The next scandal to smack Raleigh


To get a preview, just look at what’s already happening south of our state border:

Horry County Schools’ $220 million deal with a contractor to build five new schools prompted a state law enforcement investigation, the district revealed Tuesday in a statement.


The statement also reveals that communication between the CEO of First Floor Energy, the contractor selected to design the schools, and a contracted school board attorney regarding the firm’s proposal began four months before its official presentation to the board.


HCS Superintendent Rick Maxey was first contacted by a SLED agent in December 2015 about the selection of First Floor, according to the statement, after the Attorney General’s Office received a complaint shortly after the contract was finalized.


The district released emails between contracted school board attorney Keith Powell and First Floor CEO Robbie Ferris on or before Feb. 25, 2015, that were later forwarded to SLED, in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.


The emails, also released to The Sun News Tuesday, show Ferris asking Powell multiple questions about the building projects, primarily regarding procurement options, beginning in June 2014. Powell responded to each question, showing how First Floor might be able to become the district’s sole provider on the projects.


Powell does mention in one of his emails that “the administration doesn’t know anything about this proposal having been requested.”


Ferris also states in one of his emails that he was in contact with Matt Dean, HCS facilities director at the time, about a potential proposal.[…]

Ferris and the folks behind First Floor have been aggressively lobbying the North Carolina legislature AND various local governments and school boards on this side of the border to participate in similar deals.  Their pitch involves leasing back  new school buildings powered by “alternative energy” (solar, etc.) to various government entities across the state.  There are also pitches for the private entity to sell off the “alternative energy” harvested from the leased school buildings.

Solar goons have been busily lining legislator pockets in Raleigh to make this scheme a reality on this side of the border.  Alternative energy sounds nice.  But it only works if you can shake enough tax money out of government treasuries.

Speaker Timmy and his pals — closely allied with the solar goons — have been pushing hard for a school construction bond while the Senate has been pushing for a cheaper, more cost-effective pay-as-you-go program.   A construction bond was what got this whole charlie-foxtrot started in South Carolina.


[…] “The facilities director (Matt Dean) does not want to run this up the change of command unless he sees it as viable,” Ferris wrote to Powell. “… That is why we were hoping that you could help us get the direction set so we could submit a ‘credible proposal’ and then work the details out after the superintendent tells Matt to go with the proposal.”


He continues, “I could be reading this wrong but I think pushing to have them retain you before Matt is ready to present the idea could kill the deal.”


Board member Neil James, who serves as facilities committee chair, said communication between a contract bidder and district staff would only occur after all bids are received. He was not aware before seeing the emails that Dean had been in contact with Ferris, he said.


Dean resigned from the position in March 2015.


The Sun News previously has filed dozens of FOIA requests related to the district’s deal with First Floor, including communications between Ferris and Powell, but the district denied that request, stating they were protected by attorney-client privilege.


The district was sent an email by an attorney in April 2017 with a link to these emails and her opinion that these exchanges were not protected by attorney-client privilege, the statement reads.


When asked why attorney-client privilege was used in the previous denial, district spokeswoman Lisa Bourcier said The Sun News is welcome to FOIA those emails again, which was done Tuesday morning.

The statement, signed by Maxey, James and board president Ken Richardson, notes that the communication between Powell and Ferris was unknown to district staff or board members prior to April 2017, when a review of their emails found those communications.


Board member Holly Heniford said her review of the emails didn’t find anything wrong.


“All I saw was an aggressive salesperson,” she said, referring to Ferris.


Heniford, who works in real estate, said she understands how people not in sales might assume the communication was nefarious, but she just read the emails as Ferris getting appropriate definitions to submit a proposal.


She added that she wishes Powell had told the board about the emails.


“(He) was supposed to represent the best interests of the school board,” Heniford said. “I’m not sure he was.”


James said the timing of the emails was concerning because it was before the board knew anything about First Floor Energy.


He added that, in the end, he feels the district got good schools out of the deal.


The new energy-positive schools include Ten Oaks, Myrtle Beach and Socastee middle schools, St. James Intermediate School and Socastee Elementary School.


