One of the men issued a subpoena in the Easley case is airplane owner Rusty Carter, a former fraternity brother at UNC-Chapel Hill. Carter spoke of those college days for an alumni article, and it offers a detail about Easley that might not seem all surprising, in light of news reports this year.
Mike Easley's lawyer for the election hearing is apparently Thomas Hicks, a longtime associate who had been an assistant district attorney under Easley when he was a prosecutor in the southeastern part of the state.
Hicks, who is in private practice in Wilmington handling criminal, traffic, divorce and other cases, was also on Easley's staff when he was attorney general.
Hicks did not return a call. But his assistant returned a call and referred all questions to an Easley spokesman in California.
Two former Republican lawmakers want elections chairman Larry Leake to step aside from the Easley hearing. Leake says he doesn't plan to.
Please use this spot to discuss the ongoing hearing by the state Board of Elections. We will keep a link to the discussion at the top of the Investigations blog, so you do not have to scroll down to find this posting each time you want to return to catch up on the chatter. This is also why you don't see the comment function turned on at other posts. We hope doing it this way proves helpful, and please feel free to let us know what you think.
A campaign finance watchdog group, Democracy North Carolina, filed a
formal complaint in July that asked the state Board of Elections to
conduct open hearings into activities of the campaign of former Gov.
Mike Easley and the state Democratic Party.
The hearings begin Oct. 26. Click below to read the letter.
Superior Court Judge Howard Manning said Monday that an new executive order signed by Gov. Bev Perdue requiring her administration to retain government e-mail fully complies with the state's public records law.
However, the judge took no action on a motion from lawyers for Perdue to dismiss the lawsuit filed by several North Carolina news organizations, including The News & Observer and The Charlotte Observer, over former Gov. Mike Easley's mass deletion of government e-mails.
The lawsuit was filed last year after a former spokeswoman for the state Department of Health and Human Services publicly disclosed orders she recieved to delete all e-mails sent to and from the governor's office each day.
Without conceding that any e-mails were deleted by the Easley administration, Special Deputy Attorney General Dale Talbert challenged lawyers for the media organizations to produce the deleted e-mails to prove they were, in fact, deleted.
Talbert also argued that Manning could not issue a legal finding of fact in civil court that the Easley administration deleted e-mails because that would indicate the former governor committed a criminal act for which he has not been tried in criminal court. Knowingly destroying public records is a misdemeanor under state law.
Talbert said the media lawsuit, which was originally filed when Easley was still governor, is no longer valid because the new governor has issued an order telling her administration to follow the law.
Though he delayed making any ruling on the motion to dismiss, Judge Manning did not appear to buy the argument that the suit was no longer valid just because a new person occupies the Governor's Mansion.
"I'm declaring the new governor's policy to have a clean bill of health," Manning said to Amanda Martin, the lawyer representing the media organizations. "But I'm not going to dismiss your case today."
Manning gave Martin 30 days to review a lengthy new policy regarding e-mail retention released by the state Department of Cultural Resources last week and to update their complaint to reflect the new action taken by Perdue.
Manning appeared to agree with Talbert, however, that he should not issue a judicial order requiring Perdue's people to actually implement and follow the order she signed.
"I'm not going to order them to comply with the law," the judge said. "People are supposed to comply with the law."
Manning observed that the next step in the case would be for the state to provide the lawyers for the media organizations documents through discovery that could prove uncomfortable for Easley, who is now under scrutiny by both state election officials and federal prosecutors for alleged campaign finance violations and influence peddling.
"As if the former governor doesn't have enough to worry about," Manning lamented.
The Mary Easley mess has complicated life for N.C. State's fundraisers.
At least, that's what can be gleaned from some of the many letters and e-mails contained within last week's massive document dump. NCSU is releasing hundreds of pages of documents related to the controversial hiring of the state's former First Lady as a federal investigation into her husband's dealings continues.
If you want to read through these hundreds and hundreds of documents, go for it. Here's the link.
In reading through some of this, I've been struck by the damage being done to fundraising as the details of Mrs. Easley's change in pay and job description last year emerge. Clearly, some NCSU alums are less than thrilled with their university.
In one exchange, NCSU's development chief, Nevin Kessler, writes a letter to an alum disenchanted with the university for soliciting money from him while at the same time giving Mrs. Easley her new job and a salary of $170,000. In it, Kessler explained the process by which Mrs. Easley received her expanded job duties, emphasizes NCSU's desire to remain affordable, and finishes with a pitch for the alum to change his mind about giving to the university.
