WRAL Investigates

Fired troopers allegedly ran outside businesses on duty

Posted May 10, 2011 3:04 p.m. EDT
Updated May 18, 2011 11:49 a.m. EDT

— Two North Carolina State Highway Patrol troopers fired last week were accused of running outside businesses while on duty, according to a letter obtained by WRAL Investigates.

Trooper Hubert Sealey, 45, and Lt. Michael Faison, 42, were dismissed May 3 following an internal investigation into "non-criminal personnel issues," Highway Patrol officials said. No other details were released.

The men, who were assigned to Troop B in Fayetteville, couldn't be reached Tuesday for comment.

A Sept. 14 letter to Gov. Beverly Perdue signed "Concerned Troopers of Troop B" alleged that Sealey and former Trooper Melvin Stephens openly flaunted how much money they made off government contracts for health care companies that they operate.

Records from the North Carolina Secretary of State's Office show Sealey owns Project Challenge, a nonprofit he founded two years ago in Fairmont. Stephens operates Stephens Outreach Center, a mental health outreach center in Lumberton, and Capital View Healthcare Center, a drug treatment center in Cumberland County.

"They snicker that they submit claims for alleged services provided to the government ... and that most of it is done from their cell phone while on duty," the letter alleged.

Project Challenge is not connected to a nonprofit of the same name based in Spruce Pine that operates in 35 counties statewide.

Whenever auditors raised questions about their billings, the letter said, Sealey and Stephens would show up for hearings in uniform to intimidate the auditors.

Stephens retired from the Highway Patrol on May 1.

Faison incorporated Helping Hands Care Management Services 11 years ago, according to state records. The Wallace nonprofit provides mental health and substance abuse treatment, and its website openly notes that Faison works with the Highway Patrol.

"So much for supervisors monitoring their subordinates," the letter states.

The Highway Patrol has declined to comment on the cases of the three troopers, but spokesman First Sgt. Jeff Gordon said the agency has a strict policy regarding when troopers can work second jobs and prohibiting potential conflicts of interest.

"We don't want anybody to do anything negatively that's going to affect the patrol in a negative manner nor for the member," Gordon said. "Most importantly, we don't want a member to do secondary employment that's going to affect their day-to-day jobs as troopers."

Sealey, who also is a Robeson County commissioner, had been with the patrol since January 2003 and was assigned to the Motor Carrier Enforcement Division.

Faison had been with the patrol since November 1991 and was assigned to Troop B headquarters.

The troopers have appealed their dismissals.