New Hanover County

Former GOP County Chair accuses Senator Michael Lee of "influence peddling"

Sometimes swinging your weight around makes you fall over:

The complaint was filed by William R. Shell and Terry Reilly, both of whom spoke during public hearings for The Avenue development on Military Cutoff Road. Sent to the North Carolina State Ethics Commission, the complaint alleges, in short, that Lee uses his position as a state senator to implicitly pressure New Hanover County and Wilmington boards when he appears before them in his private role an attorney for developers.

“There is nothing illegal about lawyers who are members of the General Assembly representing private clients,” the complaint reads. “However, the problem here is that Lee is representing those clients before local governmental boards and commissions which are dependent upon the North Carolina General Assembly for things they wish to have done and funding and frankly, for even their existence … the members of the governing boards of counties and cities cannot afford to cross a local senator.”

If you don't think local government officials worry about getting on the "wrong side" of General Assembly members, especially those in the NC Senate, think again. Not only because of grants and earmarks that municipalities are desperate for, but there's always the aura of the stick, as well. And with our weird "local bill" rules that preclude a Gubernatorial Veto, if you piss off the wrong person, all of a sudden your zoning and taxing authority evaporates. This is most definitely a conflict of interest, and I am not (one tiny bit) surprised that Tom Fetzer is right up in the middle of it:

Wilmington Race Riots in the New York Times

An important event in North Carolina's history was the Wilmington race riots of 1898, which resulted in the only successful overthrow of a local government in the history of the United States. The riot occurred on November 10, 1898, an election day. The City was being run by a Black and Republican government during reconstruction. On the election day, the Republicans were defeated in part by a ballot box stuffing campaign. After the vote, some Whites attempted to gain control of the city immediately. When the sitting government refused, riots ensued.

The first headline in New York regarding the event was entitled "Whites Kill Negroes and Seize City of Wilmington" (photo included below). The newest headline in New York addresses not just the event but also the findings of the Wilmington Race Commission, a commission created by the NC legislature to examine the events. The New York Times posted a story entitled "North Carolina City Confronts Its Past in Report on White Vigilantes" today here.

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