Lots of discounts - but no charges

November 24, 2010 

The News & Observer's reporting raised several issues about gifts or benefits that former Gov. Mike Easley accepted that did not result in any charges. Here's a recap:

CANNONSGATE LOT

Easley and his wife, Mary, accepted a $137,000 discount on a coastal waterfront lot in 2005, months after Easley's administration granted environmental permits to the developer of the Carteret County subdivision. The discount was not disclosed, despite Easley's own executive order to disclose any gift worth more than $200. The subdivision is now largely undeveloped and lot values have dropped drastically.

FREE GOLF

Easley received a waiver from monthly dues at an exclusive golf club worth roughly $50,000 over eight years, a benefit he did not disclose. After a call from the governor's office, a state official dropped his objections to a request by the club, Old Chatham Golf Club, to siphon millions of gallons of water from a nearby creek during the drought of 2002. The club got the water from Chatham County.

MARY EASLEY'S JOB

Easley worked behind the scenes in 2005 to get N.C. State University to create a job for his wife. Three years later, she got an 88 percent raise to $170,000 a year. The fallout cost Mary Easley her job; Chancellor James Oblinger and Provost Larry Nielsen both resigned.

FREE CAR

Easley's son, Michael Jr., drove an SUV owned by car dealer Robert F. Bleecker for six years without paying anything for the vehicle. Easley and his campaign eventually paid for the vehicle; Easley said the vehicle was used by his campaign for part of that time.

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