Debra Goldman's lawyer defends her
An attorney for Wake County school board member Debra Goldman is speaking out after police, this week, reopened a burglary case involving more than $100,000 of cash and property reported stolen from Goldman's Cary home.Posted — Updated
"I think this is really old news. It's a domestic case," John Austin said Friday evening. "The only reason this is front page news is because she is running for statewide office."
Goldman, who is running for North Carolina state auditor, called Cary police on June 12, 2010, to report about $100,000 worth of jewelry, $20,000 in cash and $10,000 in coins missing from her home, according to a police report.
Her husband, Steven Goldman, told WRAL News that police contacted him this week about the jewelry, and he said that he refused to file an insurance claim because he was suspicious about the theft.
"I purchased about $100,000 of jewelry for her, and she still has about $100,000 worth of jewelry," Steve Goldman said. He stopped short of saying nothing had been stolen.
"Things that she believed were stolen, remain stolen," Austin said, adding that Steven Goldman did file a claim for what he called "a pretty sizeable amount."
"I've got documents that show that he did. He filed claims for the jewelry, and they were signed by him," Austin said. "My understanding is that nothing was paid."
Austin added that the Goldmans are in the middle of an acrimonious divorce and that Steven Goldman wants "to punish" Debra Goldman.
An anonymous source sent the police report and case notes to WRAL News and at least one other local news outlet last week. Although the police report is public record, case notes are not always included. Cary Police Chief Pat Bazemore has confirmed the authenticity of the documents and said she has launched an investigation into how the notes were leaked.
Austin said he has not yet seen the documents.
Debra Goldman initially told investigators that her political opponents might have been responsible for the thefts, according to investigators' notes. Days later, she accused fellow school board member Chris Malone.
Cary police questioned Malone but determined Goldman's claim was unfounded. In October 2010, investigators closed the case.
Deanna Boone, a spokeswoman for the Town of Cary, said Friday that investigators are looking again after receiving new information, but she would not specify what that information might be.
Austin said police have not yet contacted his client or him.
The 2010 police notes also detailed an alleged romantic relationship in 2009 and 2010 between Debra Goldman and Malone, raising questions about her past actions on the school board – specifically whether she voted in October 2010 against a version of the Republican-backed student assignment plan because of Malone.
Ron Margiotta, who was school board chairman from 2009 until last year, said Thursday that it was possible that a relationship and theft accusations swayed her vote.
"Now that I've learned that the date Malone was disqualified as a candidate for the burglary of her house, it certainly coincides with the time that she came in with the directive to stop us," he said.
Debra Goldman has denied any romantic relationship with Malone. In the 2010 police notes, she told investigators that Malone wanted a romantic relationship and would frequently send her text messages but that she rebuffed his advances.
"She denies any sort of contact whatsoever," Austin said. "But, apparently, they had become close. Perhaps, there was some flirting going on, but nothing more than that."
Austin also said that Margiotta had no evidence that Debra Goldman's relationship with Malone affected her work on the board.
"We have evidence that Ron knew there was no connection (between the alleged relationship and the vote)," Austin said. "There will be evidence that, in the presence of Ron, she told Chris Malone to stop contacting her, and Chris Malone admitted there wasn't anything between them."
As to why Malone told police there was a relationship similar to "high school kids dating," Austin couldn't say.
"I don't know why people tell the police things," he said.
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