It looks like SB554 — a provision to allow local school systems to lease facilities from private developers — is on its way to reality. Normally, we’re big fans of privatization around here. But this deal — with nearly a quarter million dollars disbursed to key players in this story over three years — stinks like a hog farm.
The big winners in this deal? The architect and contracting firm pushing the deal. They’ve got multi-million dollar deal waiting in the wings in Robeson County. And they’ve shelled out six figures to a former GOP senator-turned-lobbyist, and a bunch of well-placed incumbent Republican legislators. The purported beneficiaries of this deal have hosted fundraising events for and / or donated to Gov. McCrory, speaker Moore, and senator Berger. Wesley Meredith, one of the senate sponsors of the legislation, has received money from at least one of the legislation’s proponents. His private business — a landscaping firm — has been awarded contracts by another of the bill’s proponents.
The solar goons also come out smelling like roses with this deal. The developers — the architect and contractor — specialize in building solar powered facilities. So, the solar goons will have a captive audience — namely, county school systems — for, oh, 30 to 50 years. Senator Jerry Tillman — Meredith’s co-sponsor on SB554 — is a vocal supporter of the solar industry AND the state solar energy mandates, and has a campaign war chest that has been handsomely filled by solar interests.
We reported earlier that Metcon, the contracting firm pushing so hard for SB554, has at least one convicted felon in its leadership team. Several readers have asked us to look into the propriety of a convicted felon being awarded government contracts. For instance, the state lottery commission is prohibited from contracting with anyone who has had a felony conviction, state of federal, within ten years of the enactment of the contract. The federal government has a requirement that no contracts be awarded to a firm where there was a felony conviction within the last two years.