," Young said.

Perdue said she finds the missing records situation "unacceptable" and said an independent investigation is needed to resolve the case.

"It’s the right thing for this administration to do. It’s the right thing for the people of the state, and it will help us move to some kind of finality on this whole discussion," she said. "I said (Tuesday) that I am as tired of it as anyone in the state of North Carolina. I don’t understand it. It's hard to swallow, and I want to understand and put a period at the end of the discussion."

Perdue declined to release the full report of the patrol's internal investigation of the missing records, citing the confidentiality of personnel records.

Former federal prosecutor Dan Boyce, who is not involved in the travel records investigation, said Wednesday that he questions the timing and purpose of Perdue’s decision to name an independent panel.

“I don't know how three distinguished attorneys, even as good as they are, are going to be able to uncover things any better than the ongoing investigation,” Boyce said. “Sometimes you have too many cooks in the kitchen when you have an investigation of this type.”

Patrol Capt. Alan Melvin, who headed Easley's security detail from 2003 to 2007, was placed on administrative duty pending the outcome of an internal investigation. He returned to duty last month and was initially placed in charge of a unit overseeing computer security, buy Young reassigned him Monday because of lingering questions over the missing records.


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  • nufsaid Aug 27, 2009

    "Perdue bringing in three practicing lawyers isn't going to do anything accept rubber stamp the NCSHP's own investigation.

    If Perdue wanted to clean this up she should have brought in the FBI to handle the investigation.
    Anything less creates the smell of a coverup being committed by Perdue and her lackeys.

    Kind of like her panel to investigate wasteful spending in State Government?

  • nufsaid Aug 27, 2009

    These three "experts" will probably be almost as effective as the "three blind mice".

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Aug 27, 2009

    Perdue bringing in three practicing lawyers isn't going to do anything accept rubber stamp the NCSHP's own investigation.

    If Perdue wanted to clean this up she should have brought in the FBI to handle the investigation.

    Anything less creates the smell of a coverup being committed by Perdue and her lackeys.

  • nufsaid Aug 27, 2009

    Experts or the three stooges?

  • walkindogs Aug 27, 2009

    Bev's guilty too....why do you think she took so long to "appoint" an investigative team?

  • Even Aug 27, 2009

    I am so glad the the governor is looking into the matter but appoint 3 high ranking officials in the Easley administration to do so? Is the actually someone that can't see through this.
    It will just be one more big waste of taxpayer's money.

  • zwm02 Aug 27, 2009

    Waterboard Melvin!

  • mochabrown Aug 27, 2009

    Ya know, why all this investigation and even though Easley was wrong and the others involved, but it's so political, people are walking on egg shells, hoping nothing doesn't come out on them.

    Strange how they waited until he was out of office to do this. I'm sure more folk knew the underhandings being done; yet remain silent because they were too busy "snoozing" up to the big dogs to get their piece of the pie.

    That's why it pays to question (and document)things supervisors want you to do, cause in the end, you will be the one getting burned and they will get off lightly.

    As far as I'm concern, they can just stop with all this investigation stuff. Put the money to good use elsewhere.

  • ThinkChick Aug 27, 2009

    Milkman: and don't forget the favor Holder did for the nightstick wielding Black Panthers, rightfully convicted of voter intimidation. And it has come to light at least one was a certified Democratic poll-watchershttp://n2sooners.amplify.com/2009/08/21/black-panther-who-threatened-voters-is-credentialed-dem-poll-watcher/

    ....hmmmmmmmmmm 2010 may be hazardous to your health if you come out to vote.

  • ajshaggin Aug 27, 2009

    Is everyone as tired of this as i am. It happened. We all know it happened. Instead of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars investigating as to when,why,how,who & where accept that it happened. Put the steps into place to make sure it does not happen again.Take the money you are going to pay these lawyers or whomever & put it back into the school systems. We waste more money on investigating than we spend on putting in the steps to correct the problem so that it does not happen again. How much has been spent on the Easley investigations? Can someone tell us that? I do not care about his trips.He used tax payer money to pay for them. So we are still wasting tax payer money on something that happened. AGAIN put in the steps to make sure it can not happen again & go on to something else.