McQueen Campbell counted on Poole

Staff WriterJanuary 22, 2010 

McQueen Campbell once wrote a letter bragging about his and developer Gary Allen's connections in state government. When interviewed last year, he wouldn't say more.

The indictment issued Thursday provided new details. It says Campbell's go-to guy was Ruffin Poole, an aide to former Gov. Mike Easley.

The indictment, which charges Poole with corruption, says that Campbell and Poole were "particularly close." It outlines numerous examples of Campbell relying on Poole to make sure permits were on the fast track.

Easley appointed Campbell twice to the N.C. State University board of trustees , but he resigned last year after acknowledging he played a role in Mary Easley's job there.

The indictment describes help that Campbell and Allen, a Charlotte developer, got from Poole on projects in Carteret and Pamlico counties.

And the indictment included a portion of a 2003 letter from Campbell to Gary Allen, written before the two worked together. Campbell was trying to interest him in what would become Cannonsgate, it says.

"If you ever need any help from the Governor's office don't hesitate to give me a call and I'll be happy to help," Campbell wrote, according to the indictment.

The indictment includes a portion of a letter Campbell wrote in 2006 asserting that he and Allen cut in half their time on a sewer permit at Cannonsgate, the controversial development in Carteret County where Easley bought a lot at a discounted price.

The letter was part of The News & Observer's series in May that revealed dealings between Campbell and Easley.

The indictment offered new details, saying that in May 2005, as the Cannonsgate project came together, Campbell wrote to Poole seeking aid. Poole's help "would be greatly appreciated by everyone involved and will insure (sic) the project closes and they hit their marketing dates in late summer [or] early fall," Campbell wrote.

A quick reply

Within an hour, Poole responded: "I will get to work on these issues," according to the indictment.

In June 2005, according to the indictment, Allen and his brother, Randy, became concerned that a state official was headed to a vacation without sending a pending permit to other agencies for comment, creating a potential delay. One of the developers contacted Campbell about the holdup.

Campbell wrote back about two hours later: "Just got off the phone with the Gov.'s office ... [the agency] will be releasing the plans to the other agencies for their approvals on Monday of next week!"

In 2007, Campbell spotted land in Pamlico County for development and received an $800,000 commission for finding it, the indictment says.

The developers then ran into problems getting approvals for it. Campbell and the developers talked, and they decided to work first through a state permit official.

"Good strategy," Campbell wrote in an e-mail, according to the indictment. "We can always go above them if it doesn't work."

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