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The Charlotte Observer (6-11-06) reports Governor Easley brought a piece of North Carolina ocean front paradise on Bogue Sound at the entrance of a 75-slip marina near Emerald Isle. And he got a deal.

According to the Observer, Easley bought the lot “last year for $549,880.” Which was just 3 percent above its assessed tax value. The Observer also “found 49 adjacent waterfront lots in the development sold for on average of 20% above tax value; some were as much as 36 percent higher.”

And that’s not all.

The Observer reports the Governor has appointed his “broker, the projects developer, and the man who helped finance the development” to high-profile state boards. 

The Governor appointed McQueen Campbell, his broker, to the North Carolina State University Board of Trustees in 2001. He also appointed Campbell’s father to the State Board of Transportation.

While Easley’s purchase was pending he appointed developer “Randy Allen to the State Wildlife Resources Commission.”

And he appointed investor Larry Wilson of Wilmington, who helped finance the development, to the Transportation Board in 2001.

The Observer reports developers like to “snare celebrities to help sell pricey developments.” And Ronnie Watson, an Emerald Isle realtor adds, “I’m sure they used his name to help them sell the property.”

Perhaps they did.

But the Governor is doing business with people he appoints to powerful state boards like the Board of Transportation. Maybe everyone involved is pure as the driven snow. But given the other recent scandals it would have been refreshing if the Governor had said, ‘You know, this just doesn’t look right.’ And passed up the deal.

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Braxton Perry
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