Politics & Government

Ex-N.C. Gov. Easley's flight records sought by investigators

RALEIGH — State Crime Control Secretary Reuben Young on Monday requested an independent investigation of missing flight records that detail then-Gov. Mike Easley's travels, and he has ordered the patrol captain involved in their disappearance to go back on administrative duty.

On Friday, the patrol confirmed that Capt. Alan Melvin had been returned to duty as a supervisor in the technical support unit that maintains computer networks. This was after an internal inquiry, followed by an internal affairs investigation, determined that Melvin had not intended to remove or destroy the records.

Newly appointed patrol Commander Randy Glover had made that decision last month, but Young took Melvin off the job again Monday. Patrol spokesman Capt. Everett Clendenin said Young was concerned about new information that a patrol secretary had given to The News & Observer about the missing records.

Diane Bumgardner, a secretary assigned to the governor's security detail, said in the internal inquiry that Melvin had told her in February 2006 to download flight records from 2003 to 2005 onto a computer disk and then give it to him. He told her to then delete the files to "free up space on the computer."

Bumgardner said in an interview with The N&O that she had never expressed a problem with the computer that would require the need to free up space.

Young "had not heard that information before," Clendenin said.

The computer was turned over to federal investigators in May. The patrol has found flight records for 2003 and 2004, but they have been unable to find them for 2005.

Those missing records are part of wide-ranging state and federal investigations into perks provided to Easley and his family that include access to vehicles, free plane trips, a good price on a coastal lot and a university job for the former first lady, Mary Easley. The patrol's records have helped show that Easley received free air travel from fundraisers whom he appointed to important positions in state government.

To read the complete article, visit www.newsobserver.com.

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