100% All-Natural Composition
No Artificial Intelligence!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Governor Easley made taxpayers fund $170,000 "business" trip to Italy

I don't mind saying this: I've never liked or trusted Mike Easley, before or after he became Governor of North Carolina.

When I was a reporter in Asheville, I saw how Easley, who was then the state's Attorney General, practically stole land from a private owner. Easley's claim was that the land needed to be environmentally protected, as if it were pristine wilderness. Then an aerial photograph showed that there were already not only housing developments nearby but a chemical plant also. I saw the plans that the guy had for the land and there's no question in my mind that he was going to responsibly manage the land and make it into something that everyone could enjoy. He was certainly going to do a much better job at it than the state government ever would.

Easley had the state take it anyway.

So now Mike Easley is on his way out as governor, and it looks like he's feeling that the taxpayers "owe" him for the "service" he has given this state: Easley racked up a $170,000 bill during a "business" trip to Italy, which also included his wife, members of his staff and three North Carolina Highway Patrol officers to provide "security" for Easley. During the trip, which included overnight stays in Rome, Venice and Florence, Easley and his contingent stayed at some of the most expensive hotels in Venice and enjoyed dinner at what are considered to be among the finest restaurants in Europe. They also enjoyed the service of a luxury limo and driver at the rate of $3,600 a day.

All of this was billed to the taxpayers of North Carolina.

And strangely, WTVD in Raleigh is reporting that many of the expenditures were not reported, having been "redacted".

The trip is being lauded as a "success" by Easley's staff and supporters.

I've got three questions:

1. What kind of a return can we, the taxpayers of North Carolina, expect for the "investment" that we were forced to make for Easley and his buddies to party hardy down Rome and Venice way?

2. What kind of business interests are there in Italy that we in North Carolina should have a compelling interest in? So far, not Easley or anyone on his staff has been forthcoming with this. We're told that they promoted North Carolina as a tourist destination to the Italians... which is kinda like trying to sell a snow machine to an Inuit.

3. In this time of fiscal constraint, how does Easley and his staff justify such wanton spending when there were less expensive alternatives, if this trip was deemed to be an absolute necessity?

I'm not expecting answers from either Easley or his cronies on those questions. It's pretty obvious that the "business" aspect was a facade over what was for all intent and purpose a pleasure trip which this state can't adequately justify and funded by money that we don't really have.

One more example of what I've come to call the "rotted timbers", folks...


Anonymous said...

Easley is also demanding one million dollars for a monument to black history.

Chris Knight said...

According to what I found the total monument cost is $4.5 million (projected) and he wants to spend $1 million of tax money to help with it. Still too much. This isn't something to spend public funds on.

In matters of public treasury I always look to the example of Horatio Bunce (worth Googling for :-)

Anonymous said...

I thought 16 years of Jim Hunt was bad for this state, but Easley has done far more damage in half the time.

I never forgave him after his initial campaign in 2000 in which he repeatedly said publicly that he was "neither for nor against a lottery, but if the legislature wanted one then he would sign the bill".

BULLCRAP -- Easley was financed by the same sleazoids that had previously purchased politicians in S.C. to bring the lottery there. Flush from their success to our south they saw the Tar Heel state as their next prize.

From the moment he was elected Easley became the mouthpiece of the NC Lottery-- I didn't vote for him to begin with, but I would have AT LEAST had respect for the man if he had run an honest campaign. His original banner should have been "if you want a lottery, elect me".

He ran on a lie because he knew that the majority (usually polls showed 70-80%) of North Carolinians did NOT want a lottery in this state.

Think of all the money that has been drained from our economy by this idiotic ponzi scheme.

We need a ton of fresh ideas in Raleigh in 2008 (and not just in the governor's mansion--or should I call it a casino?)

Anonymous said...

I would like to know why the State of North Carolina doesn't have an implemented per diem of expenses even for our unworthy govenor!

Most business and corporations have implemented an expense per diem. For our company we offer a Specific dollar per day for meals, A Specific dollar per day for mileage, A Specific dollar per day for lodging and A Specific dollar per day for transportation.

The Govenor attempted to defend his waste of our tax money by the saying that the Euro was so much higher than the dollar, "even a cheeseburge and onion rings was $60". Perhaps he should have eaten at McDonalds, like most "average" people would have done. North Carolina should have an implemented per day expense amount for meals; that way if we allow $60 per day for meals and the govenor chose to spend $60 on a cheeseburger and onion rings; he would be responsible for paying out of his pocket the rest of his meals. AND, the State of North Carolina didn't elect his wife. Taxpayers should not be responsible for paying anything for her trip. That expense should have come from their personal budget.

If I travel with my spouse on business; his company pays for him, not me. My airfare and my meals are my responsibility not his company.

There is no reason why our govenor and his wife could not have riden in the van with everyone else. They are no more important in Italy than they are in the USA. This was an extremely poor use of tax payer dollars and Govenor Easley should have spoken up and told said, "With the economic downfall that my taxpayers are experiencing, I cannot waste their money. I am here on business, I will ride in the van with everyone else and we will stay at the Holiday Inn! We will take care of business and go home."

Govenor Easley is living proof of another greedy politician that has taken advantage of his position and of the people that pay his salary.