Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. EST
CONFEDERATE MONUMENT-NORTH CAROLINA
North Carolina university board discusses Confederate statue
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) – The board overseeing North Carolina’s public universities is meeting to decide the fate of a Confederate statue toppled by protesters at the state’s flagship campus.
The University of North Carolina System Board of Governors was meeting Friday to discuss a proposal to build a $5 million building to house the “Silent Sam” statue at UNC-Chapel Hill. It was torn down during a demonstration earlier this year.
The board started the day with unrelated committee meetings and was expected to discuss a plan for the statue later in the morning. The proposal for a new building came earlier this month from trustees at the Chapel Hill campus.
Several dozen protesters gathered outside of Friday’s meeting, watched by a heavy police presence. Some protesters held signs with messages including “No Racist Statues.”
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RUSSIAN MONEY LAUNDERING SCHEME
Prosecutors allege fraud, kickbacks and murder-for-hire plot
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Federal prosecutors say a couple living in North Carolina used a kickback scheme to defraud the Russian government and fund their lavish lifestyle.
And the man at the center of their enterprises, Leonid Teyf, is also accused of murder-for-hire. His wife and three others face charges ranging from money laundering to immigration fraud.
Court documents unsealed this week say Teyf once led a company that provided Russia’s military with equipment and services. He and others got millions in kickbacks from subcontractors, according to an indictment.
Prosecutors say he had a North Carolina mansion and set up U.S. businesses to launder money. Authorities accuse him of plotting to kill a man he suspected of having an affair with his wife. His lawyers didn’t respond to an email.
MISSING WOMAN-SEX OFFENDER
Missing NC woman found buried in sex offender’s backyard
WILSON, N.C. (AP) – Authorities say the body of a 71-year-old North Carolina woman missing for at least two weeks has been found buried behind the home of a registered sex offender.
Citing a Johnston County Sheriff’s Office statement, news outlets report 50-year-old Kenneth Wayne Lamm was charged Wednesday with first-degree murder in the death of 71-year-old Kathy Thomas. Investigators executing a search warrant found Thomas’ body a day later in Wilson.
Thomas was last seen alive and well on Nov. 23. The investigation into her disappearance began a week later, when deputies conducting a welfare check Nov. 30 couldn’t find her.
According to the North Carolina sex offender registry, Lamm was imprisoned until 2012 stemming from a 1994 conviction for second-degree rape and two second-degree sex offenses. It’s unclear whether he has a lawyer.
TEACHER DIES-FIRE DRILL
N. Carolina teacher, MLB player’s daughter dies after drill
(Information from: The Virginian-Pilot, http://pilotonline.com)
HERTFORD, N.C. (AP) – Authorities in North Carolina say a fifth-grade teacher who was also the daughter of baseball star Jim “Catfish” Hunter died after falling ill during a school fire drill.
Perquimans County Schools assistant superintendent James Bunch tells The Virginian-Pilot that 45-year-old Kim Hunter Daugherty died Thursday morning of an undisclosed medical emergency at Hertford Grammar School.
Daugherty had taught for 20 years and was the daughter of Major League Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Jim “Catfish” Hunter, who played for the Oakland Athletics and was on five World Series-winning teams.
The newspaper reports Daugherty was the first girl in Perquimans County to play on the previously all-boy Little League teams.
Bunch said she was “a great teacher, a great colleague and she was loved.”
School was canceled that afternoon and counselors and ministers were made available.
Ex-city official accused of stealing funds gets probation
(Information from: The News & Observer, http://www.newsobserver.com)
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A former Raleigh assistant city manager accused of stealing thousands of dollars from a business incubator that was funded by the city has entered an Alford plea.
The News & Observer reported Thursday that Lawrence Wray in October entered the plea, which acknowledges that prosecutors have enough evidence to secure a conviction without admitting guilt. He was placed on “conditional discharge,” which is equivalent to 12 months’ unsupervised probation and has paid $12,100 in restitution.
His embezzlement charge stems from his time as the board chairman of the Raleigh Business and Technology Center, which offered support to small businesses. According to the indictment, he negotiated a $25,000 loan that he deposited in his own account. The incubator then paid back the loan, which, with interest, reached $48,000.
North Carolina fails to land Apple site, thousands of jobs
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina business recruiters and politicians are staying closed-mouthed as Apple announced that it is choosing Texas as the site for thousands of new technology jobs.
Apple said Thursday it will build a new campus in Austin with 5,000 jobs to start, and the potential to grow to 15,000 employees. The maker of iPhones and other gadgets also announced plans to establish new sites in Seattle, San Diego, and Culver City, California.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said he expected to learn more about Apple’s decision soon.
The head of site selection for the business consulting firm BDO says Austin’s hip reputation likely makes it easier to recruit the tech-savvy workers Apple needs. Tom Stringer says his experience has been that Texas also offers more in financial incentives.
Judge: No Puerto Rico trip for convicted ex-county official
(Information from: The Asheville Citizen-Times, http://www.citizen-times.com)
ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) – A former North Carolina official guilty of conspiring to defraud the federal government cannot go on vacation to Puerto Rico this month.
The Asheville Citizen Times reports a federal judge on Tuesday denied the request by former Buncombe County assistant manager Jon Creighton, who is awaiting sentencing. Creighton pleaded guilty in October to accepting bribes in exchange for government contracts.
Former County manager Wanda Greene and assistant manager Mandy Stone are also charged in the scheme and have pleaded not guilty. A federal probe into county corruption also netted Greene’s son and former County Business Intelligence manager Michael Greene, who’s pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the federal government.
Creighton’s attorney requested his client be allowed to go on the vacation as non-refundable airfare and lodging had already been purchased.
Legislature nears end of 2-year session, awaiting any vetoes
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The North Carolina General Assembly is putting the finishing touches on its two-year session.
Legislators on Thursday approved a grab-bag “technical corrections” bill and a measure extending the time farmers can request state aid following Hurricane Florence until Dec. 20.
Cooper signed the Florence measure later Thursday. Five other bills await Cooper’s action in deadlines over 10 days. Cooper has until Sunday night to act on a measure implementing voter photo identification mandated in a constitutional referendum. Legislators could end the session, following any override votes as soon as next week.
The “technical corrections” bill in part would allow Wayne County school leaders to retain control of a low-performing school the State Board of Education voted last week to take from local control.