There’s more to come on the embarrassing investigation of Dana Cope, the former head of the State Employees Association of North Carolina, and his spending habits with SEANC credit, as reported by The News & Observer’s Joseph Neff.
Cope resigned his position after an earlier N&O report on questionable spending on landscaping, flight lessons, entertainment and eyebrow waxing. The newspaper reported that Cope had directed SEANC spending to a landscaping firm that also had done work at his home. One check for $19,000 was made out to a defunct computer company and justified by a phony invoice. The check was cashed by the landscaping firm.
The N&O obtained copies of some credit card statements for some of Cope’s spending in September and October, which included purchases from an art gallery in Raleigh, a tour company and a Texas gift shop that specializes in hand-tooled belts and buckles.
For its part, SEANC is trying to pull back on a severance payment to Cope on the occasion of his resignation. A lawyer for SEANC said the group expects Cope to pay back the severance.
Earlier, SEANC’s executive committee, displaying blind loyalty to Cope, tried to get The N&O to refrain from publishing a story on Cope and then pronounced the story “not true.” But no mistakes were cited. Cope, meanwhile, is represented by top Raleigh lawyers.
It appeared after that report that SEANC’s 11-member executive committee was not keeping much of a watch on Cope’s running of the organization. The group’s 59-member elected Board of Governors has met recently in Raleigh. That group should replace the executive committee and the organization’s senior staff without delay. These people have lost the confidence of the membership and their own credibility as far as performing the task of oversight and monitoring the stewardship of the organization.
There are 55,000 members of SEANC, and they deserve much better leadership and representation than they’ve gotten. The time has come for their Board of Governors to see that the job gets done.