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When Ruffin Poole was twenty-five years old and fresh out of law school he went to work for Mike Easley; he’s thirty-seven now and indicted for 51 counts of everything from extortion to racketeering and could go to prison for 85 years.
 
What went wrong – for a small town boy from Kinston? For twelve years Poole watched Mike Easley taking free trips, enjoying free perks and making real estate deals with supporters who wanted something in return from state government – and before long Poole started aping his mentor.
 
Easley took free trips.
 
So did Poole. Six trips to Costa Rica.
 
Easley got a $130,000 discount on a beachfront lot at mogul Lanny Wilson’s Cannonsgate development.
 
Poole invested $100,000 in Cannonsgate – and made a $30,000 profit in four months.
 
Easley took free golf outings.
 
So did Poole.
 
Poole got a free trip to New Orleans for a bachelor’s party, a free engagement party, a free beach weekend at a Figure Eight Island resort and free liquor for his wedding reception – he watched Easley, served Easley and copied Easley and now Poole’s indicted. So what does his old mentor say?
 
Walking what sounds like a very uneasy line Easley’s attorney carefully explained the Governor has no knowledge about the allegations against Poole but “he has faith in Ruffin Poole and finds it hard to believe that he would ever intentionally violate the law.”
 
Translation: ‘I know nothing but Ruffin, while you’re talking to the prosecutors, remember I’m still your friend.’
 
Mike Easley may know nothing or he may know quite a lot but either way Mike Easley made his own unique contribution to Ruffin Poole’s downfall. Our children learn the most from us not by what we tell them or teach them but what they see us do. It is how we live and act day to day and not our words that permeates their lives.
 
Ruffin Poole was twenty-five – he was a young man from a small town in an intoxicating political maze and he should have known better but a different mentor might also have led to a happier outcome.
 

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3 comments on “A Young Man in a Political Maze

  1. -1 says:

    You draw a reasonable conclusion to the effect that Gov. Easley would have had on his young, devoted aide, Ruffin Poole, who at 25 years of age began his service for the State. And, oh, what he apparently learned at Gov. Easley’s knee.

    As a Democrat running for public office–NC Senate Dist. 15– for the first time, I know that at my age, 62, I am grounded enough to say no to dishonest situations that will be presented to me, if I win office. I cannot imagine if I had entered the political world at 25 what I would have done if exposed to the influences that Poole was introduced to. It is painful for our body politic to see any public servant, Democrat or Republican, forget his or her principles. But, folks, there are still good people in politics. I have to believe it and do believe it. Let’s not let the bad ones keep the rest of us from being dedicated to our system of representative government.

  2. -1 says:

    So when did it become apparent to you that Easley was one of the bad ones? If you didn’t see it when he started using thousands of taxpayer dollars to jump start his first campaign for governor by means of phoney ‘public service announcements’ (recall that he was the Attorney General at the time), then how can we know you’re not just as bad as he is?

  3. -1 says:

    Wonder when our Attorney General going to get off his butt, and go after the Weasel?

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