WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Among the crowded agenda for tonight’s Wilmington City Council meeting is a resolution to ask the Department of Transportation to name part of a busy road in honor of a former Board of Transportation member who quit amidst controversy.
The proposal would ask the DOT to “Dedicate the Interchange and Associated Bridge Structure at North 23rd Street and Martin Luther King Jr., Parkway in Honor of Lanny T. Wilson.”
Introduced by City Manager Sterling Cheatham, the resolution recognizes Wilson as being instrumental in securing funding for several major transportation projects in the area, including MLK Parkway.
Wilson, a developer and longtime Democratic Party fundraiser, resigned his post as Southeastern North Carolina’s representative to the Transportation Board in 2010 as federal prosecutors were set to release a 51-count indictment against Ruffin Poole, a former aide to Gov. Mike Easley. Poole wound up serving prison time for his crimes.
While Wilson was not charged with any crimes, the Poole indictment identified Wilson as a “Wilmington financier” who was a major player in the “pay-to-play” culture of the Easley administration.
In the fall of 2009, Wilson testified before the state Board of Elections about large checks he wrote to the Democratic Party for Easley’s campaign. Wilson also loaned money to a company to finance the sale of a Carteret County development that was part of a federal probe into Easley’s activities.
If City Council approves the resolution asking to honor Wilson, it would not be the first such request from a local government body. The StarNews reported back in June that the region’s Transportation Advisory Committee narrowly passed a resolution on a similar request.