News: CJ Exclusives

Hagan’s Husband Used Stimulus Money To Hire His Own Company

Solar company formed weeks before Chip Hagan's business received grant

Sen. Kay Hagan’s husband and son created a solar energy contracting company in August 2010, and then, using $250,644 in federal stimulus grant funds, her husband hired that same company to install solar panels at a building he owns.

Public records show that Green State Power was formed seven weeks before JDC Manufacturing — a company owned in part by Greensboro attorney Charles “Chip” Hagan III, Sen. Hagan’s husband — received the stimulus grant for the solar project at a 300,000-square-foot facility in Reidsville, N.C.

A story in late September on the Washington, D.C.-based website Politico revealed that JDC Manufacturing received “nearly $390,000 in federal grants for energy projects and tax credits created by the 2009 stimulus law, according to public records and information provided by the company.”

The story reported that JDC “was one of 27 in North Carolina to be awarded funds for energy-efficient projects, to the tune of about $250,000. The company received the money in 2011, after the first phase of the project was completed in late 2010.”

Hagan, a Democrat, was elected in 2008, assumed office in 2009, and is seeking re-election to the Senate. Her opponents in the November election are Republican state House Speaker Thom Tillis and Libertarian Sean Haugh.

Green State Power’s website claims the company was founded in 2008, before Hagan became a U.S. senator. But records from the Corporations Division of the N.C. Department of the Secretary of State show the company was formed on Aug. 10, 2010, under the name Solardyne.

JDC Manufacturing’s stimulus grant was awarded Sept. 29, 2010 — seven weeks after Chip Hagan filed papers with the secretary of state’s office creating the company. Carolina Journal has been unable to determine on what date JDC applied for the stimulus grant.

In May 2012, Chip Hagan filed papers changing the name of Solardyne to Green State Power.

The company’s first annual report, filed in February 2011, stated the company designs and installs solar systems. It listed Charles T. Hagan III, Sen. Hagan’s husband, and Charles T. Hagan IV, her son, as the two managers of the company. The Hagans’ son goes by the name Tilden Hagan.

An annual report filed in March 2013 shows Will Stewart, Chip and Kay Hagan’s son-in-law, listed as a third manager of Green State Power. Various news stories in 2014 referred to Stewart as president of the company. Stewart married the Hagans’ daughter, Carrie, in October 2011. CJ has been unable to determine when Stewart first became involved with the company.

Green State Power’s physical address is not listed on its website. The address on file with the state Corporations Division is the same as Chip Hagan’s law firm, 300 North Greene Street, Suite 200, Greensboro.

Green State Power’s website features descriptions of a few of the projects it has completed. The JDC Manufacturing project — which entailed the installation of solar panels on the roof of its building in Reidsville — appears to be Green State Power’s first completed project.

GOP complaint

At a Monday press conference in Raleigh, North Carolina Republican Party Chairman Claude Pope announced that he has asked the U.S. Senate’s Select Committee on Ethics to investigate Hagan’s involvement with the stimulus grant.

In an email to CJ, Hagan campaign spokesman Chris Hayden said,

The N.C. GOP has filed a frivolous complaint out of political desperation. The fact of the matter is the Ethics Committee hasn’t announced any investigation, Kay has not been notified that there is any investigation, and the N.C. GOP is being intentionally misleading in this regard. Everything they want to know has been spelled out clearly by Kay, the campaign, and JDC. Speaker Tillis is clearly grasping at straws to avoid answering questions about the bank he’s invested in and avoid talking about his record.

Kay has been completely up front that she had absolutely no part in helping JDC apply for or receive these grants and her only involvement was when she made sure that a respected ethics attorney was consulted to ensure that it was appropriate, and the attorney found that it was. Speaker Tillis is hypocritically attacking Kay’s family, but he has refused to answer questions about a bank he owns founders stock in that has benefitted from more than a million dollars in Recovery Act tax credits.

Hagan seeks legal help

When asked by Politico about the stimulus grant, the Hagan campaign said the senator didn’t help her husband win the federal funding and “disputed any suggestion they have profited off the law.” But Hagan was concerned enough to seek advice on the matter.

“Once she learned of her husband’s dealings, Hagan never involved herself in his efforts to obtain the stimulus grants, her campaign said. She consulted with veteran Democratic attorney Marc Elias over the matter, according to spokeswoman Sadie Weiner,” Politico reported.

“Kay is not involved in her husband’s business and had no part in helping JDC apply for or receive these grants,” Weiner told Politco. “Her only involvement was when she made sure that a respected ethics attorney was consulted to ensure that it was appropriate, and the attorney found that it was.”

CJ contacted Caitlin Legacki, who was listed by Politico as a spokeswoman for JDC, but who also is a principal at Precision Strategies, a PR firm described by The Washington Post as a “crisis-management/branding/organization-building outfit piloted by partner Stephanie Cutter, a former top Obama campaign official and a CNN pundit.”

Legacki also was Kay Hagan’s speechwriter and press secretary from February to October 2009 and a press assistant for the presidential campaign of John Edwards from February 2007 to February 2008.

In an email, CJ asked Legacki when JDC applied for the stimulus grant, if the company applied for any other grants, when the solar company was formed, what solar energy expertise Hagan’s family members have, when Hagan asked for legal/ethical advice on the issue, and why she did not go to the Senate Ethics Committee for advice.

Legacki did not respond to the email.

JDC Manufacturing

JDC Manufacturing was set up originally as a plastic recycling company, but its most recent filing states its business as real estate ownership and management. Chip Hagan is one of three managers of JDC. The other two are Chip’s brothers John Carter Hagan and David Blair Hagan. A separate company named Plastic Revolutions leases the 300,000-square-foot facility from JDC Manufacturing. According to the Politico story, John Hagan owns Plastics Revolution and Chip Hagan serves on its board of directors.

HD Business Services

In addition to his law practice at Hagan Davis Mangum Barrett & Langley, Chip Hagan has considerable business interests. Affiliated with his law firm is a company named HD Business Services LLC that represents more than 100 individual businesses, according to the secretary of state’s corporations directory.

Tilden Hagan recently formed some of his own companies through HD Business Services. HD Business Services filed documents in May 2013 with Tilden Hagan as the sole manager for Bladenboro Lands LLC and Bladenboro Solar, and in July 2014 for Green State Engineers. The initial filings do not state the nature of the business for any of the firms.

Don Carrington is executive editor of Carolina Journal.