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More fallout over confrontation between Wake County school board member Jim Martin and Sen. Neal Hunt

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The controversy over the heated exchange Thursday between Wake County school board member Jim Martin and state Sen. Neal Hunt isn't going away.

Martin contends he wasn't acting unprofessionally when he confronted Hunt in the hallway of the Legislative Office Building. Martin submitted this letter to the editor to explain the exchange.

In a related matter, Tom Fetzer charges that Martin and school board member Susan Evans acted in a threatening and harassing manner when they confronted Hunt.

For a quick recap, Martin had interrupted an interview between a News & Observer reporter and Hunt about Thursday's vote by a Senate committee backing a bill to give the Wake County Board of Commissioners control over school construction.

Martin got close enough to Hunt that the Raleigh Republican told the school board member to "get out of my face."

They then proceeded to have an exchange out of earshot of the reporter by the elevator.

Fetzer, the former Raleigh mayor and state Republican Party Chairman who is now the lobbyist for the Wake commissioners, said he overheard the entire exchange. Fetzer contends that Evans and Martin made remarks to Hunt such as he'd never be elected again because of his support for the school construction bill.

Fetzer contends the two Democratic school board members were so hostile that a sergeant at arms asked Hunt if he should keep them away from him in the future.

In Martin's letter to the editor, he contends that Hunt has been publicly misrepresenting facts about a 2007 Apex land deal.

Hunt, House Speaker Pro Tem Paul Stam and several Wake commissioners have cited the deal as a reason why the school board should no longer be in charge of construction.

In the letter, Martin says the school board offered to pay $8.7 million, or $80,000 an acre, for the site in Apex. He says the appraised value at the time was $9.2 million.

Martin charges that the complaints by commissioners forced the school board to abandon the deal and buy a different western Wake site at $100,000 an acre, costing taxpayers $20,000 more per acre.

The school board wound up purchasing the original Apex site in 2011 for $4.3 million.

"The facts show two things," Martin writes. "First, the great recession, not the county commissioners result in savings on land purchases. Second the checks and balances of the Wake County Board of Education and the Board of Commissioners are important for achieving the best deal for Wake County taxpayers."

Martin omits a couple of details.

People had questioned the $8.7 million price because the seller had acquired the site 10 months earlier for $3.25 million. The $8.7 million offer represented a 168 percent escalation in value.

An outside appraiser hired by Stam determined the land was worth about $3.8 million.

Under pressure from commissioners, the school system hired a second firm to value the property. That appraisal came in at $4.3 million.

1374274393 More fallout over confrontation between Wake County school board member Jim Martin and Sen. Neal Hunt The News and Observer Copyright 2011 The News and Observer . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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I wonder....

if Sen. Hunt is keeping in mind the ways in which the WCPSS tried to intimidate employees. Sen. Hunt has about everything I had in regards to the travesty I endured in 2003 at the hands of the WCPSS. When a female teacher in social studies made inflammatory remarks (at Holly Ridge Middle School) as to Pres Bush and the US Military (as in "he" is f---ing stupid and "he" is a f---ing idiot") I had enough and went to the then principal. Funny enough (that having been in early may) I WAS the one later that month suspended with pay as to "comments" that I HAD made in the educational environment. So....WCPSS.....since I know you pay people to read this.....Sen. Hunt, should he have chosen to hang on to all that I have sent him......he has everything!!!! Including the lies perpetuated by the HR Superintendent who later had to "retire" and I know EXACTLY WHY he had to "retire." In other words.....if you are high up enough in the WCPSS you can lie about employees and, in the case of an asst super, you can harass and then be entitled to a "retirement." It's nice to see WCPSS under the gun now. MIND you that female social studies teacher is still at Holly Ridge and that principal, who lied IN WRITING, are both still a part of the WCPSS system!!!!

Not surprising

This type of intimidating behavior is common place for both of these board members. Just ask wcpss employees.

Who made money?

Hunt repeatedly proves that he does not represent me in the NC Senate, but this time I'm less interested in another petty political exchange. When I read stories like this, I always wonder -- who are these people, the ones who know what land is going to gain in value and how did they get the money together for the investment in the first place. I refreshed my memory about the land deal thru the N and Os archive. Yeah, I guess Goodnight and his partners have the loot. (If I'm correct, Tim Smith and Bubba Rawls are also part of Apex Olive. Lots and lots of $$$$$.) Is this part still true: 'Goodnight said in 2007 that any profit he gained from the sale would be refunded to the school system.' Refund the profits? Why do it, then?


The Apex property is owned by Apex Olive LLC, a development company in which Cary software mogul Jim Goodnight is a partner. Goodnight, the chief executive of SAS Institute, was a strong public advocate of the $970 million school construction bond issue approved by voters in 2006.

The money will be used in the purchase, if the county commissioners approve. Goodnight was out of the country and unavailable for comment, a SAS spokeswoman said.

Goodnight said in 2007 that any profit he gained from the sale would be refunded to the school system.

You don't really expect answers do you?

The only guy that might be able to stir something up from here, if it fits the needs of those in control, is out on a multi-week vacation.

No one else, anywhere else in media, cares to dig up the truth.

I bet if "the right people" were to look deep they could drum up quite a bit during the upcoming school bond propaganda phase on many of those who will be fear mongering the public to try and scare them into voting yes.

