WRAL Investigates

NC minority leader a no-show in court

Posted May 11, 2011 5:51 p.m. EDT
Updated May 26, 2011 2:29 p.m. EDT

— The head of one of the largest minority chambers of commerce in the Southeast failed to show up Wednesday for a court appearance on a traffic citation that's put him at the center of a WRAL News investigation.

In April, Brandon Trainer, director of the North Carolina Black Chamber of Commerce, was pulled over in Orange County for speeding.

Officers found out, at the time, that Trainer, 26, is also wanted in Clay County, Mo., on a charge of felony theft. He is accused of acting as a mortgage broker and taking $1,500 from a woman whose family was devastated by Hurricane Katrina.

He was arrested in 2006, and after posting bond, he left Missouri. He resurfaced in Raleigh three years later, where he started the N.C. Black Chamber of Commerce.

It's unclear what happened to membership fees from the chamber's more than 200 members, who each paid $300 to join.

Since a WRAL Investigates report earlier this month, the chamber's website has been taken down. His personal and professional social networking sites, which were continually updated, have gone still, and a cellphone number he provided to contact him for an interview has been disconnected.

The United States Black Chamber of Commerce, where Trainer served as a board member and treasurer, has also removed his biography from its website.

WRAL Investigates has tried for weeks to contact the parent group but hasn't received a response.

Trainer has a criminal court date in Orange County in July for the out-of-state fugitive from justice charge.

Trainer told WRAL Investigates earlier this month that he "simply forgot" about his outstanding charges in Missouri.