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Tue May 15, 2007
Wright Investigation Headed to Wake Co. DA
By Catherine M. Welch
Wilmington, NC – The State Board of Elections wrapped up its investigation into the campaign finances of Representative Thomas Wright and is sending the matter to the Wake County District Attorney.
The DA's office will now look into possible charges of perjury and illegal campaign contributions.
Witness Wayne Lofton testified that when he sold his family property on North 4th Street to Wright, that there was a letter from Director of Rural Health Development Torlen Wade. That letter said Wade's division would give $150,000 to Wright's non-profit Community's Health Foundation to build a museum dedicated to the 1898 Wilmington Race Riots.
Wright used that letter to take out a loan. But Wade told State Board of Elections investigators that he never had any intention of giving the foundation that money and he wrote the letter because Wright asked him too.
Board Chairman Larry Leake says he was surprised by that twist.
If you have a situation where a state legislator can obtain a letter from a state official representing an untruth to advance that legislator's interest, that's a scary thought.
Corporate Contributions To The Non-Profit
Strach testified that three corporations wrote checks to Wright for Community's Health Foundation. The donors were told that the foundation was set up to build a museum dedicated to the 1898 Wilmington Race Riots. But Strach testified that the non-profit's tax ID number did not check out with the IRS.
She said there was a bank account dedicated to the Community's Health Foundation but there were no deposits made in that account, and the three corporate checks for the foundation were deposited after that dedicated account was closed.
Sims Hugo Neu
Strach also testified that campaign contributions made to Wright from employees of Sims Hugo Neu were made between March 21st and March 31st of last year, but were not reported until October. That's after the reporting date for the quarter that includes contributions made in March.
After the hearing Wright said he's not resigning from the legislature and is not worried about the investigation moving to the Wake County DA
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