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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

She's Got Balls 

Apparently not satisfied with the heavy aroma already enwreathing her and her husband's exercise of power at N.C. State University, Mary Easley says she intends to cause a further stink by appealing her firing from that institution.

Thus keeping the whole sorry mess o' pottage bubbling on the stove.

She says she's aggrieved.

And she's got the attorney to prove it.

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Monday, June 08, 2009

Catching up, which is difficult these days: The Board of Trustees at NC State University met this afternoon and fired Mary Easley from her $170,000 per annum job.

And e-mails obtained by the N&O reveal that Gov. Mike Easley had been personally involved in getting her the job back in 2005.

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NC State Chancellor Is Out 

Hard on the heels of the N&O's article (referenced below) about dubious pay-outs to the resigning NCSU provost, NCSU Chancellor James L. Oblinger has resigned his position this a.m. He's now admitting, in effect, that he lied to the public about some details regarding the hiring of Mary Easley, not to mention the "sweetening" the provost got with his resignation.

In other words, there's a lotta crockery getting smashed in Raleigh.

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Hanging with the Easleys 

The costs of cozying up to former Gov. Mike Easley and his wife Mary just keep going up. Even the costs of resigning because you were so cozy with them.

Take former North Carolina State University Provost Larry Nielsen for example, he who hired Mary Easley for a high-profile, cobbled-together position at NC State and then upped her salary by 88 percent last summer. He recently resigned when the whole deal began to get the attention of the federal prosecutor and a grand jury.

The N&O has now unearthed a deal that the NC State Chancellor made with Nielsen hours before his resignation to pay Nielsen $310,255 in extra pay above his faculty salary. And then the Chancellor set about covering that up.

Gosh, is anyone else thinking hush money?

The N&O is also digging into what exactly Mary Easley was doing for that 88 percent raise. So far ... doesn't look like much. But when you're hired because you're married to someone powerful, sometimes your main job is carting around that big name.

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Friday, May 22, 2009

Ripping the Sheet 

Rob Christensen's column in today's N&O, about the mounting problems besetting our ex-governor and his wife, is a must-read. Christensen is efficient in summing up the gist:
The saga includes many story lines. Did the Easleys use their position to get free cars, insider real estate deals, and cushy jobs? Were there built-in conflicts because Mary Easley was the first governor's wife with a professional career in a small state capital dominated by government and a university? Why does a former prosecutor, lawyer and law professor need another lawyer to do her talking?

One of the narrative threads is that the Democratic establishment is washing its hands of a leader for whom they never really cared.

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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Mary Easley, Hanging Tough 

Mary Easley let her attorney do the talking today at a press conference, though she was standing right there. Attorney Marvin Schiller said that the ex-governor's wife would not be resigning from her $800,000 contract with NCSU, which cost any number of us citizens bet-money, including moi.

Mary Easley smiled.

Attorney Schiller proceeded to read a letter of praise for Easley written by the man who hired her and who therefore resigned his position as Provost of NCSU last Friday. Angels on high were asphyxiated by the irony.

The N&O account hints broadly (because lawyer Schiller would not answer direct questions about it) that Mary Easley might be open to having her contract bought out by NCSU. Which is something short of resigning but nothing short of the family's well documented ability to get fair return on the dollar.

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Those Groves of Academe 

So federal subpoenas were flying like confetti in and around N.C. State University yesterday. The Chancellor will be sharing his recollections with a federal grand jury, and so will the former provost, who actually did the hiring of Mary Easley. He resigned last Friday, saying he'd done nothing wrong.

The N&O has the emerging time-line of who did what after so-and-so called him.

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Monday, May 18, 2009

Another Prilosec Moment 

Now the Chancellor of North Carolina State University says that it would be a good thing if Mary Easley would just go ahead and resign her $170,000 job, a position the Chancellor can't remember helping her get. It "would be in the best interest of the university."

Anyone taking bets that the position will be vacant within 24 hours?

Then what are the bets that the chancellorship itself will be vacant pretty soon after?

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Friday, May 15, 2009

Erskine Bowles Bares His Teeth 

And well he should. He's asking for the resignation of McQueen Campbell, chair of the N.C. State Univ. board of trustees, who's implicated in the hiring of Mike Easley's wife Mary at a very high salary in some of the mutual-back-scratching that the Raleigh N&O has been delving into.

As soon as we posted the above, at 2:38 p.m. to be exact, the Charlotte Observer had posted news that McQueen Campbell has resigned as the NCSU board chair. But he's hanging tough. In a letter addressed to Gov. Beverly Perdue, Campbell said: "I am not resigning because I have acted inappropriately. Both the chancellor and the provost have communicated publicly and independently that the hiring process of Mary Easley was free from any improper influence."

So why are you resigning?

At 2:34 p.m., the N&O posted news that the State Board of Elections has opened a criminal probe of former Gov. Easley's campaign reporting.

And the F.B.I. is also probing ... Easley's glomming onto all that free private air travel, which involves none other than ... McQueen Campbell, jet owner and pilot.

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Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Some Alaskan Homes Are Like the Holiday Inn 

In Alaska, where the same party has been in power for, like, eons, you apparently expect a little corruption from your public officials, but even in Alaska this is bound to raise a few eyebrows.
Gov. Sarah Palin has billed taxpayers for 312 nights spent in her own home during her first 19 months in office, charging a "per diem" allowance intended to cover meals and incidental expenses while traveling on state business.

Apparently, it's kind of an accepted practice among Alaskan politicians, but still ... paying yourself to live at home?

Plus Palin charged a great deal of travel to the state for her kids and husband:
...during the [previous governor] Murkowski years, that practice was questioned, and the state attorney general's office produced an opinion saying laws then in effect required reimbursement for spousal travel.

Who was it who caused a mini-uproar among N.C. Republicans for traveling on the state's dime to Europe? Oh yeah, Mary Easley. Republicans called it corruption. Unjustified, it certainly was. Unjustified, unwise, and frankly, imperial.

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Thursday, July 03, 2008

Big Shifts 

1. NYTimes profiles the demographic change now underway in American higher education, as the old lefty-pinko-commie crowd of the 1960s begins to retire from faculties across the country ... replaced by new faculty who weren't even born when Nixon gave up the presidency. Look for college campuses to return to the somnambulance of the 1950s.

2. The Guv's wife Mary Easley gets a $79,700 pay raise from N.C. State University this week. So guess who's buying lunch.

3. North Carolina's two Catholic bishops say they're uniting to set up a lobbying effort in the NC legislature for Catholic issues. They're upset that that NC House passed a bill permitting stem cell research under limited circumstances last summer.

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