Easley campaign still owes thousands

February 5, 2013 2:50:28 PM PST
On Monday, the North Carolina State Bar returned former governor Mike Easley's license to practice law, which was suspended after he accepted criminal responsibility for an improperly filed campaign finance report in 2010.

He entered an Alford plea to a felony and paid a $1,000 fine.

But what has not been paid is the bulk of a $100,000 fine the State Board of Elections ordered Easley's campaign to pay in 2009 for dozens of flights the former governor took aboard donors' private planes during the 2000 and 2004 campaigns.

A check of records by the ABC11 I-Team shows the campaign still owes $94,664 plus interest. About $115,000 is also owed to two different law firms.

But under state law, there's a firewall between candidates and their campaigns. Easley is not personally responsible for paying the money.

But Bob Hall, with the non-profit Democracy NC group told ABC11 that even though Easley's campaign committee was fined, the former governor should be held accountable.

"If you want something back from the public, your law license, then you need to give something to the public, namely the pay-off of that debt that you owe us," said Hall.

Easley and his wife both draw state pensions. He gets almost $6,000 every month. His wife Mary, a former NC State employee, pulls in $6,700 monthly.

And Easley has a lot of money tied up in real estate. He owns a home in Raleigh worth $860,000, a property on the coast valued around $225,000, a home in Southport worth nearly a million dollars, and he owns half of a home on Bald Head Island valued around $410,000.

"The man is not poor.  So he needs to step up and take responsibility," said Hall.

But officials with the state board of elections told ABC11 they doubt they'll see any of the money.

Three months before he pled guilty to a felony, his campaign filed a confession of judgment with the board of elections, saying it had no current or expected assets.

We tried to reach Easley for comment, but we had no luck.

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