NC House Speaker's top aide resigns

April 26, 2012 9:00:00 PM PDT
An alleged scandal inside the state legislature has forced a top aide to resign.

Charles Thomas, the Chief-of-Staff for House Speaker Thom Tillis, is out of a job after allegations surfaced he was romantically involved with a lobbyist.

The North Carolina Home Builders Association confirmed that lobbyist Jessica Hayes was asked to resign Friday and did so.

A spokesperson for the Home Builders Association told ABC11 that Hayes began a relationship with Thomas in January.

Thomas is a former house member himself, from Asheville. He's also not only Tillis' chief of staff, he's also a close friend of the speaker's.

Tillis put out a statement about Thomas stepping down:

"...He verbally offered his resignation in an effort to ensure that outside matters not detract or distract from the work at hand.  An individual's personal life should remain personal, but to avoid professional distractions from the tasks in front of us, I have accepted his resignation."

It's still unclear if any laws were broken -- state ethics laws or lobbying laws.

In the meantime, Tillis said Chris Hayes would be stepping in as chief of staff. Lawmakers meet again May 16.

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