State News

Black Could Lose His Optometry License

Posted October 16, 2007 10:12 a.m. EDT
Updated October 16, 2007 3:59 p.m. EDT

— The state Board of Optometry has scheduled a December hearing to consider disciplinary action against optometrist and former House Speaker Jim Black.

Black, 72, pleaded guilty in federal court in July to taking more than $25,000 from a group of chiropractors while shepherding legislation favorable to the industry through the General Assembly.

A Superior Court judge also fined Black $1 million after he agreed to accept punishment on charges of bribing former state Rep. Michael Decker in exchange for his support for speaker in 2003. The deal helped Black retain a share of control in the evenly divided House.

Black is now serving more than five years in federal prison. His hearing before the optometry board is set for Dec. 12.

"The fact of your plea and the circumstances surrounding it would be grounds for the board to take disciplinary action against you," the board wrote to Black in a notice dated Oct. 9.

John D. Robinson, the board's executive director, said Black has had the optometry license more than 40 years and has refused to surrender it. Black operated an optometry practice in Charlotte and Matthews while also serving in the state House.