The state House has voted to remove Rep. Thomas Wright from office for ethical misconduct, the first such expulsion of a lawmaker from North Carolina's General Assembly in 28 years.
The House voted 109-5 Thursday in favor of booting the Wilmington Democrat, who is accused of mishandling or hiding about $340,000 in loans and campaign and charitable contributions. At east 80 votes were needed to expel him.
Wright has denied wrongdoing and called the proceedings a rush to judgment by his peers. He faces a criminal trial on similar allegations later this month.
Wright was escorted from the chamber by the House sergeant at arms after the vote. His attorney later promised to file a legal challenge to the House's action.
State official left agency amid scandal, consulting work followed
The former state official who wrote a bogus letter to help Rep. Thomas Wright apply for a charitable loan later worked closely with the agency he left amid the scandal. Torlen Wade is the former director of the rural health office in the Department of Health and Human Services.
The letter was disclosed last May. He retired in June. The News & Observer of Raleigh reported Thursday that the following month, Wade became a consultant to the North Carolina Foundation for Advanced Health Programs. The agency works closely with the rural health office.
Wright is accused of persuading Wade to write a letter in 2002, saying Wade's office could commit $150,000 to help build a museum commemorating the 1898 race riots in Wilmington. Wade knew the claim was false. The letter is among several issues lawmakers will consider Thursday when they decide whether to expel Wright from office for misconduct.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)