corruption

Dana Cope's fall from grace continues

Leaving sweat stains on his proper shirts:

The News & Observer independently obtained additional records of Cope’s spending. They show he used a SEANC credit card last fall for purchases from a luxury tour company, a North Hills art gallery, a Texas purveyor of upscale Western wear and a London clothier.

Those sorts of expenditures have prompted Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman to ask investigators to broaden their inquiry into Cope’s spending. In addition, SEANC is working to claw back a severance payment given to Cope when he resigned.

Don't have much sympathy for SEANC's efforts to "claw back" (love that terminology, by the way) whatever size pile of money they gave Cope when he exited the stage. They had ample evidence he had sunk his claws into a lot of Association funds for personal use in recent years, so throwing more money at him was inappropriate at best. Here's some of that personal use:

Dana Cope's questionable spending of SEANC funds

It's good to be the King Executive Director:

A memo justified the check as computer work done by the D.C. company with a name very similar to the local landscaping company. The owner of the computer company said he closed the firm in 2003 and never worked in North Carolina. Cope and SEANC’s general counsel admit the memo is phony but will not explain beyond saying it’s a personnel matter.

There was irrigation work done at the SEANC building four months later. But that work cost $685.25 and was done by a long-established company in Garner, records show. Since last March, Cope has directed SEANC to write checks totaling $109,078.50 to Perspective Landscape Concepts, the company also working on projects at Cope’s Raleigh home, or to its owner, Perry Pope.

Pope, the owner of Perspective Landscape Concepts, declined to say whether SEANC money had paid for work at Cope’s house. “I don’t want to answer that question,” Pope said. “I don’t have to answer that question.”

For those SEANC board members wringing their hands over this, you have nobody to blame but yourselves. We've been calling for Cope's ouster since before any of these checks were written, for several good reasons. And when you continue to support him as you have done and apparently still are:

Mining & Energy Commission to NC citizens: frack you!

In case there was ever any doubt, the NC Mining & Energy Commission has made it abundantly clear that it is nothing but a tool of the dirty-energy fracking industry.

The commission tasked with writing North Carolina’s fracking safety rules is not going to revise any of its proposed rules even though a staff recommendation this week from the N.C. Rules Review Commission said three of the rules require public comment before they can be approved.

Instead, the N.C. Mining and Energy Commission agreed Friday that it will argue that the Rules Review Commission should adopt all 124 proposed fracking rules.

Black Clinging to Innocence and Power With All His Might

Speaker Jim Black said that he is seeking a fifth term as speaker and is innocent of all charges. In fact he claims there is no investigation. According to the Daily Reflector:

N.C. House Speaker Jim Black on Monday called news reports about a federal investigation involving his office inaccurate and reiterated his intention to remain in his leadership position.

In an interview on the Talk 1070 (WNCT-AM) program "Talk of the Town," Black maintained he is not being investigated and is not guilty of any crime.

Two Interesting Links

Perusing today's papers, I found two interesting links that readers might want to check out:

1) The Winston-Salem Journal does an interesting roundup of recent clashes between branches of the North Carolina government and how separation of powers is working here. The article includes a brief summary of an action to invalidate the state's recent lottery.

2) The N&O has an article that begins:

Like country singer Tammy Wynette, North Carolina House Democrats are standing by their man.

And concludes that Jim Black is staying in power despite all of his recent troubles here. I was previously saying that Jim Black must go, but you cannot argue with country music.

Jim Black Back to Questionable Behavior

Yesterday, Jim Black came out with a muted apology. Nothing specific that he did wrong, just "mistakes" (from Winston-Salem Journal):

"I have made some mistakes in judgment, and if I could do some things again, would do them differently," Black told reporters.

But in the same paper, it is revealed that Black spent money on criminal defense attorneys from his campaign fund. Again from the W-S Journal:

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