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2006 Top Newsmakers: Jim Black Federal Probe

Posted December 26, 2006

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— (Dec. 12) House Speaker Jim Black announced in early December that he would not seek a fifth term as speaker, ending an eight-year tenure as the top official in the state House.

Black, D-Mecklenburg, dismissed suggestions that his decision was based on concerns about a possible federal indictment.

His announcement came two weeks after he was certified the winner of the state's 100th District by 30 votes in a tight November election race against political newcomer Hal Jordan.

Black came under scrutiny by state and federal officials in 2006 for alleged campaign finance violations and his connections to the lottery and video poker industries.

Although Black has not been charged, a number of people with close ties have been, including former lawmaker Michael Decker, former state lottery commissioner Kevin Geddings and lobbyist and former Black political director Meredith Norris.

In November, Decker, D-Forsyth named Black a co-conspirator in a move to join the Democratic Party in early 2003, a move that ultimately helped Black remain speaker. Decker claimed he was paid $50,000 dollars to switch parties.

Black has consistently denied any criminal wrongdoing and said he is not the target of a federal investigation.

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