Gov. McCrory Silent on Shady Prison Contract Meeting
Governor McCrory met privately with Frank Perry, head of the Department of Public Safety, and executives for companies with lucrative contracts for prison maintenance. The subject of the meeting is under speculation as McCrory and Perry flip flop on what was said in a private discussion. The governor refuses to clarify this issue.
Keith Sr. disputes it, but he is alleged to have said at the meeting – the governor says Keith didn’t say it to him – that he had given a lot of political contributions over the years and it was time for him to “get something in return.” Obviously, that would be an outrageous attempt to gain an advantage in state contracts because of campaign contributions. No one is naive enough to think contributors do so out of the goodness of their hearts, but Keith’s alleged statement, with the governor in the room, seems particularly blatant.
Once The N&O reported Keith’s statement at the meeting, McCrory said that he hadn’t heard the remark and that Perry had told him that he, McCrory, had been in a “side conversation” when the remark was made.
But in a Jan. 14 interview, Perry said, “I don’t recall that,” about McCrory’s statement regarding the side conversation. Then, after The N&O published a story online Thursday, Perry issued a statement contradicting what he said in that Jan. 14 interview. He said in that statement that, “My recollection is exactly the same as the governor’s. … Everything the governor and I did during the meeting and throughout this process was proper and ethical.”
After the October 2014 meeting, the governor asked Lee Roberts, his budget director, to determine whether Keith’s contracts, not endorsed by other state officials who were not as enthusiastic about “privatization” of services, should be extended. Roberts recommended they be extended for one year. They now have expired. Roberts, after a relatively short tenure, has resigned as budget director.