At the state Board of Elections hearing in October, developer Gary Allen was asked about Ruffin Poole. Here is a transcript of the exchange, which touched on contacts made by Allen and his partner Lanny Wilson as well as former Gov. Mike Easley's chief fundraiser, Michael Hayden.
Q Do you know Ruffin Poole?
A I do.
Q How do you know Mr. Poole?
A I believe Lanny Wilson introduced him to me, I don't know, sometime maybe early 2000, 2001 or '2 or somewhere along in there.
Q Did you ever have any business relationship with him?
A No. I don't have any business relationship with him.
Q Was he trying to assist you at all with the Oyster Harbour project?
A Yes. Yeah, he tried. I think Lanny contacted him to ask him if he could help to get someone to look at the fact I was complaining about the delay. And so--it just seemed unreasonably long to me, so I think he asked--asked Ruffin if he, you know, could get somebody to take a look at that that maybe would have enough knowledge, detailed knowledge, in the staff and---
Q Detail knowledge in the staff of---
A Detailed knowledge in terms of looking at the issue that was involved about the grass or the--and how we might--we needed to talk to somebody that could give us a little guidance on what we needed to do to meet the concerns of the staff, so I think he--we asked him to--I asked Lanny and Lanny got him.
And then I asked him to--you know, if he would, you know, see if he could get someone to take a look at it. As it turned out, though, I don't know that much came of that. It was really the outside experts that re‑engineered the bridge and the boat ramp that moved the thing forward with the staff.
Q So did you meet or have a conversation with Ruffin Poole about it?
A I don't recall whether I met with him or not, but we talked about it.
Q You talked with him directly about it?
A Either we talked about it or--you know, I talked to him about it or wrote him a letter, communicated with him somehow.
Q Do you think you wrote him a letter?
A Possible. I think I communicated with him about it. I just remember that Lanny--Lanny knew him a lot better than I did. I didn't know him very well, but--at that point in time. And so we talked about it, and I don't recall specifically if it was a phone or a letter. But I talked to him about it and--I talked to Lanny and then he set up something where I think--it may have been a phone and a letter. I don't know.
Q What was your understanding of Mr. Poole's position within the government?
A I believe Lanny said he was, you know, counsel to Governor Easley. Specifically his job description I don't know beyond that.
Q And you thought he would have some insight into how the Division of Water Quality functioned?
A Well, yeah, I assume. Lanny must have thought so or he wouldn't have got him, you know, to communicate with me about it.
Q Now, was Lanny's request to him before or after Lanny had asked you for money for the Easley campaign or for the Democrat Party?
A You know, I don't really recall. I don't--to me those things were not really tied together in any way anyway. And I don't recall the dates of it all.
Q In your discussions with Lanny Wilson were you talking about other matters, or how often did you talk with Lanny Wilson?
A With, you know, some degree of frequency in those days because he was a partner in the project, so--I don't know whether it was once a month or, you know, once every two months or three months, but, you know, some degree of frequency, I guess.
Q Would you have contributed the money in any event?
A Yes. I--when Lanny asked me to do--make a
contribution, I made a decision based upon his request at the time, and it really had nothing to do with anything else.
Q Do you have any thoughts on why Ruffin Poole would brief Michael Hayden about Oyster Harbour?
A I don't particularly, no.