Gov Cooper's shady pipeline deal looks really shady

The News & Observer took a run at NC Gov. Roy Cooper's shady pipeline deal and whether the administration used the permits as leverage to extract concessions that helped friends and family.

Gov. Roy Cooper intervened with Duke Energy on behalf of a solar energy company that previously paid him rent for Nash County land – and still rents from his brother – and considered the dispute resolution as a “possible Atlantic Coast Pipeline mitigation option,” records show.

Colin Campbells' article also notes that how Cooper administration officials were tracking the approval process in Virginia and West Virginia.

The deal between solar companies and Duke Energy was announced a few days after the permits were issued. The day before the permit was issued, billionaire environmentalist Fred Stanback wrote in an email that he’d spoken with Cooper about the pipeline, and the governor “said he negotiated several concessions from Duke Energy,” according to records released by the Cooper administration. Stanback said in an email to the Insider this week that he could not recall details of the conversation with Cooper. Asked if Stanback’s email was inaccurate, a Cooper spokesman did not respond.
Cooper’s business relationship with Strata Solar dates back to 2012, when the then-attorney general and his brother Pell leased Nash County property to Strata for a solar farm, according to a 2018 report in Carolina Journal, a publication of the conservative John Locke Foundation. The Cooper brothers owned the land through an LLC, Will Clark Properties, and Roy Cooper left the LLC several years later and no longer lists a financial stake in his ethics disclosure forms.
The governor continues to be a partner with his brother in a separate LLC that owns surrounding Nash County property, and Will Clark Properties continues – as recently as 2018 – to list a Raleigh post office box previously tied to Cooper as Will Clark Properties’ “principal office mailing address.” Porter, the Cooper spokesman, did not respond to a question about whether the governor and/or his family members still receive regular rent payments from Strata.

Cooper's spokesman apparently got pretty mad at the N&O and refused to answer any follow up questions - which is not terribly different than the non-answers he did offer before clamming up.

As I've said - there's a simple explanation about why this looks like a pay-to-play extortion job.

It's because it was.

Pete's Prep: Monday, March 18, 2019

  • State lawmakers from Buncombe have introduced a bill aimed at designating revenue from a voter-approved sales tax to A-B Tech Community College... as voters were told it would eight years ago.
  • The John Locke Foundation's Dr. Terry Stoops writes: "Adjusting the [NEA] average salary figures to account for cost of living... propelled North Carolina to 20th in the nation in cost-of-living adjusted teacher salary."
  • Tom Elliott at Grabien writes that American media outlets seem intent on helping the New Zealand murderer advance his objectives.
  • From CNBC: "The recent jump in paychecks has come with an unusual characteristic, as workers at the lower end of the pay scale are getting the greater benefit."
  • More and more Democrats are cool with the idea of packing the US Supreme Court, according to POLITICO.

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