Cary police taking second look at Goldman case

ablythe@newsobserver.comOctober 25, 2012 

WSKULS-NE-091812-TEL

Debra Goldman during a Wake County school board meeting Tuesday, September 18, 2012, at the Wake County Board of Education building in Cary.

TRAVIS LONG — tlong@newsobserver.com

— Police on Thursday said they are taking a second look at the report of a burglary filed by Wake County school board member Debra Goldman after the state’s political landscape was rattled by the emergence of details about the 2-year-old case.

Goldman, now the Republican candidate for state auditor, called police June 12, 2010, and told investigators that nearly $130,000 in jewelry, cash and silver coins were missing from the Cary home that she shared with her husband, Steven.

The nature of the renewed inquiry is unclear. The case was reopened two years after Cary police called Goldman on Oct. 4, 2010, and said they were going to “deactivate” the case without an arrest. An incident report released Thursday showed that the case has been reopened. Police have declined to elaborate on the matter beyond what is provided in public incident reports.

Steven Goldman, who is estranged from his wife, has said in several interviews that he did not think $100,000 in jewelry was missing from their home and says now that he told his wife in 2010 he wouldn’t file an insurance claim.

“Once I smelled something that was terribly wrong, I said, ‘You finish this insurance claim,’ ” Steven Goldman said in an interview last week with The News & Observer.

Neither Goldman filed an insurance claim after the incident, he said. In court documents related to the couple’s division of their assets, Debra Goldman lists numerous items of jewelry that her husband asserts add up to about $100,000.

“I’ve bought her at least $100,000 worth of jewelry,” Steven Goldman said. “She still has her $65,000 ring. … She did not have $100,000 worth of jewelry stolen. That’s impossible. If she did, how would she have the jewelry she” has now?

Steven Goldman said Thursday that police called him this week and told him the case was being further investigated. He said police asked him for a list of the jewelry items he thinks his wife currently possesses. He said he has not yet provided that information because he wants to consult an attorney first.

John Austin, a Raleigh lawyer retained by Debra Goldman this week, said Thursday night that his client had not been contacted by Cary police about the case being reopened.

Austin said that only a part of the story has been told so far. He said Debra Goldman told him that jewelry reported missing in June 2010 was still missing and that she was unaware of what pieces were listed in the court files associated with the distribution of the marital property.

Goldman issued a statement earlier this week calling news stories about the reported burglary “politically motivated.”

The missing jewelry

According to police narratives from the case file, Cary investigators spent four months looking into the reported burglary.

Cary officer Daniel Souchek responded to the 5:30 p.m. call that Saturday in June 2010. There were no signs of forced entry at the home, according to his report. Debra Goldman told the officer that most of her custom and heirloom jewelry was missing. She said she had kept the jewelry in a pink bag. In subsequent conversation with police, she called it a “ratty pink backpack.”

Goldman told the responding officer that most of her “high-end jewelry” was appraised and insured with USAA, but she needed to do an inventory before she could provide an accurate description and value of the pieces.

Shortly after the incident, Goldman told investigators that she would make a list of the missing jewelry “once she feels better.”

On June 16, 2010, Joseph Lengel, the investigator assigned to the case, was at the Goldmans’ home inquiring further about what was missing.

Debra Goldman said “earrings, rings, bracelets, necklaces, etc.” were taken, according to the narrative.

Goldman said a wedding ring from her first marriage was missing, and she thought the date of that marriage and her first name and that husband’s first name were engraved on the yellow-gold band. She also told the officer that a yellow-gold band with channel-cut diamonds and a yellow-gold engagement ring with a pear-shaped diamond with little diamonds on the side were missing.

Goldman also told the officer about a Tiffany sterling-silver link necklace with a sterling heart pendant attached, inscribed with the initials “D.G.” or “D.C.G.”

On Oct. 4, 2010, after investigators questioned and cleared Chris Malone, a fellow Wake County school board member whom Goldman named as a suspect, the case was closed, according to an entry from the narrative report.

Division of property

In the years since the burglary report, Debra Goldman has provided a list of her jewelry in court documents linked to her estrangement from her husband.

In an equitable distribution consent order and judgment filed this past summer in Wake County Superior Court, the Goldmans included a list of assets to be divided. On that list are 26 pieces of jewelry – earrings, bracelets and necklaces with diamonds, emeralds and sapphires – that go to Debra Goldman in the property division.

Several pieces are listed as not existing – “row of diamond earrings,” “diamond earrings, white horizontal bar,” and “blue sapphire studs.”

Controversy has swirled around Goldman since The News & Observer reported Sunday on details of the police investigation into her reported burglary. The details were drawn from a police narrative of interviews and findings in the case that was provided to the newspaper from an unknown source.

The narrative said Goldman suspected Malone because, she said, she had spurned his romantic advances and he was in need of money. Malone gave a conflicting version, telling police he and Goldman had a “heated” physical relationship that she eventually broke off. Malone is currently the Republican nominee in the state House District 35 race.

The details of the case have drawn wide public interest and raised questions about Goldman’s qualifications to be state auditor, the official who monitors whether state agencies are properly accounting for their use of public resources.

During a gubernatorial debate Wednesday night, GOP candidate Pat McCrory was asked whether he still supports Goldman for auditor. He avoided a direct answer, but said aspects of the case were troublesome.

“If there continues to be things in police reports that show behavior that’s not appropriate for (an) elected official, especially regarding if there are any false police reports, and we’re hearing rumors, but it’s very hard for me to base any knowledge on unfounded allegations,” McCrory said.

Since the emergence of the police report, state party officials have distanced themselves from Goldman, leaving her off a campaign tour that’s designed to boost other statewide candidates. Also, a liberal advocacy group has been running robocalls against Malone, contending that he is unfit for a seat in the state legislature. Malone, who has declined to discuss what he told police about his relationship with Goldman, said earlier this week, “I’ve already moved past it. I have faith that my constituents know who I am and why I’m running, so I’m just going to keep campaigning.”

Staff writer Thomas Goldsmith contributed to this report.

Blythe: 919-836-4948

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