Governor Pat McCrory denies AP report that he gets payouts from broker

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- Gov. Pat McCrory is working to assure North Carolinians he did nothing wrong when accepting a six-figure stock payout from the parent company of mortgage broker, Lending Tree.

It's in response to an Associated Press report that he failed to properly disclose the money and his status with the company in documents filed with the State Ethics Commission.

McCrory's critics say it's clear as day.

"The governor clearly is hiding income," said Gerrick Brenner, Executive Director of Progress NC Action. "He's failing again to disclose his financial entanglements on his ethics form."

The Statement of Economic Interest requires officials to list sources of income exceeding $5,000; it also mandates they disclose business affiliations and whether the companies are regulated by the state.

Tree.com does not show up in any of those sections from McCrory's 2014 filing for the previous year; the AP reports it should since McCrory was still a board director until Jan. 31 of that year and the day before that received more than $170,000 in an accelerated stock payout.

Brenner said Wednesday, North Carolinians deserve an explanation.

"Not only is this one instance, but this is a pattern here," he said in reference to another report published in August.

In the wake of Duke Energy's coal ash spill on the Dan River, The News and Observer reported the governor did not properly disclose his holdings of Duke stock. McCrory responded then, saying his legal team misread the form.

"We apologized for that mistake but if anything we are even more transparent with the public than what the form requires by letting the public know exactly when we did divest," McCrory told reporters in Aug. 2014.

In response to the AP's report, the governor released the following statement:

"I continue to uphold high ethical standards and follow the law. Unfortunately, the Associated Press failed to report that fact. The story is misleading, riddled with factual errors and flat out misrepresentations, and is a disservice to the public. It was written with malice and the intent to do harm without any factual consideration given. I'm proud of my private sector experience - it has helped me be a better governor focused on job creation and lead this state to one of the largest drops in unemployment in the nation."

However, critics are still calling for an investigation.

"Yes, it's the governor," said Brenner. "But these are serious issues about income, conflicts of interest, and knowingly falsifying and refusing to list key information on your ethics form. Yes, the ethics commission should open an investigation."

As for why McCrory did not list Tree.com in specific areas of the ethics form, his staff tells ABC11 he answered the questions correctly as they were written. They note the Ethics Commission has since rephrased those questions for the sake of clarity in the coming year.

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