Perdue aide: 'I made a mistake' regarding DOT letters

Posted June 21, 2012

— A senior adviser to North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue said Thursday that he regrets how changes to letters under a Department of Transportation executive's signature were handled but added that there was no attempt to deliberately mislead lawmakers.

Pryor Gibson told the Senate Rules Committee that he thought the letters sent to legislators last week about funding for two toll road projects were accurate when they were sent.

"In an attempt for me to do something for other (Senate) members, I made a, I made a mistake. I was going too fast to do the proper quality checks," he said.

Gibson and a Perdue staff attorney had made changes to a draft by DOT Chief Operating Officer Jim Trogdon, indicating that $28 million was needed next year for the proposed Mid-Currituck Bridge on the northern Outer Banks and $35 million for the Garden Parkway west of Charlotte.

DOT Deputy Secretary Susan Coward placed Trogdon's digital signature on the final letters. Trogdon later retracted their contents as they appeared to reverse his earlier stance that money wasn't immediately needed for either project.

"At the time I made the edits and at the time deputy secretary Coward approved them, she and I assumed that the edits that were being made were accurate, and we both believed that Mr. Trogdon had approved them," Gibson said. "Once again, I regret that error."

Pryor Gibson with Tom Apodaca Perdue adviser denies pressuring DOT official

Trogdon told lawmakers Wednesday that Coward felt pressured to use the digital signature, but Gibson denied exerting any pressure on her.

"Ms. Coward said, 'You want my signature, Mr. Trogdon's signature that I can do or an electronic signature?' I said that it doesn't matter to me, but I expect Mr. Trogdon's signature is best," Gibson said.

Senate Transportation Committee Chairman Sen. Bill Rabon said he wasn't convinced Gibson's actions were a mistake.

"I think if I were in his shoes, I would be saying the same thing," said Rabon, R-Brunswick.

Rules Committee Chairman Sen. Tom Apodaca said the panel would meet next week to decide to do next in the investigation, noting that Gibson's and Trogdon's stories don't jibe.

"It's still a cloudy issue, and I don't think it was clarified, so I think that's the path we need to go down and try to find out why that letter was signed, who was made to sign it and the reasons behind it," said Apodaca, R-Henderson.


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  • cwood3 Jun 22, 2012

    Are you really surprised at this latest act from the Gov's office?? Really surprised?? Incompetence abounds in this administration!!

    Sad part-neither project is really needed!! Both projects are there becuase of politicians want them for personal profits!!!

    Such quality legislators!!!

  • Pirate01 Jun 22, 2012

    Forgery is a felony, not a "mistake". This should be prosecuted.

  • citizensoldier16 Jun 22, 2012

    North Carolinians "made a mistake" too when they elected Crooked Bev to office.

  • gingerlynn Jun 22, 2012

    cvdurham - yes the legislator (Stan White) that stood to make money on land he conveniently transferred to his son that was in the project's path. From the N&O Complaints from legislators

    The next day, Gibson heard from at least two lawmakers who could benefit from the toll projects: Rep. William Current Sr., a Republican from Gastonia who has had an interest in land near the parkway, and Sen. Stan White, a Democrat from Dare County who owns a business that builds homes and rents vacation homes on the northern Outer Banks.

    Both say they are representing their constituents, not their personal interests, in advocating for the toll projects.

    Gibson said the legislators were “complaining” to him and were seeking help from Perdue to ensure money flowed for both projects.

  • too-obvious Jun 22, 2012

    thats all john edwards said, mistake, and he got off

  • whatelseisnew Jun 22, 2012

    "Elect a Republican Governor and the entire cast of characters all go away."

    True, but will they be any better???? What we need to do is get rid of EVERY lifer politician at all levels of Government. We also need to stop electing Lawyers. We need people that will pretty much eliminate almost all legislation that has been put in place for the last 90 years. It won't happen, but I have a dream.

  • whatelseisnew Jun 22, 2012

    I don't believe it was a mistake. I believe this was intentional. Regardless, this guy needs to be gone and start looking for a job. On his resume he can indicate that he should not be trusted with important correspondence, as he is not careful to make sure the information is accurate.

  • The Fox Jun 22, 2012

    Elect a Republican Governor and the entire cast of characters all go away.

  • wral mods blow close my account Jun 22, 2012

    Did any legislator care one way or the other what Trogdon had to say?

  • Offshore Jun 22, 2012

    Hokie: honesty in gov't. now that's funny in a sad way...