From the Editor

Drescher: Goldman’s actions invite questions

jdrescher@newsobserver.comOctober 27, 2012 

SKULASSIGN13.NE.030612.CCS

Wake County School Board member Debra Goldman discusses the new student assignment plan as the group meets for a work session at the school system headquarters on Dillard Dr. in Cary, N.C. on March 6, 2012.

CHRIS SEWARD — cseward@newsobserver.com

Debra Goldman might call the police after reading this column. But I’m going to write it anyway.

We reported Sunday that Goldman, a member of the Wake County school board, told Cary Police in 2010 that she suspected Chris Malone, another GOP school board member, had stolen $130,000 worth of jewelry, cash and coins from her house. Goldman said she had rebuffed Malone’s advances; Malone said they’d had a romantic relationship.

Malone was interviewed and dropped as a suspect. Cary police said this week that they will review the case.

Our reporting started when we received in the mail a copy of an internal police department report. It arrived Thursday, Oct. 18, in a manila envelope. We don’t know who sent it.

We worked to verify the legitimacy of the report; these investigators’ notes are not public record. Police can release the notes, but Cary police chose not to.

Goldman’s husband and Ron Margiotta, former chairman of the Wake school board, confirmed key facts and allegations in the report.

On Oct. 19 and 20, we tried to reach Goldman, who is running for state auditor, and Malone, who is running for a seat in the state House, to ask them about the allegations in the report. Neither returned calls. We published our first story Sunday.

In that story, Margiotta said a key vote by Goldman in 2010 on a reassignment proposal – when she mysteriously broke away from the Republican majority – might have been influenced by her strained relationship with Malone.

The next day, we reported that Goldman and her family had placed at least three dozen calls to the Cary Police since January 2010.

Goldman called police to report fraud and impersonation; to say someone had assembled a water fountain that she had moved from one residence to another; and to allege that her estranged husband might be forging her signature.

We’ve also learned that Goldman recently alerted police after a heated meeting of the school board that she had been threatened by an acquaintance.

Goldman finally spoke Monday. She released a statement that said: “I am disappointed that The News & Observer would stoop to a new low in its coverage during an election year. It is obvious that these stories are politically motivated, and the timing is designed to derail my campaign. It only serves to continue the newspaper’s history of attacks on me and my family. I am continuing my campaign for state auditor, and I am saddened that I have to even dignify these reports with a response. This is all I will say regarding this issue, and I consider the matter closed.”

Goldman might be the only person who considered the matter closed. She has offered no explanation for the allegations in the 2010 police report, which Cary police have confirmed is authentic.

Goldman’s personal life apparently is in turmoil. She and her husband are estranged and have asked for protective orders against each other. She and her family deserve compassion.

At the same time, Goldman is a member of the Wake school board and is running for statewide office. She needs to clear up some questions that have emerged in the last week. Among them:

• Was your vote on the student assignment plan in 2010 influenced by your personal differences with another board member?

• Why haven’t you filed an insurance claim for the coins and jewelry?

• Why did you name Lois Nixon, Yevonne Brannon, Perry Woods and other political opponents as people you believed might want to break into your home?

• Were the dozens of calls to Cary police from you and your family an abuse of police services and a waste of public money?

• When you alerted police and reported a threat against you on Sept. 25, did you genuinely feel yourself at risk of being harmed by another school board member?

• Some Republicans on the ballot are distancing themselves from you. Have you considered resigning from the board or withdrawing from the auditor’s race?

Goldman’s lawyer indicated Friday that she wants to talk. We look forward to hearing from her.

Drescher: 919-829-4515 or jdrescher@newsobserver.com. On Twitter @john_drescher

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