Quid Pro Quo Comes Full Circle? Millions in incentives go to company that paid McCrory six-figures after he was sworn in as North Carolina’s governor

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LendingTree will receive $4.9M in taxpayer money to expand their operations after giving McCrory an unusual six-figure payday while governor. And the company is already based in Charlotte.

CHARLOTTE -- While State officials celebrate the announcement by LendingTree to expand their Charlotte headquarters, the move raises serious ethical questions for Governor Pat McCrory.

McCrory served on the board of Tree.com (now named LendingTree), and after being sworn in as Governor, the company actually paid McCrory $171,071 in an unusual accelerated stock payout. In fact in 2013, Gov. McCrory was actually paid more by LendingTree than he was paid by the State of North Carolina. McCrory also failed to properly disclose the huge payday on his state ethics forms. McCrory’s ethics forms were properly amended only after the payday was exposed by the Associated Press. Now, only a week before the election, LendingTree has received nearly $5 million in incentives and announced a planned expansion in Charlotte.

“LendingTree paid Pat McCrory $171,000 while he was North Carolina’s governor, and now, one week before an election, Gov. McCrory has approved $4.9M in tax incentives for the same company.” said Gerrick Brenner, executive director of Progress NC Action. “The timing wreakes of politics and once again raises serious ethical questions for Governor McCrory that he has been totally unwilling to address. Now has the quid pro quo come full circle?”

The $4.9M incentive deal also raises serious questions of the state tax incentives approval process.  Companies which are awarded incentives are supposed to adhere to a “but for” clause and clearly demonstrate that there are other states that offer competitive locations for the jobs if not for the North Carolina tax incentives. LendingTree is already based in Charlotte and home to 80% of the company’s workforce. “Taxpayers deserve a clear explanation on where those jobs would have gone if they were not giving their tax money to the company that paid Gov. McCrory,” said Brenner. “Where else was LendingTree going to go without McCrory’s tax giveaway?”

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