Local Politics

Ex-Southport mayor appears at federal courthouse

Posted May 19, 2010

— Former Southport Mayor Norman Holden appeared at the federal courthouse in Raleigh Wednesday as the grand jury investigating former Gov. Mike Easley's dealings with friends and contributors while in office met inside.

The grand jury, which has been meeting for more than a year, was expected to hear testimony through Friday.

Mike Easley Investigation graphic Easley investigation expected to focus on DOT, Southport ties

Holden declined to comment as he entered and exited the courthouse.

Former Easley aide Susan Rabon, who now serves on the North Carolina Utilities Commission, also appeared at the federal courthouse Wednesday. She also was at the courthouse last August while the grand jury met.

Rabon also declined to comment.

Both Holden and Rabon were named as "relevant parties" in a subpoena sent to the state Department of Transportation that sought information about any contracts Holden had with the agency, Easley's home in Southport and any exchange of money or gifts for political favors.

Other "relevant parties" listed in the subpoena include Easley, his wife, other former aides, former Sen. Tony Rand, Former  Transportation Secretary Lyndo Tippett, former Division of Motor Vehicles Commissioner George Tatum, and former DOT board members.

Tippett and Allen Pope, a DOT district engineer for southeast North Carolina, also have been subpoenaed in the case.

A subpoena doesn't mean that a person did anything wrong, but prosecutors believe they have evidence or knowledge relating to an investigation. Witnesses don't necessarily testify in court in Raleigh; they might turn over evidence or speak to federal investigators outside of court.

It's unclear what information Tippett might know that would help in the investigation, but Lanny Wilson, a Wilmington developer and former DOT board member, has been a key witness for investigators.

Ruffin Poole, once Easley's legal counsel, pleaded guilty last month to a federal tax evasion charge and agreed to cooperate with investigators. Wilson allowed Poole to invest in the Cannonsgate development in Carteret County in 2005, and Poole shepherded environmental permits for the development and other coastal projects while quickly making a $30,000 profit that he never reported on his income tax returns, prosecutors said.

Easley later purchased a waterfront lot in Cannonsgate at a below-market rate.

The grand jury also has looked into Easley's travel aboard donors' private planes, former first lady Mary Easley's high-paying job at North Carolina State University and other real estate deals.


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  • chfdcpt May 19, 2010

    The sad part is that less than 50% will show up to vote, and they will most likely vote for the incumbents...

  • superman May 19, 2010

    A lot of people better be packing their stuff for a long trip. Bev-- you going to be next-- just wait your turn.

  • mulecitybabe May 19, 2010

    Bev, what do you have to say about all this? Bev? BEV!!!

  • bcarolinabreeze May 19, 2010

    Pbjbeach, not that I necessarily disagree with you, but your post just gave me a headache.

  • shine May 19, 2010

    Where is Basinight in this saga? He was in the middle of it from jump street, otherwise he wouldn't have tried to give some money back......... Hey= Hey !

  • pbjbeach May 19, 2010


    Yes in my opinion there are good an honest public servernts that are truely instrested in doing thier jobs an not being corrupt in the process it is just that the pols wont allowed them to do their jobs out of fear that if they actualy do their jobs that it might impact some business enity some where in this state an the pols are owns lock stock an barrell by the coporations an big business in this state thank you

  • GWALLY May 19, 2010

    They all worked for the "firm" of Dewey, Cheat-em, How and How Long!!

  • pbjbeach May 19, 2010

    In my personal opinion they need to be investigation the current governor before she gets out of office. In all likelyhood the whole bunch will end up only getting their hands slaped an told to play nice from now on ha ha ha ha ha. i would almost be willing to bet that not a one of these people end up in jail . for that just isn't the way the political games are played it is all about you strach my back an willl cover up an strach your back wait an see no one will end up with any jail time out of the whole mess . this whole case is just like a movie production that is being staged to make the general public think that something is actually being done in accordance wtih the law when in reality it isn't anything being done at all thank you

  • mrr03 May 19, 2010

    The little Governor (Poole) "done told" everything to save his skin

  • garnertoy May 19, 2010

    Time to round up the gang