Grand jury investigates Easley dealings

April 19, 2009 10:01:24 AM PDT
On March 31, former North Carolina Governor Mike Easley was at a North Carolina Chamber of Commerce luncheon. It was 12 weeks after his last day in office. "I'm glad I'm out," he told Eyewitness News.

Just two days before, the Raleigh News & Observer newspaper had reported that his wife Mary Easley and their son, Mike Junior, had been driving cars for months which they did not own or lease.

The paper also reported that Easley, while still in office, had flown to a Florida vacation home for free on a private jet owned by car dealer and NASCAR owner Rick Hendrick.

While talking with Eyewitness News at the March Chamber luncheon, Easley denied the story but declined to elaborate.

"Well, can you clarify a little bit. What was the time-line? Were you governor when you took the flight?" we asked.

"There's a lot of information in there that is really inaccurate. And at some point, when we have time, I'd be happy to go through a lot of it. We'd like to point out, we own our own cars," Easley told us.

But at the time of that interview, the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles says Governor Easley did not own the cars which his wife and son have been driving.

Two days after that interview, DMV records show Governor Easley then bought a used GMC Yukon which his son had been driving. How long he drove it is still not clear.

DMV records show Bleeker Buick in Red Springs bought the used SUV in 2003, with 77,000 miles on it, for almost $17,000.

Six years later, and after we spoke with the former governor, Easley bought the same SUV, now with 132,000 miles for $10,000 less.

DMV has no record of Bleeker ever leasing the car to anyone during those 6 years.

The News and Observer also reported that Mary Easley was for months test-driving a car owned by Rick Hendrick Honda in Charlotte.

At the March luncheon, Eyewitness News asked "So is Mrs. Easley still test-driving the Honda?"

"She owns her own car. She owns her own car. It is a Honda. She owned her own car when the article was written," the former Governor told us.

"And they were mistaken about your son's car too?" we asked.

"Yeah," Easley responded.

"How could they be so mistaken about that?" we asked.

"I can't get into all that. Check the tags. She owned them. I owned them too. She was test-driving one until she found one she wanted. We just got out of the Mansion. She ordered what she wanted. They let her use one until it came in. She has her own. It's kind of like what everyone else does in America. I'm glad to be back in the public sector now," said Easley

"And any implication that you were violating ethics laws is incorrect?" we asked.

"Ridiculous, Ridiculous," Easley responded.

According to reports, Mrs. Easley is now driving a different Honda from Hendrick. But, the DMV still has no record of the Easleys owning a Honda.

The News and Observer reported Friday that a grand jury has questioned Fayetteville car dealer Robert F. Bleecker, and it says federal authorities are investigating a land deal at a waterfront development in Carteret County in which Easley purchased a lot.


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