It’s another morning in the Carolinas, so that can only mean that there is another development in the “NC State-Mary Easley case.”
Today’s front page story – Feds probe Easley hiring – is particularly damning because it represents an inquiry directly into ‘official’ dealings between the University.
Federal prosecutors Tuesday ordered the chancellor and provost at N.C. State University to appear before a grand jury this week, making it clear that investigators have opened a wide-ranging criminal probe of dealings surrounding former Gov. Mike Easley.
The FBI served subpoenas to Chancellor James Oblinger on Tuesday afternoon as he left the main administration building, Holladay Hall, to appear at an event across campus.
“This university will do everything to cooperate fully,” Oblinger said.
Investigators want to talk with Oblinger and Provost Larry Nielsen about the hiring, promotion and salary of former first lady Mary Easley, according to the court documents.
Sheesh. How embarrassing can it get? Our Chancellor was publicly served a federal subpoena at the administrative buildings of our University. Just allow that to sink in for a minute.
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Additionally, this editorial was printed in the Charlotte Observer this morning (so, I presume it was also in the News & Observer). It gives a nice, quick rundown while leaving out the part where Easley’s pay went from about $80,000 a year to $170,000 a year during her employment.
This whole deal, like others swirling around it, smells bad. The governor’s wife lands a high-paying job to run a campus speaker series and public safety center. The interim provost who gives her the job suddenly becomes permanent provost despite not being a candidate for the job. And the school’s board chairman is a buddy of then-Gov. Mike Easley’s who does favors for the governor and gets help from the Easley administration around the time Mrs. Easley is landing the job.
The provost, Larry Nielsen, and the chairman, McQueen Campbell, have resigned. Mary Easley must do the same – now. Her continued presence can only hurt N.C. State.
That won’t end this mess, though. Questions remain for Oblinger. He and Nielsen have been summoned to testify before a federal grand jury. Campbell says he told Oblinger about Mary Easley’s interest in changing jobs, Bowles says, but Oblinger claims not to remember anything about it. And it’s becoming apparent that Bowles didn’t ask enough questions when Mrs. Easley was hired, when he fully supported the arrangement.