Richardson, who became chairman in January, said he had a suspicion of the SLED investigation while he was running, but only found out for sure about a week before being sworn in.


The decision to release the emails now is based on a conversation he, Maxey and James had regarding the large number of FOIA requests they kept receiving, he said.


“I told (voters) coming in that I planned on being transparent,” Richardson said.


Richardson confirmed that the SLED investigation is ongoing, and he said all district officials are cooperating.


If things keep going as they are in Raleigh, we will be right where South Carolina is RIGHT NOW.  Our legislators need to show us a little more respect and start acting in the best interests of their constituents and our kids. Instead of what’s best for their own wallets and campaign funds.

5 thoughts on “The next scandal to smack Raleigh

  1. North Carolina needs leadership like Doug Ford, the Premier of Canada’s most populous and industrialized province, Ontario (major city is Toronto), to use the green energy boondoggle against the left. Ford’s Conservative Party had been out of power in Ontario for 15 years when he took over the leadership last year shortly before the provincial election, and they faced a 2 to 1 Liberal majority in the provincial parliament. Ford made fighting the wind and solar energy boondoggle the centerpiece of his campaign and won the biggest landslide in Canadian history. When the votes were counted, he had flipped a 2 to 1 Liberal majority to a 10 to 1 Conservative majority, leaving the Liberals with only 7 seats, not enough to even be officially recognized as a party in parliament. Ford’s new Conservative government jumped into action, cancelling nearly a thousand wind and solar projects and repealing the Green Energy Act.

    Where is our Doug Ford?

    1. Poland’s conservative government has also figured out the green energy boondoggle and are moving against it. A few months ago, the Polish government, where the populist right Law and Justice Party has an absolute majority, issued new rules on wind turbines, that effectively mean no new ones will be built, and requiring all existing wind turbines to be removed in their entirety by 2030, including the deep underground anchors.

      Way to go, Poland. NC legislators, please take note.

  2. I’d like to see an investigative reporter do a piece showing, or trying to uncover (a better term), any political relationship between those establishment republicans who were luke warm to Mark Harris for 9th district Congress and the Dan McCreedy candidacy. Dan M is a big time solar boss in NC and the organizations that promoted the solar scam in NC passed, I hear, big $$$’s to “R” candidates to continue to support the expansion of the scam. In my opinion Dan M, by winning the 9th Congressional seat, will go to Washington DC for the primary purpose of securing the subsidies and flow of the solar gravy train dollars into NC. Without subsidies the solar scam fades away. Mark Harris, I believe, would have put a stop to it! Maybe if we knew the names and the solar dollars that are associated with them a pattern will develop? Maybe not? Just saying.

    1. The establishment candidate in the 3rd district GOP special primary, Greg Murphy, has also supported and voted for the Big Solar special interest, as has another of the primary candidates, Phil Sheppard. The top conservative running for Congress, Michael Speciale has stood strongly for electric ratepayers and for taxpayers by opposing this corrupt crony capitalist wind and solar scam. When he was at Civitas, Francis deLuca also opposed the green energy scam.

      Walter Jones always opposed these government subsidies for expensive and unreliable electric production. Speciale or deLuca would follow in his conservative footsteps.

  3. It is hard to imagine any fiscal conservative or taxpayer oriented legislator voting for special breaks for Big Solar and Big Wind, as foreign countries that have gone that route have seen huge increases in electric bills for their citizens and huge taxpayer subsidies for “industries” that cannot stand on their own two feet without big government propping them up. Yet a bunch of establishment Republican legislators did just that in the last legislative term, voting for a bill that created special priveleges for Big Solar and Big Wind and gave them subsidies at the expense of North Carolina ratepayers.

    It is even harder to imagine that a doctor who is a legislator would do so. The EPA has warned that solar farms are a source of the contaminant GenX and related chemicals in our groundwater. The World Health Organization has warned that wind turbines create a significant risk to human health from infrasound, including increased risks of cardiovascular disease, stress, and sleep disorders. A European study found that people had to be 15 kilometers (about 8 miles) from a wind turbine before the human health risks began to decrease.

    Why then has Doctor Greg Murphy supported Big Solar and Big Wind as a legislator?

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