News: CJ Exclusives

DENR Verifies Authenticity Of Hagan Stimulus Staff Review

Documents articulate concern about self-dealing by senator's family businesses

Drew Elliot, communications director for the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, has confirmed to Carolina Journal that a staff review of potential “self-dealing” with a stimulus grant awarded to a company owned by Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan’s husband and other family members that was reported on Saturday is authentic.

Elliot also sent a copy of the memo by email after CJ inquired about its authenticity. (See PDF attachment here.)

The staff review documents a series of concerns DENR has about potential illegal self-dealing and other conflicts of interest in the handling of the $250,644 stimulus grant to JDC Manufacturing, a real estate management company owned by Sen. Hagan’s husband Charles “Chip” Hagan and his brothers John and David. (See related story here.)

The review noted that JDC appears to have hired Plastic Revolutions and SolarDyne/Green State Power — companies owned by other members of the Hagan family — to handle management of the grant or received payments for doing work on the energy upgrades funded by the grant. Those upgrades took place at the Reidsville facility JDC owns and leases to Plastic Revolutions.

The review suggested that “further legal action” may be “warranted” if the conflicts occurred.

Also attached to the review was an Oct. 21 letter to State Auditor Beth Wood, a Democrat, signed by DENR Secretary John Skvarla and state Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker, asking Wood’s office to conduct a thorough review of all the stimulus grants handled by the State Energy Office and the Weatherization Assistance Program.

A number of out-of-state media outlets, along with CJ, reported on the story.

WBTV television in Charlotte, and its media partner, The Charlotte Observer, also posted stories on their websites (cached version here) about the staff review. The stories were removed from the websites sometime Saturday. When asked by CJ for an explanation, Observer online producer Dave Enna said by email, “This was a WBTV story. WBTV decided to take their story down from their site, because of problems with the story. When they did that, we also removed the story.”

CJ‘s full reporting on the federal grants received by the Hagan family businesses can be found here.

Rick Henderson is managing editor of Carolina Journal.

Editor’s note: The original version of this story misspelled Drew Elliot’s last name and was corrected after publication.