Local News

Former Lottery Commissioner, Raleigh Mayor Testify Before Grand Jury

Posted November 17, 2005 6:05 a.m. EST

— Did someone promise legislation in exchange for a job or money? A federal grand jury investigation into allegations of illegal political influence continued Thursday with a former lottery commissioner and former Raleigh mayor testifying.

Just days after his sudden resignation from the North Carolina Lottery Commission, former board member Gordon Myers showed up at Federal Court to testify, but neither Myers nor his attorney would speak about the testimony.

In his resignation letter, Myers cited his potential conflict of interest because he's a former executive for the Ingles grocery store chain, which is expected to seek a contract with the state to sell lottery tickets.

Aside from his lottery ties, Myers is chairman of the Asheville-based Advantage West economic development group. The non-profit hired Meredith Norris as a lobbyist. Norris, the former political director for House Speaker Jim Black, is accused of violating lobbying laws and she is considered a key player in the investigation. Records show she linked politicians, such as Black, to people looking to influence legislation.

Former Raleigh Mayor Tom Fetzer was also called to testify before the grand jury Thursday. He worked as a federal lobbyist for a non-profit group that also employed Norris. He offered no comment on what he was asked by the grand jury.

Myers was the second commissioner who was appointed by Black, to resign; Kevin Geddings, who failed to disclose financial ties to a lottery company, also quit. He is also accused of violating lobbying laws.


Kelly Gardner