More details tonight on the indictment of a former aide to Gov. Mike Easley, and his connections to our area. The indictment names a Wilmington financier, which clearly points to developer Lanny Wilson.
We wanted to give Wilson a chance to explain the reasons behind his resignation from the State Board of Transportation Thursday just hours before the public release of the grand jury's indictment of Ruffin Poole, so we went to his home in Landfall. There were two cars in the driveway with license tags for the Department of Transportation. No one came to the door, but we did notice a light on inside the house that someone apparently turned out while we were knocking.
The federal grand jury's 64-page indictment names a Wilmington developer and financier several times claiming he gave extravagant gifts to Poole, who was one of former Gov. Easley's top aides. Those details point to Wilson. But he's not the only Wilmington connection. The indictment also mentions payoffs from a Wilmington attorney Easley appointed chair of the state ABC Board. That's Doug Fox.
Among the gifts the indictment notes Poole received: Numerous trips to Costa Rica, a bachelor trip in New Orleans, free tickets to concerts, liquor for Poole's wedding, a $5,000 engagement party and use of what some believe to be Wilson's home on exclusive Figure Eight Island.
Wilson stepped down after nine years on the Board of Transportation saying he wanted to avoid "any further unnecessary distractions."
While Wilson gave up his seat on the Board of Transportation yesterday, he is still the vice chair of the NC Turnpike Authority.
Wilson and Fox have not been charged with any crimes connected to the investigation into Easley and his administration. We called both Wilson and Fox a number of times, but neither called us back.