Did the school system get suckered by imprisoned former state House Speaker Jim Black as he settled the fine in his corruption case?
That's the implication in the Carolina Journal, which is reporting that the school system agreed to take from Black two parcels of undeveloped real estate in Mecklenburg County to satisfy the remaining half of a $1 million fine. The problem, according to the Journal, is that recent property revaluations put the value of the land at $150,000.
In addition, the Journal is reporting that school board attorneys and Wake County prosecutors agreed to the deal without notifying school board members ahead of time. A few school board members were told about the deal by Supt. Del Burns weeks after it was completed.
"They completely disregarded the school board on this,” said school board member Ron Margiotta in the article. “At the very least, I wanted to know what was going on. I am embarrassed by it.”
The school system will now try to sell the property. But the Journal questions whether the school system would have been wiser in getting Black to pay for the fine by sellling other property he owns in Mecklenburg and Iredell counties that is valued at $4 million.