#ncsen: Rhodes unloads new ethics charges against Tillis, criticizes official Raleigh’s handling of previous charges

jr1Former Republican legislator John Rhodes, running as a write-in unaffiliated candidate for US Senate, says voters AND the government need to take a closer look at the ethics of GOP US Senate nominee Thom Tillis.

In a statement released Thursday, Rhodes called for an investigation into allegations that Tillis, the speaker of the NC House, pushed for the state to improve a road (coincidentally?) abutted by real estate owned by some big contributors to Tillis’s Senate campaign:

[…] Next, what I’d like to share are concerns about what could be unethical activities concerning the I-77 toll lanes. As we all know, Speaker Tillis has not only been an advocate of the toll project, but also pushed legislation for the public-private partnership toll lanes. Last month it was reported by WCNC that a group of Tillis campaign contributors stand to make millions from public tax dollars tied to the toll lanes. The report said that ACN executives invested in the prime Cornelius property, known as Augustalee, but they needed one key component to develop the land – a new exit ramp off I-77, which will be Exit 27. WCNC reported that insiders had said that with the new exit, that land could more than double in value – and the property owners could make millions. The funds for the new exit 27 will come from bonus money given to the area for accepting the tolls. As WCNC reported, “Tillis supported the transportation bill with the bonus funds tied to the toll lanes. The Governor signed the bill last year on June 26. On June 27 – the very next day – a group of ACN executives and their wives donated $26,000 to Thom Tillis? senate campaign.”

Then it was reported that on September 13, Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker toured Augustalee since Cornelius town leaders wanted her help for exit 27. According to WCNC, after she indicated there was hope for support, on September 18, five days later, a company called TC Investors donated $25,000 to the superPAC Grow NC Strong which backs Thom Tillis for the US Senate.

It’s this kind of legislative activity that appears to be tied to donations that has led citizens to distrust our government and question what is really motivating Speaker Tillis to push for the toll lanes. On Monday, I plan to file a fifth ethics complaint regarding what appears to be pay-to-play between the Augustalee property owners and Speaker Thom Tillis.

My time in Raleigh taught me that when there is smoke, there is fire. And it seems as though there are special interests stoking the flames. I hope for the sake of the citizens of the Lake Norman area that there will be a more thorough investigation this time around being that it is a 50-year contract we are talking about.[…]

Earlier this year, Rhodes filed complaints alleging pay-to-play tactics by Tillis, the speaker of the NC House. In his , Rhodes raised questions about the level of seriousness applied to his complaints: podium

[…] “John Rhodes filed a complaint with the Committee on April 14, 2014 against Speaker Thom Tillis. The complaint is valid is that it is properly executed and alleges the nature of ethical violations and the time of the occurrence of the unethical acts. The complaint is verified and sworn, subject to persecution for perjury. The sworn complaint is from John Rhodes and addressed to the Committee.”

I don’t know about you, but as a citizen I find this response concerning. The committee almost sounds like the bully Tillis is.

Unfortunately, I learned that the Ethics Committee never contacted the witnesses I had cited in the ethics complaints.

For instance, neither Rep. Robert Brawley or Rep. Larry Pittman were contacted by the ethics committee to testify or asked for a written statement regarding Rep. Tillis’s treatment or interaction pertaining to the ethics complaints.

Based on them not calling key witnesses to get to the bottom of the ethics complaints, there are now more questions than ever, and any reasonable citizen would likely not agree with the findings of the ethics committee.

So, is the legislative ethic’s committee telling us that it is ethical to sell state government to the highest bidder?

Another question this raises is, did Tillis being Speaker of the House influence the Committee’s desire or ability to complete a fair and honest investigation of the facts surrounding the investigation of the ethics complaints.

Perhaps since the ethics committee, who is charged with policing their own and members of the state legislature, cannot provide the public with confidence that they can even call key witnesses to assure us that their members are acting ethically and within the confines of the law, then perhaps its appropriate to release the ethics complaints and allow the public to judge for themselves if Rep.Tillis has acted ethically and in the best interest of the public or not.[…] 

During his time in the legislature, Rhodes gained statewide attention for his efforts to call attention to political corruption in both parties.  He is credited with bringing on the investigation and — later — conviction of then-Speaker Jim Black.

22 thoughts on “#ncsen: Rhodes unloads new ethics charges against Tillis, criticizes official Raleigh’s handling of previous charges

  1. Once again John Rhodes shows us how to handle corrupt politicians. No one wants these Toll Roads and Tillis is getting donations for pushing them on the people. “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.” I couldn’t agree more.

    1. Rhodes is dead on and everybody knows it. Some aren’t willing to admit it.

      The ethics committee is a joke. Look at the record (which is online). They don’t do squat. In one annual report, they acquitted one more than the cases they heard. You can’t let crooks investigate crooks.

      There are plenty of witnesses who will and want something done and this ?ethics committee? is supposed to be the vehicle to do so.

