Perdue responds to company allegations

NC Governor Beverly Perdue (Steve Helber)

December 8, 2009 8:59:56 PM PST
Governor Bev Perdue says she's going to get to the bottom of big questions about a little company that has some deep ties to state leaders.The company is small and it ended up selling equipment to the state, sometimes without a competitive bid process.

Law Enforcement Associates is a surveillance equipment firm in Raleigh, whose stock trades for less than $1 per share.

"It's a little company trying to get along," North Carolina Senator Tony Rand said.

But two former senior executives both say LEA's chairman, Rand, enabled an illegal insider trading scheme which included 50 state politicians.

"This conversation is insane," Rand said. "To be insider trading, you have to give them information that is not available to the general public."

Rand said that never happened.

Still, state ethics forms do show at least six public officials having owned at least $10,000 worth of LEA stock, including former governor Mike Easley and current governor Perdue.

"I continue to lose money in it," Perdue said.

Perdue's staff says the governor bought $1,000 in LEA stock in 2002. Her ethics forms report it's worth at least $10,000 in 2006.

Perdue said Tuesday that she does not recall how she learned of the company.

"I can't remember," Perdue said. "I really thought about how ? I don't recall any conversations about it."

Perdue said she thought her husband owns shares as well, but was not sure.

She also said she knew a former owner of LEA and likes to buy and hold stocks in North Carolina companies.

"I've held it the way I've held other stocks that are North Carolina companies, believing in the dream of North Carolina," Perdue said.

But Perdue said she is troubled by news that LEA won a $49,000 in no-bid purchase contracts with the DMV in 2006.

"I think we need to get to the bottom of all of the questions that have been raised," she said.

Perdue said she promises the public is going to learn all there is to know about the company and its business with the state.

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