Local News

Former Easley fundraiser appears at federal courthouse

Posted July 8, 2009 4:20 p.m. EDT
Updated July 8, 2009 6:57 p.m. EDT

— In the latest sign that a federal investigation into the dealings of former Gov. Mike Easley continues, a former North Carolina State University fundraiser who worked with Mary Easley went to the federal courthouse with her attorney Wednesday.

Wendy Brown was a development officer for N.C. State who helped raise money from corporations and other private sources for programs run by Mary Easley. Part of that money went to pay for Easley's salary, which has raised questions about potential conflicts of interest.

Brown, who was laid off in March, and attorney Philip Isley declined to comment about their trip to the federal courthouse.

The federal grand jury wasn't meeting Wednesday, but investigators have continued to compile evidence in the case.

The grand jury already has looked into Mike Easley's travel while in office, vehicles provided to the Easley family, a land deal at a waterfront development in Carteret County, the sale of a Southport marina and Mary Easley's job at N.C. State.

Questions surrounding Mary Easley's hiring in 2005 and an 88 percent pay raise last year have caused a shake-up at the school, with Chancellor James Oblinger, Provost Larry Nielsen and McQueen Campbell, the chairman of the Board of Trustees, resigning their positions in the past two months.

All have denied any wrongdoing in her hiring and promotion, although a series of e-mails the university turned over to the grand jury show that Campbell discussed a potential N.C. State job for Mary Easley with the governor and worked with Oblinger and Nielsen to make it happen.

N.C. State terminated Easley's five-year contract June 8, ending her $170,000-a-year job as an executive-in-residence and senior lecturer. Officials cited state budget cuts as the reason for the move.

Easley has appealed the termination.