N&O ‘investigative’ unit ignores TWO meaty political stories, bets it ALL on Causey nothing-burger

We know that state auditor Beth Wood is not seeking reelection in 2024.  We know that she had some legal trouble thanks to her failed December 2022 attempt at jumping a parked car with her state-issued car.  Wood got her hand slapped in court.  Two other patsies got their hands slapped for driving Wood home before the cops could get to her.  But WHAT ABOUT THE VIDEO showing at least three women hustling Wood away from the crime scene before the cops arrived? WHAT ABOUT  the two guys – one black and one white – all over the accident scene before the cops got there?  (The white man looked A LOT like Rufus Edmisten, FWIW.)

The cops and the DA apparently didn’t care about identifying or questioning any of the five.  Apparently, neither did The N&O nor the rest of the fawning Raleigh drive-by media. *YAAAAAAAAAWWWNNNNNNNN.* 

Thanks to OUR reporting, we now know a lot of things about the business dealings of Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson and his wife — which included a day care center called ‘Precious Beginnings’ and a non-profit contracting firm with NC DHHS called ‘Balanced Nutrition.’

You may find one or two passing mentions of the day care center in some other media outlets’ archives.  But THIS SITE is the only place to find details on ‘Balanced Nutrition’ – which has, since 2017, put a roof over the head and food on the table of a man who frequently rails against the welfare state.

At least THREE veteran reporters with The N&O have been briefed on Balanced Nutrition.  Yet, there has not been one inch of copy written about it.  Not even a mention-in-passing.  It’s as though it doesn’t exist.  Never mind all the easily accessible documentation revealing: sketchy accounting practices, false information provided to the IRS, numerous potential conflicts of interest, and apparent confusion over just WHO is or is not a family member.

Is the silence just pure laziness?  Or is it just affirmation of the widely-held belief that the drive-bys are conspiring with their DEM friends to help Robinson get the GOP nomination for governor, and then carpet-bomb him back to Guilford County and poverty in the general election?

Instead, the N&O’s ‘crack’ investigative unit has spent the last several months trying to build a triple-decker nothing-burger into a scandal that will – hopefully, in their view – topple Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey.

Here’s the sensational headline from N&O hit-piece #1:

Buried a lot lower in the story was THIS info:

[…] Woodard said he decided not to challenge Causey in the 2016 Republican primary, and instead supported him on the campaign trail. Causey won the primary, then knocked out a Democratic incumbent, giving him the opportunity to fill the policy-making jobs, including one for Woodard.

“I think that he was trying to pay back,” Woodard said. “I mean I’d done a lot for him. I gave him a little money, not much but I gave him some, and I was helping him.” After Causey declined to be interviewed about Woodard, the state insurance department issued a written statement on Oct. 19 that said Woodard was hired because of his experience in insurance and risk management. He was terminated after his supervisor found he rarely used his state-issued laptop, the statement said.[…]

Sources close to Causey and the DOI confirm there was also an issue where Woodard had a run-in with HR over his reported use of department email for transmitting “personal and political” information.

The insurance commissioner told us he understood Woodard started off with the department in a part-time position but eventually landed full-time work.  Causey said his people understood Woodard had experience with ‘risk management’, which was important to the department.

Causey said he recalls meeting Woodard at some eastern North Carolina political events during his early campaigns.  He also recalled meeting Woodard once in Tarboro some time back related to Woodard’s work with an Elizabeth City newspaper.  But Causey told us describing Woodard as an “ally” or some sort of inner-circle confidant was a real stretch. 

But The N&O scribblers decided to double-down on building up Woodard:

[…] After his narrow win, Causey put Woodard on his transition team, the fired employee said, though he recalled doing little in the role. […]

The insurance commissioner had a real problem with that  information.  Causey said he did not recall Woodard being involved with his transition team. He did recall “Bob Rosser, Evelyn Briggs, and a few others.”

“John Woodard played no role that I recall in my transition team. Bob Rosser may remember all the attendees a little better than I do, but I am very confident Woodard wasn’t in any of the meetings.”

Causey told us he did not supervise Woodard.  He said Woodard did not report to him, and that there were layers of management between him and Woodard. The commissioner did say he was concerned about the reports of Woodard being paid for not working:

“If he got paid with state funds to do nothing, somebody needs to recover that money from him.”

On to the next hit piece:

This story was related to the on-going fight with legislators trying to strip the Department of Insurance of its fire marshal / fire safety / construction safety duties. (You know, it does make a wee bit of sense to tie things like fire safety and construction safety to insurance.  Those things DO have a relationship.)  Here was Causey’s reaction:

“Those guys, when they were hired, all signed papers which stated they would be working at the pleasure of the commissioner.  They knew what they were getting into.  

It became clear they were working closely with people who were working against my interests and the interests of the Department of Insurance. You can’t have someone working for you doing something like that.  So, the commissioner was no longer pleased.”

Here’s the DOI release naming the replacements for these guys.

And, last but not least, the third hit piece:

This one rehashes the Woodard story and delves into a new angle – some ‘inside-baseball’ spats about supervisory regions that may interest a small subset of state employees.  Is it worth bothering the populace, the voting public as a whole, about it at all? 

Deep down, this is really all about The Raleigh Grift™ taking its collective frustration on Causey for not playing their sleazy games.  He went to the FBI, and wore a wire, when he was approached about a bribe.  Causey spoke out about a sweetheart deal in the legislature for Blue Cross NC that was dropping a lot of cash in a lot of Raleigh suit coat pockets. The Grift hierarchy was not –  and still is not pleased.

Mike Causey and Dale Folwell are part of a handful of Raleigh officials that still listen to us out here in ‘fly-over’ country and still care about public service.  Mike & Dale’s continued existence in our capital city annoys the hell out of The Grifters.

I say that’s a good thing.