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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The North Carolina Department of Transportation tomorrow will rename a Wilmington bridge in honor of a former Board of Transportation member who quit amidst controversy.

The DOT says a ceremony tomorrow at 3 p.m. at Screen Gems Studios on N. 23rd Street will rename the nearby bridge at Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway after Lanny T. Wilson of Wilmington. Transportation Secretary Gene Conti will give keynote remarks. Wilson is also scheduled to attend, according to a DOT spokeswoman.

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.

Wilmington City Council passed a resolution earlier this year to ask for the name change to honor Wilson. A DOT spokeswoman says the NCDOT Board of Transportation approved the change in September.

Comment on this Story

  • Bill Spragg

    Vanity plates for cars AND structures should BOTH be paid for by the vanitees and annually as well. Then, when I’m driving down some route 243 and see the a sign announcing the Harry H. Horn Highway, I’ll know Harry’s paying for it and they
    won’t seem so silly, (the plates and the signs).

  • Topsail Poet

    Lanny’s name on a bridge seems kinda funny, But he ought to get something for all of his money.
    It is near the waste plant and the prison to boot, its amazing what you get when you have all the loot.
    The Wilson’s have done a lot for us so let lets all be happy for them,
    Lanny is not my favorite Wilson, I guess that would have to be Tim!

  • Das Weibstück

    Wow. Has to be someone better here to name this bridge after.

  • Guest2020

    What has this man done to deserve this honor? This is an absolute disgrace.

  • Thank you

    Lanny Wilson spent countless hours working on the DOT for Wilmington’s benefit. We should all be greatful for state funds he help bring back to to our area. Lets hope his work on the new bridge over the Cape Fear will pay off in the future.

  • risefromtheashes

    More misinformation…an heir isn’t someone who worked for what rhey have. From a very young age Lanny worked in the grocery stores and continued right up until the chain sold to Hannaford. While other kids went to the beach he worked long hard hours.

  • Robert Green

    I can not think of a bridge in our region that could be more appropriate for the grocery store heir to be recognized for his contributions to our community. It’s proximity to the sewer treatment facility is indeed fitting.

    Will the ex-governor and convicted felon , Mike Easley and the scandalous Mary be making an appearance likewise?

  • Guest star


    published on Tuesday 3-1-00

    WILMINGTON, N.C. – Four months after being censured for mishandling a driving while impaired case, a New Hanover County judge found a Wilmington lawyer innocent of drunken driving even though his blood-alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit.

    District Judge Elton Tucker said last week he had trouble recalling the details of the November case in which Lanny Wilson was acquitted of DWI.

    Wilson was stopped by a state trooper in late October for driving 67 mph in a 55 mph zone, according to court records.

    Trooper W.B. Ezzell wrote on his report that Wilson had a “strong odor of alcohol.”

    The trooper administered a breath test at the Wrightsville Beach Police Department, where Wilson twice blew a 0.17. In North Carolina, 0.08 is considered legally drunk.

    On his affidavit, Ezzell noted that the breath test machine, the Intoxilyzer 5000, had been serviced Sept. 20.

    But in court Nov. 23, Tucker threw the breath test results out because the trooper could not attest to firsthand knowledge that the machine had been serviced.

    But Tucker said the case shouldn’t be considered extraordinary.

    “Very often, cases aren’t proven in court, but that’s why we have courts, because officers aren’t perfect,” he said.

    Ezzell said he also had video of the stop to prove his case, but only about 30 seconds of the 12- to 15-minute tape were allowed into evidence.

  • Guestof3

    Your Right, this incident that happened years before he was appointed to the DOT board should prevent him from being honored for his 9 years of public service. The DOT officials that worked closely with him for all those years and know him very well surely Must be mistaken in their decision to honor him.
    Losers let a mistake keep them down and from achieving more in life. Winners overcome and continue to do great things despite their faults and mistakes. Some people are just jealous of that because they cannot do the same and want to tear others down for the successes in their life. So sad…no wonder it is difficult to find good people to serve in public offices…who wants to deal with this mess?

  • risefromtheashes

    A crook is someone who has been found of wrongdoing and charged accordingly after investigation. A thorough Federal investigation found Nothing on Mr Wilson…please know what you are talking about before you post comments that are untrue

  • taxpayer

    rewarding crooks. One thing’s for certain…you can bet your A$$ this bridge will receive regular maintenance and upgrades.

  • gottobekiddin

    What is next the Long Leaf Pine award? I hope people pull that sign down more often than they do the one reporting distance to Barstow, CA when you get on 40.

  • Risefromtheashes

    Good for him to be honored for all of the dedication, hard work and service he put into being the DOT representative for over 9 years. He had major influence that actually worked in our regions favor by bringing road money to our roads and bridges that might not otherwise have done so. All of this without taking a dime of taxpayers money but actually spending his own for expenses related to serving on the board. But, of course no ones ones to highlight the good stuff just attach him to bad stuff that he did not do. GIve it a rest, he is a good man who cares for his family friends and this community!

  • Guesttseug

    …..Corruption Crossing?

  • Rocky Lane Moore

    Since the Department of Transportation has agreed to give him this honor, I decided to write this simple poem in Lenny Wilson’s honor.

    What is a Bridge?

    A Bridge is a passage across dark marshes,
    a candle lit to ensure safe travel,
    Who knows where a Bridge comes from,
    But men of character and resolve,
    plan and engineer, with sweating brows.
    build and persevere, the elevated highways,
    Hard won the battles of finance,
    made by the donations of fortunes given,
    May God’s grace shine bright with honor,
    For those who creat these precious portals.

  • Guest 1492

    The non-poetic reality: Paid for with taxpayer dollars.

    Just a tad pretentious there oh bard of the bridges. Don’t quit your day job.

  • taxpayer

    not hardly. The Feds didn’t look too deeply into the corruption of what’s been going on.

  • Guest47

    Just what my folks always said….if you got money anything can happen. How sad it is that we are teaching children it is okay to act out and break the law if you have money because one day we can have a bridge named after you….what a joke!!

  • risefromtheashes

    what a completely ignorant statement, you obviously have no clue what the truth is because you probably believe everything the press has spun about him as truth. Think for yourself. He was never charged with a crime at all, ever, even after a 3 year federal investigation. His money didn’t get his name on a bridge, his hard work and commitment to DOT for 9 years did. If I had his amount of money I sure wouldn’t be serving the public like he did, mostly because of idiots like you…I’d buy an island, live the life and forget all these crazy people…


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