NC corruption in the fish and game commission
The current governer has also recieved money and may be implicated as well. Sure does stink but this explains alot of why things like doghunting and gillnetting are not being taken seriously by our wildlife commission.
Appointments to the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission apparently have been for sale, according to a Nov. 15 Charlotte Observer story.
The story was triggered by two incidents:
• In October testimony in front of the N.C. Board of Elections, developer Lanny Wilson of Wilmington said he advised Gary Allen, a Charlotte real-estate developer, to donate money to then-Gov. Mike Easley in 2003 and 2004 in exchange for certain favors, including appointment to the Commission. Allen contributed two $50,000 checks to the N.C. Democrat Party and earmarked the money to go to Easley’s gubernatorial campaign. Easley later appointed Allen to the Commission. When Allen’s term as a commissioner ended, Easley appointed Randy Allen, Gary’s brother, to the Commission. The Allens allegedly also allowed Easley to purchase a lot at a new coastal development near Morehead City at a savings of $137,000 below tax value.
• The N.C. Wildlife Federation called on Gov. Beverly Perdue to investigate whether or not commissioners had been appointed under “inappropriate circumstances.”
Reporter Bruce Henderson of the Observer uncovered that 18 of 19 current commissioners and some of their spouses had contributed “$263,187 to the governors and state House and Senate leaders who appointed or reappointed them to their seats,” plus an additional $31,303 to the North Carolina Democratic Party.
Jim Hunt, Easley and Perdue and state legislative leaders included former House Speaker Jim Black – who is currently serving 63 months in prison for a fund-raising scandal and obstruction of justice – current House Speaker Joe Hackney and current Senate Pro Tempore Marc Basnight.
The Observer report noted the nearly $300,000 given to politicians by current commissioners was 16 times more than the $18,225 given by the 19 members of the Environmental Management Commission, appointed by the same political leaders.
Money amounts ranged from a few thousand dollars to five figures. The highest political donations given by current commissioners included:
• $75,000 by Doug Parsons of Clinton and his wife to Easley's and Perdue's campaigns and the N.C. Democratic Party;
• $47,000 by Nat Harris of Whitsett;
• $40,000 over the past 10 years by former chairman Wes Seegars of Goldsboro and his wife to former Gov. Jim Hunt and Easley.
• $28,000 by Steve Windham of Winnabow, the current commission chairman, and his wife to Easley’s and Perdue’s campaigns.
Seegars told the Observer he restricted his donations to the allowed $4,000 per year and didn’t send cash to earn his appointments and re-appointments to the Commission. Windham said he would have made the contributions in any case.
During the BOE’s Easley investigation, former commissioner Gary Allen also said his donations weren’t intended to elicit favors. He also said he didn’t remember making the $100,000 donation.
Eugene Price of Dudley, retired editor of the Goldsboro News-Argus, was the only current commissioner who had not contributed to the politicians who have appointed and re-appointed him to more than 20 years on the commission.
Tim Gestwicki, the N.C. Wildlife Federation’s executive director, said he had no evidence of improper patronage, but an investigation was needed to protect the commission’s integrity. Perdue has said she referred the Federation’s request to the State Bureau of Investigation. No indication exists whether or not a formal probe will occur.
The Commission oversees hunting and fishing in North Carolina, including law enforcement, land purchases. leases of land, management of 2 million acres of game lands and building and maintenance of boat ramps. Wildlife and fisheries recreational activities account for $4.3 billion annually to the state’s economy.