Under the Dome

DENR wants stimulus grant records from Chip Hagan's company

A state agency has asked the company co-owned by U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan’s husband to answer two dozen questions related to conflict of interest and self-dealing concerns in a federal stimulus-funded project at its warehouse in Reidsville.

The project by JDC Manufacturing, co-owned by Charles “Chip” Hagan III, became campaign fodder in Sen. Hagan’s failed re-election campaign against Thom Tillis this fall.

The N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources wrote the company on Wednesday to say that it had been looking into the grant following news media reports. Since the original program manager and the monitor of that grant no longer work for the state, DENR reviewers have questions about the approximately $250,000 grant awarded in 2010. The office that administered the federal grants was in the N.C. Commerce Department at the time, and later moved to DENR.

The total cost of the project was about $500,000, to upgrade heating and lighting and install solar panels.

The state agency wants to know what role Hagan’s son and a future son-in-law had in the project, whether the solar phase was put out to competitive bidding, and whether there were sub-grantees or sub-contractors. The company has said the project was handled legally.

DENR has given the firm until Dec. 12 to respond and provide documentation, including an accounting of all invoices and payments. Following a recent internal review of the grant, DENR Secretary John Skvarla directed his staff to obtain more information from the company.