Too bad "the right people" don't exist, but good for the rest of us the public has no interest in voting for any more tax hikes to hand over to a rogue school board.

As for the snob Martin and his strong arm sidekick Evans, they deserve a big yawn. They are as predictable, inept and boring as always.

to a large extent this has been the role of WEP

When you look at their 990s they do not actually put any money into the school system. All non-profits have a goal of 70% of their expense going to their mission and 30% going towards operations. This is what earns a 4 star charity navigator rating. WEP is the opposite. Less than 30% goes towards their mission (education) and >70% goes towards operating costs. Goodnight's money goes to WEP to sustain the political relationships that garner favor for land deals such as this one in 2007.
WEP, in the past, has been a major power broker in political relationships between central office and the ITB political power structure. Before I burned all my bridges I sat in meetings at SAS with Ann Denlinger as she tried to mitigate the damage being done to the system by EVAAS and all that the data revealed.
I am very happy to see the CC take control and stop the madness.


Another interesting player in that land deal - Billie Redmond. The one heading up Friends of Wake County in support of this year's bond.

Redmond brought Goodnight's land to WCPSS and defended the $8.7M asking price. She and her partner stood to make a great deal of $$ from the 2006 bond and this shady deal.


Jim Martin is conveniently leaving out many details about this - although I'm not sure why he chooses to rewrite history rather than come up with valid reasons to not transfer construction oversight. If Hunt's argument is silly, then Martin's defense is even sillier. At least Hunt is factual.

The history of WC real

The history of WC real estate and WCPSS are one in the same. Developers and large landowners have profited mightily from that unholy alliance over the decades...at tax payer expense. This bill is a serious threat and has only come about because of the weakness the recession caused with the power and money base of the real estate industry. At least some good may have come out of it all.

I've always thought the

I've always thought the interesting trail to follow would be that of Mayor Meeker's son. Is it David?

so far

he is focused on downtown real estate, he seems to be investing in property with the anticipation that the property will grow in value over the next few years. I see no major land holdings. Or is there something I am missing?

Fighting a 2007 Wake Battle in the 2013 NC General Assembly

....definitely an open-and-shut case here for taking school land deals away from the 2007 school board.
Based on what's in this blog, it sounds to me like the checks and balances already in place worked perfectly in this situation. Too bad the communishners and partisan hacks in the legislature want to destroy that. This whole cluster is a true waste of time, energy, and yes, the $$$ from folks all over NC who are paying $50,000 a day for legislators to micro-manage local government, implement their version of The King Pope Bible, AND overlook the fact that we still have no state budget three weeks into the fiscal year.

But what do we know? We are only sheeple. And voters.

No state budget...3 weeks in

No state budget...3 weeks in to the FY?

I'm betting you haven't ever complained that we've had no Fed budget in FIVE YEARS Obama and the Dems have been in charge. Detroit here we come!

Well, actually....

I have complained quite a bit in emails and other correspondence to our electeds about the lack of controls and accountability on the part of the federal government, not to mention our national inability to restrict entitlements to those who are truly deserving or needy, as opposed to lazy.

See? you thought I was a yellow dog Democrat and a bleeding heart liberal. Not entirely.

The state budget issue, imho, is much closer to home...I personally know a lot of people whose jobs hang in the balance....they need to know whether they have jobs or not; whether they'll be compensated for their advanced learning or just treated like everybody else.

I didn't say anything about

I didn't say anything about entitlements or you being a "bleeding heart liberal". Socialist likely, bleeding heart liberal....probably not.

As for the state budget being closer to home....do you not realize that as the Fed budget continues to go over the cliff, they are going to have to continue to raise taxes to get us out of this mess? As the Fed's raise taxes, that's less and less money for our state. It is ALL connected and its about time people like you realized that.

I'm so intrigued by your last comment about people with "advanced learning" and whether or not they should be "treated like everybody else". Can you PLEASE explain? Without knowing ANY details, I can already tell you that YES, they SHOULD be treated like "everybody else! Those of us working in the private sector with "advanced learning" have our jobs in the balance EVERY DAY...so get over it!

you sound like Jim Martin


And I want to make a point about Martin, Kushner and Evans. They listen very closely to what they are told by their party and always have. They don't look at historical information, they don't look at the data. like previous board members they "know in their heart" that something is true.

This whole land deal discussion has gotten Jim caught with his pants down. He was not told about the appraised value of the land, of the political shenanigans of his party in order to make a major profit at the expense of the taxpayers. He was doing his "job" in his mind, he was aggressively going after the evil GOP who are "distorting" the truth about the land deal. While in reality it was the democrats who told him a half truth and made him look like a fool. I almost - almost - feel bad for him. Almost.

Keung, Why did you say "an


Why did you say "an N&O reporter"? It wasn't just any reporter, it was YOU! You are a first hand eye witness. Why don't you share your first-hand account?

I cross posted on the Under

I cross posted on the Under the Dome blog, which doesn't go first person. As noted in the post, I didn't hear what was said by the elevator after I finished talking with Hunt.

Also, I do have some posts running over the next two weeks but I'm on vacation until Aug. 6. Don't expect me to be responding to questions while I'm gone.

I'm more interested in your

I'm more interested in your opinion of whether Martins actions were threatening or not.

Have a good vacation.

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About the blogger

T. Keung Hui covers Wake schools.