A group called Robeson for Advancement has been identified in driveby media reports as a leading force in the lobbying effort to get SB554 — authorizing a build/lease program for public school facilities — passed on Jones Street. Aaron Thomas, president of Metcon construction in Pembroke, is listed in government documents as the principal agent for the group. The address listed on secretary of state filings for Robeson for Advancement is the same as that of Metcon.
Robeson for Advancement has hired former senate Republican leader Patrick Ballantine to lobby on behalf of SB554. According to the secretary of state’s office, the group has paid Ballantine more than $100,000 since 2013.
We posted earlier about the, um, “generosity” to various political figures by James Maynor — a Metcon official who spent time in federal prison for drug trafficking. Gov. Pat McCrory got $7,000 from Maynor in 2012. House speaker Tim Moore got $2000 from Maynor this year. Senate leader Phil Berger got $2500 from Maynor in 2014.
That’s small potatoes to the, um,. “generosity” of Thomas. According to the folks at FollowtheMoney.org. Thomas gave Speaker Moore $8000 in 2014 and $4500 this year. He gave senate leader Berger $3000 in 2014. Gov. Pat McCrory got $4000 from Thomas this year.
Interestingly, driveby media reports just yesterday indicated SB554 was dead in the water on Jones Street. Jane Smith, the Democrat senator representing Robeson County, made the announcement.
And, like magic, the bill appeared on the senate calendar for today. It got tweaked, and sent on to another committee. (A shakedown for more cash, perhaps?)