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Wilson quits Turnpike Authority; WMPO looks for new leader

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Four days after quitting the state Board of Transportation a Wilmington developer figuring prominently in the Easley corruption investigation has stepped down from another post.

Lanny Wilson resigned today as Vice Chair of the North Carolina Turnpike Authority. Wilson also serves as chairman of the board for the Wilmington Metropolitan Planning Prganization or WMPO. He submitted his resignation from the Turnpike Authority to State Senate President Pro Tem Marc Basnight, who appointed Wilson to the job. Wilson has been a strong voice supporting the Cape Fear Skyway project at the state level.

Wilson quit the state Transportation Board Thursday just hours before a federal grand jury indicted former Mike Easley aide Ruffin Poole on 51 corruption charges. The 64-page indictment says Poole accepted gifts from a "Wilmington financier." All the details point to Wilson as that financier.

Wilson has not returned several calls we have made to him for comment on the indictment and resignations. We tried to talk with Wilson at his home last week.

A spokeswoman says Gov. Bev Perdue will fill Wilson's spot on the state board "as expeditiously as possible." As for Wilson's role with the WMPO, New Hanover County Commission Chair Jason Thompson, who also serves on that board, says once Wilson left the state Transportation Board he lost his chairmanship of the local board. Thompson says the WMPO will likely choose a new chair at its meeting Wednesday.

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