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Warrant links ex-Raleigh official to money missing from business incubator

Posted September 23, 2014

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— A $25,000 loan to the Raleigh Business and Technology Center was wired into a personal bank account of former Assistant City Manager Lawrence Wray, who was chairman of the business incubator, according to a search warrant released Monday.

A city audit last year found some questionable spending by center officials. The audit also criticized loans and other transactions between the Business and Technology Center and various board members.

During a subsequent police investigation, the incubator's former director accused Wray of using center funds to repay a $25,000 loan that Wray obtained under the guise of trying to pay the center's taxes and defray overhead costs, according to an affidavit to obtain a search warrant for Wray's personal account at Mechanics & Farmers Bank.

The affidavit states that investigators were able to trace repayments of the loan but were never able to find where the $25,000 was initially deposited in the center's accounts. The lender provided police with the routing number for the loan disbursement and noted that Wray was the beneficiary listed on the wire transfer, according to the affidavit.

Investigators matched the routing number with Wray's account at Mechanics & Farmers and have information from "a reliable source" that Wray made a $25,000 withdrawal from the account within 24 hours of the wire transfer, the affidavit states.

Wray said Tuesday that he was unfamiliar with the police investigation and believes that the center's former director is trying to link him to the financial mismanagement at the center.

"I don’t know why (Robert) Robinson is trying to implicate me,” he said.

Wray recalled that Robinson asked him to have the $25,000 loan wired to a personal account because the center's account wasn’t working, but he doesn't recall if the transfer occurred. If it did, he said, he never would have used the money for personal expenses.

Raleigh opened the Business and Technology Center downtown in 2000 to serve as a business incubator, providing inexpensive office space, networking opportunities and other support to start-up companies. The city provided the center with annual appropriations to help finance its operations, but it cut ties with the center after the 2013 audit and ordered the center to vacate its office on South Wilmington Street.


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  • B.c. Jimmy Sep 24, 2014
    user avatar

    at least defense contractors provide a good or service raleighboy.

  • raleighboy524 Sep 24, 2014

    View quoted thread

    True. Just like defense contractors, except on a vastly smaller scale.

  • David McIntee Sep 24, 2014
    user avatar

    more example of the public officials feeding for the trough of the taxpayer. DEMOCRATS!

  • Anita Woody Sep 24, 2014

    Someone asking you if it's okay to wire $25k to your bank account because the center's account was not working? WHEW!
    The first thing I would have done after that would be to tell whomever is in charge and document it. Who would do that? Only in bizarro world.

  • less_govt_is_better_govt Sep 24, 2014

    Gasp! A crook in Raleigh?

    And in other news kids like candy ladies and gentleman.....

  • Sandra Phillips Sep 24, 2014
    user avatar

    @jwsawyer - because they get away with it!!

  • Paladin2 Sep 24, 2014

    Entitlement folks and non profits are a recipe for problems.

  • Veronica Hammond Sep 24, 2014
    user avatar

    "Wray recalled that Robinson asked him to have the $25,000 loan wired to a personal account because the center's account wasn’t working..." -- LOL Sounds believable to me!

  • jwsawyer Sep 23, 2014

    Why do so many think it OK to steal from others?