Chris Malone offers 'heartfelt apology' over personal conduct

khui@newsobserver.comNovember 30, 2012 

Wake County school board member Chris Malone, who had told police he was in a relationship with colleague Debra Goldman, issued an apology Friday to unspecified people whom he said he may have “disappointed.”

Malone won a close race earlier this month for the state House 35 seat. He dealt during the last few weeks of the campaign with disclosures that he had told Cary police in 2010 that he had a romantic relationship with Goldman. Goldman had denied they had a relationship.

Malone had said he would discuss the police report after the election. But he didn’t directly mention it in a written statement issued Friday.

“I am mindful that we all have an obligation to live up to the highest standards of personal conduct,” Malone said. “To those I have disappointed, I would like to extend a heartfelt apology.”

Malone gave no specific reason for the apology.

Malone also said in the statement he planned to resign his seat on the school board Dec. 31. He’ll be sworn into legislative office next month.

“Now as I enter my third elective office representing the people of Wake County, I look forward to serving the people of House District 35 in the General Assembly, and I pledge to represent our common values with humility, ethics and hard work,” Malone said.

Malone, a former Wake Forest town commissioner, was elected to the school board in 2009 and helped form a new Republican majority that lasted until the 2011 elections flipped control back to the Democrats.

During the tenure of the Republican majority, Malone backed measures such as relocating a new high school to Rolesville, dropping the use of socioeconomic diversity from the student assignment policy and the new choice plan being used this school year.

“While many times we on the school board were the targets for harsh criticism, I am happy to say that when it came down to the children’s best interest we did our best to put political party affiliation aside and work together to build the best school system for the children of Wake County that we could,” Malone said.

Malone ran for the state House after the Republican-led General Assembly redrew the boundary lines.

Heading into mid-October, various polls had Malone holding a commanding lead over Lori Millberg, his Democratic opponent and a former Wake school board member.

But less than three weeks before the election, a previously undisclosed copy of a 2010 Cary police narrative report was leaked to the media. The narrative showed that Goldman, the Republican nominee for state auditor, had named Malone as a possible suspect in a 2010 burglary of her home in which $130,000 in jewelry, cash and coins were reported as being stolen.

The narrative showed that Cary police questioned Malone and cleared him as a suspect. But in the course of the questioning which took place in front of two attorneys, the narrative shows Malone acknowledged having a “very heated” physical relationship with Goldman.

Goldman, both in the police report and interviews after its release, has repeatedly denied she had a romantic relationship with Malone. She has said that she rebuffed his romantic overtures.

Both Malone and Goldman are married. But Goldman is going through a divorce now.

Liberal groups attempted to use the police report to attack Malone, who won what had been thought to be a safe district with only 50.82 percent of the vote. Goldman lost to incumbent State Auditor Beth Wood.

Once Malone leaves, the rest of the school board will fill the vacancy from people who apply for the opening from his district, which includes Wake Forest, Rolesville, Wendell, Zebulon and part of Knightdale. The new board member would finish out Malone’s term, which runs through November 2013.

Some Eastern Wake community leaders have argued that the new board member should be from that part of the district to advocate for the needs of the schools in the area.

Hui: 919-829-4534

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