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ONLY ON 3: McCrory administrations struggles to answer questions about DENR chief

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- The McCrory administration is having trouble answering questions about its new Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources.

A month ago, a StarNews letter to the editor caught our attention. Charles Anderson of Burgaw questioned how appropriate it was for John Skvarla to lead the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). Anderson claimed Skvarla's "company collected $4 million from state taxpayers" through work for DENR.

So we e-mailed Gov. McCrory's Director of Communications Chris Walker and Assistant Director of Communications Ricky Diaz about it. Despite resending the e-mail several times over the last few weeks, neither man has answered.

Thursday, we tried again by calling Walker, Diaz and the communications office at DENR to find out if Skvarla's company Restoration Systems really had benefited and may still from DENR contracts.

DENR staff told us Skvarla would not be available for at least a week to answer any questions. A DENR spokesman said Skvarla is no longer CEO of the company, and all his financial interests are in a blind trust.

Everyone we spoke with referred us to McCrory Press Secretary Crystal Feldman, who said she needed more information to answer our question.

More calls led us to find out that Walker is no longer McCrory's communications director, having left the post last week. Diaz says he's now "the point person" in the communications office, and said he never replied to our messages because they went to his e-mail account for McCrory's campaign.

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