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: