Dalton accuses McCrory of conflict while on city council
Democrat Walter Dalton says Pat McCrory tried to help his employer, Duke Energy, while he was a member of the Charlotte City Council.Posted — Updated
"Who are you really going to represent? Are you going to represent special interests? It's not the first time he's picked special interest if that's what's going on. The North Carolina Supreme Court, and Justice (I. Beverly) Lake, had a case and they said, when he was mayor pro tem, he collaborated with his employer, Duke Energy, to have the City of Charlotte condemn part of a family farm in order to enhance Duke's profit line. And then they said he filed a sworn affidavit and didn't tell the truth. He was looking after that special interest. He wasn't looking after the people; he certainly wasn't looking after the farm."
McCrory said he was surprised by the accusation.
"This is the first I've heard of this. (It is) just amazing this attack on the private sector," McCrory said, adding that he was proud of his experience in the private sector. "The whole time I was mayor, never was there a question of ethical indiscretion."
After the debate, McCrory said he was being attacked "an awful lot" but proud of his performance during the debate.
Asked specifically about Dalton's accusation, McCrory said, "I have no idea what he's talking about ... Everything we did was transparent."
Dalton said after the debate, "I cannot believe he doesn't know about it. The City of Charlotte was one of the defendants."
Dalton mentioned Lake because he was a respected Republican state Supreme Court justice. Lake wrote a dissent in the case. Lake wrote:
McCrory was Mayor Pro Tem of Charlotte in 1994 and was an employee of Duke Energy at the time. This is not a new accusation. The Institute for Southern Studies, a liberal leaning group, referenced the Cook case during the 2008 election.
Campaign spokesman Brian Nick acknowledged in a conversation that the Dalton camp was within its rights to point to that Supreme Court case. However, he said, more context was needed. Specifically, he points out:
- McCrory and a fellow council member who also worked for Duke at the time got a heads up on the project six months before the council vote.
- Minutes from the council meeting don't appear to show that Duke is connected the project.
- McCrory's vote was not needed in order to pass the annexation.
- McCrory only presided over the meeting for a short time, and Mayor Richard Vinroot was in the room when a final vote was taken.
The new information is favorable to McCrory. There's still a question of how the council could have voted on this annexation without knowing they were doing it on behalf of Duke. However, the new information does seem to blunt Dalton's attack somewhat.