      Rhodes has the cajones and also has my write in vote.

  2. Will Rhodes stop being a big cry baby and STFU?

    Giving conservatives and tea-partiers a bad name.


    1. for someone with the handle “Observant Debate Watcher” and the comment you left, not sure how many voters you’re going to sway or earn.


  3. Someone needs to bring these issues to light — why does it take a former legislator instead of a current one? I also want to know why the ethics committee didn’t call on witnesses. I have a feeling these complaints won’t go away and Rhodes will be proved correct again.

  4. John Rhodes is doing what principled people should do. Few people have this kind of courage. I thank him for it. This proves what a good Senator he would be.

    The question this brings up for me is, who is controlling the ethics committee and seeing to it that they do nothing about these complaints? Seriously, what good are they if ethics complaints are swept under the rug? Political cover ups are not a good thing….DUH!

  5. I’m guessin’ he is that guy that always yells “Freebird” at concerts.

    Our county fair had a man who was a one-man band. He was pretty entertaining too.

  6. So a former legislator known for taking down one of the most corrupt politicians in NC history (Jim Black) and helping send him to federal prison tells us that there are some pretty heinous conflicts of interest connected to Thom Tillis, but the best Republican party loyalists can do is yell “Shut up” and call names? Pretty pathetic, and pretty hacky, too.

    If it were Hagan connected to this stuff and Rhodes was calling press conferences, these guys would be cheering like they were at a football game. But because Tillis wears the “Team R” jersey, they’re practically throwing tomatoes.

    I guess corruption is only bad when it’s Democrats doing it.

  7. The shills on here crack me up.

    > Rhodes has now left the known universe and is headed into deep space.

    Because a legislator who exposed corruption in the NC legislature resulting in the Democratic Speaker going to prison is now talking about how corrupt the current Speaker is.. why that’s just pure crazy talk coming from a nutjob. We should ignore him.



  8. Tell us some more about the paintball scandal. I seem to remember that Tillis shot up some barn or something.

  9. NO!! It is not John Rhodes that is giving Conservatives a bad name! At The Mallard Creek Barbeque I watched with total disgust as a young journalist friend, with camera in hand, politely sought an honest answer from a group of stinking rotten lying Republican establishment moderates: who seem contented $$$$$$ to spend their lives devising, and implementing an UNNECESSARY and *DESTRUCTIVE Toll Road scheme, with *INCALCULABLE costs, onto the backs of the citizens of N.C.. One after another (like clouds without water) they dodged her question; … Who is ultimately responsible for The Toll Road scheme? Oh To GOD for more men of integrity as John Rhodes who has courageously answered the question in point; …He deserves a pat on the back, ..instead of a knife! It’s no wonder that Americans are leaving The Republican party in droves! Sink or swim I can speak for my family, as well as the majority of my community. We will #WriteInJohnRhodes Because we know that a clear conscience before God is our Greatest Possession!

  10. John Rhodes seems like a stand up guy doing the right thing. Check out the video of his press conference by searching YouTube for

    John Rhodes NEW Ethics Complaint Against Thom Tillis I-77 Toll Road Deal

  11. Why didn’t he bring these up before? Why right before the election? Is he working for Kay Hagan? Rhodes knows he can’t win the election, so he is trying to stop the only person that has a chance to do so. I ask all these write in candidates: Where were you in the primaries?

    1. Thomas — Rhodes brought up these complaints last April before the primary. He was not involved in politics anymore, but felt compelled to bring these to light considering that Tillis could move on to higher office and because many of us citizens in Tillis’s district felt like we had no representation or someone to go to other than John. Several people, including myself, asked John Rhodes if we could write him in for U.S. Senate. We collected the necessary signatures, and that’s how he became a qualified Write-In candidate.

      It was only in the past couple of weeks that he learned that witnesses had not been called by the Ethics Committee and also of the ACN situation. Obviously he won’t get enough signatures to be the next Senator, but I believe that Tillis is more damaging to the Republican party in the long run if he’s elected. If he gets to D.C. and makes Republicans look like even bigger jackasses than they do now, we can count on a Democrat President victory. In my opinion, if you care about getting a liberal, corrupt Democrat out of power for President, you don’t want to send Tillis to Washington.

    2. My point exactly!

      Thanks for expressing so much better than I did when in a fit of pique I mouthed off!

    3. John Rhodes is not a Republican so he couldn’t run in the primary. I don’t think they let independents run in a Republican primary do they? I remember him saying that he left the Republican Party along time ago and he’s an independent. He sounds like a leader to me, everyone’s following him where he goes I mean look at the unaffiliateds are the fastest growing part of the voters now. I’m going to write him in.

  12. Rhodes is a breath of fresh air. Too bad the faux conservative haters feel so threatened. If they think he can’t win or have an impact, why do they spew their venom? They’d be better off trying to find SOMETHING Tillis stands for besides liberal policies.

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