"Unrestricted alumni support is what helps balance affordability and quality at N.C. State," he writes. "I hope you will agree that the university merits your financial support."
In another e-mail, we find another angry alum explaining why he's putting the checkbook away. Here's the whole letter, sent to Ann Horner, who directs NCSU's annual giving initiative.
"I received your letter asking for my 2008-2009 gift," the alum wrote. "Simply stated, if NCSU can afford to give Mary Easley an $80,000 salary increase it no longer needs my support. As a three-time NCSU graduate I have always taken great pride in The School and cannot overstate my disappointment in this matter."
"That the Chancellor of NCU would give such a rich reward to the wife of a sitting governor has lowered my respect for the chancellor and, sadly, for The School as well."
Another too-long yet interesting letter about the N.C. State situation:
A few letters, most recently by Prof. Phil Doerr on June 19, have been written in reaction to Larry Nielsen's speech to the N.C. State "faculty," from which the N&O printed excerpts on June 6 [read them here]. The speech is stunning on many levels, but it is most likely the most stunning to the "other faculty" who do not have a work situation even close to the reality about which Nielsen waxes so poetically.
Nielsen's speech addressed only the Tenured or Tenure-Track Faculty. However, an increasingly greater number of faculty on college campuses across the country are Non-Tenure Track "contract" Faculty or Adjunct "class only basis" Faculty. Even these two "other" levels of faculty are quite different.
Non-Tenure Track (NTT) faculty teach higher courseloads, those courses with larger enrollments, and courses at less optimum times than the Tenure Track faculty. Though fringe benefits (like health care and retirement) are included, the pay is greatly reduced ostensibly because of the lack of research requirements. However, there are NTT faculty with Ph.D. and post-doctoral degrees who do engage in research and do participate in levels of service just as the Tenured and Tenure-Track faculty do, some out of a commitment to the profession and some out of the distant hope that they may be considered for a tenure track opening one day, though this rarely happens.
Adjunct faculty are in the worst position of all. They are hired as "temporaries" for certain classes on a class-by-class basis. Some people teach a class or two because they like the university environment and it's some extra income. But for those Adjuncts who try to use the position as a tenuous stepping stone to more permanent or full-time work, cobbling together a living wage with NO fringe benefits is very difficult. Recall that the first number thrown out to the inquiry by Easley's assistant was only $4,000 per class. Again, several Adjunct faculty with Ph.D. and post-doctoral degrees engage in research and service in hopes of one day landing a coveted permanent position (though often Adjuncts are overlooked in the permanent hiring process).
For both the NTT or Adjunct faculty, the pressure to perform and never get into any disputes with other faculty, staff and students is extremely ever-present. There is no sacred principle of academic freedom to hide behind as with the Tenured faculty. Indeed, these "other faculty" can be gone in a moment for little or no reason.
It's interesting that the public thinks that the faculty of college campuses are liberal leaning, and yet a great number of the faculty (in the 40 percentile at NC State before the recent round of budget cutting ousted the underpaid adjunct faculty without concomitant cuts in staff) are treated as piecemeal, temporary wage earners in the knowledge industry. Many faculty rail against work conditions in foreign countries while doing nothing about the plight of other educational professionals on their own college campus! And while it varies college to college on campus, the NTT and Adjunct faculty are clearly made aware of their lowly status by the Tenured faculty and the administration.
The N&O owes a service to these "other faculty" to set the record straight to the public on the extreme divisions in the priviledges of the Tenured/Tenure-Track faculty and the Non-Tenure Track and Adjunct faculty, the latter who — in Nielsen's own words — DO get evaluated routinely, not "every five years or so" where peers say, "Cool, go for it"; DO NOT enjoy "an incredible level of job security . . . and the promise of lifelong employment"; DO NOT get to "follow lines of inquiry and creativity without a close look to the bottom line," because as the recent budget cuts show, these faculty ARE the bottom line!
New documents released today from N.C. State show that while he was Governor, Mike Easley played a role in the hiring of his wife, Mary Easley, at NCSU.
The documents trace e-mail communications between James Oblinger, the NCSU Chancellor who resigned just this morning, and McQueen Campbell, an Easley family friend and NCSU trustee. The e-mail string also includes comments from Easley advisor Dan Gerlach and others.
Read more here.