Local News

Former Ag Commissioner Looks Forward to Life Beyond Prison

Posted April 22, 2007

— Former state agriculture commissioner Meg Scott Phipps is scheduled to leave prison early Monday morning after serving a sentence on perjury and obstruction of justice charges.

Phipps pleaded guilty in 2003 to extorting illegal campaign contributions from carnival vendors seeking to influence the awarding of contracts at North Carolina state fairs when she was elected agriculture commissioner.

Phipps, the daughter and granddaughter of former governors, received the longest active sentence of seven. She is the last of four people sentenced to time behind bars in the probe to leave prison.

WRAL’s David Crabtree spoke to Phipps in the last televised interview she granted before indictment and trial. Shortly after her conviction, she was sent to the federal prison camp in Alderson, W.V.

In March of 2006, Crabtree traveled to the prison camp and visited Phipps. He later received a Christmas card containing a photo taken in front of a tree at Alderson.

In most of the letters Phipps sent to Crabtree, the former commissioner said she never wanted to talk publicly about her case or her time in prison. But two weeks ago, she wrote a letter to Crabtree giving him permission to talk about his visit and the content of their correspondence. She is unable to talk publicly about the conviction or the circumstances surrounding it.

While serving her sentence, Phipps taught English and other courses to her fellow inmates at Alderson. She became a friend and confidant of Martha Stewart during her own prison sentence at the camp.

She's done a fantastic job while she's been there," Phipps attorney Hill Allen said to the Associated Press.

In her correspondence, Phipps was emphatic that her faith in God and the support of her family are the things that got her through the past four years.

When Prisoner 23786-056 leaves Alderson on Monday, she plans to return to her home in Haw River, where she will remain under electronic surveillance until her term officially ends August 24.

She'll be wearing an electronic ankle bracelet that will allow her to go to her new job as the Christian education director at the Presbyterian church her family has attended for generations.

Phipps will make the trip home with her husband Bob at her side. Last week, he told Crabtree that his love for his wife has never wavered. He said their marriage is stronger than ever and that both of them are ready to begin a new chapter.


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  • kimber Apr 23, 2007

    "you people take the cake" - maybe you could move back to your home state, put then you would have to say "you people have better jobs" I am not a fan of hers but I'm sure we are not the only state with problems in the government offices.

  • Mmaker52 Apr 23, 2007

    gatechplyr.....go back to GA...it is just as bad there...you are living off of your "fond" memories....LOL

  • myview Apr 23, 2007

    Of course she's a threat to society - she's a crooked Democrat

  • danhoggard Apr 23, 2007

    I think you all are being too easy on her and Jim Black has his day coming. People trust them with their money and to represent their best interest. Truth is that they have money stashed away somewhere to live on. Bunch of CROOKS! Hope they never work again.

  • luvtoshag Apr 23, 2007

    She has served her time and will complete her sentence shortly. I do believe that she has learned a lesson in all of this. She is not the only politician that has made mistakes. I hope that after the house arrest period is over, the public will let her continue her life and the lives of her family in private.

  • danhoggard Apr 23, 2007

    Is it my eyes or did she look a lot more butch when she got out!?

  • LuvLivingInCary Apr 23, 2007

    Jim's next...Maybe he will be friends with Edwin Edwards.

  • Servant Apr 23, 2007

    Look she did a crime who cares let her do every bit of her time behind bars. If it where a nobody you would not even cover this but because of her standing and having money she gets speacil treatment. I think as the Bible say there is no small sin or a big sin, that sin is sin. So let her do as I have had to do max out her time. No to house arrest. So many that are rich never pull there time (lol) like to do time with servants to wait on you. Bring you coffee and cake. So let the Crook and liar stay in prison and do her time!!!! Jim Black and her both should be doing hard time! But as i see it you can do a crime of you make or have so much a slap on the hand but if poor you pull out your time!!! LET HER STAY IN TO SHE MAX'S IT OUT!!!!!!!!!!!

  • cstraub12 Apr 23, 2007

    I think she should be allowed to serve the remainder of her term under house arrest. She is NOT a "threat" to society and she could be productive and "pay back" the people she did an injustice to. Let's give her a chance!!

    Carolyn Straub

  • ObamaMustGo aka NCcarguy Apr 23, 2007

    Just another example of how corrupt our state government has become.....it's time to clean hoouse, and let a new group of crooks take over, at least it will take them a few years to figure out how to rip the state off, maybe by then, we'll boot them out too!