Local/State

Panel finishes work on 'Flightgate' records

Thursday, January 07, 2010

An independent three-person panel has come back with its report on how former governor Mike Easley's travel records were lost.

Click here to read the report (.pdf)

The NC Highway Patrol says it cannot find the Easley's travel records for 2005. The documents are at the center of an investigation into whether the governor got free flights on private planes - flights investigators say he should have reported. The former governor is also the subject of state and federal investigations into his alleged dealings with real estate developers.

What happened to the records is unclear. A secretary says Highway Patrol Captain Alan Melvin told her to download the records from her computer to a separate disk and then delete them from her computer to free up space.

According to the report by Justice Willis Wichard, Judge Ralph Walker, and Senator Robert Morgan - who made up the independent panel requested by Governor Beverly Perdue to look into the matter - Melvin doesn't recall what happened to the disk and said he doesn't have it.

The panel says it found inconsistencies in Melvin's statements, but no substantial or credible evidence of intentional wrongdoing. It also interviewed former Governor Easley and says he stated he was not aware such travel records were kept.

"Suspicions about this matter will inevitably linger, but serious action, criminal or otherwise, cannot rest on mere suspicion," read the report.

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