Record: Dealer owns Mike Jr.'s car

Easley says he now has title to vehicle

Staff writerMarch 29, 2009 

Like his mother, Mike Easley Jr. has been driving a car that records show is owned by a car dealer.

The blue 2000 GMC Yukon driven by Easley Jr. is owned, insured and listed for property tax in the name of Bleecker Olds Buick GMC in Red Springs, records show.

In an e-mail message Friday, the former governor said the Yukon "was a lease car and I paid the residual instead of turning it back in. ... So the car is titled in my name now instead of the lease title. I really don't know how all that works. I just write the check and they send the tag."

Documents indicate that Bleecker once declared its intention to lease the vehicle, but did not list a lessee. Registration records filed with the state also do not list anyone leasing the vehicle.

Bleecker has been paying property taxes on the vehicle, records show.

It is not clear how long Mike Easley Jr. has been behind the wheel. He is a law student at UNC-Chapel Hill, and the windshield has a UNC parking sticker. The rear window has a state Highway Patrol sticker.

Easley Jr. reported a break-in of his car in June 2007, but the section of the police report listing the type of car is blank. The report says a backpack was stolen "from bed area of vehicle."

Robert F. Bleecker, owner of the dealership, could not be reached for comment. Since 1992, Bleecker's family has donated about $21,000 to Easley's campaigns. State Sen. Tony Rand, a close political ally of Mike Easley, said he sits on the board of directors of a Bleecker company but said he knew nothing about the vehicle.

Bleecker's business has sought state contracts. The company was a low bidder on a portion of a state contract to supply law enforcement vehicles in the 2008 model year. It is not clear if actual purchases were made.

In 2001, the Department of Justice spent $62,300 at Bleecker for four cars.

The car Easley Jr. is driving was bought by Bleecker's dealership from itself in January 2003. The price was $16,935, records show. Bleecker registered the vehicle and obtained a private license plate.

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