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Ad Exposes Governor McCrory’s Very Own “Den of Thieves”

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“Den of thieves” was how one Facebook  poster responded to an ad from the Statesville Record & Landmark this Wednesday.

How could an ad engender such a response?

It can when it’s another ad for the I77 HOT lanes, and it’s an ad apparently placed by a company whose local point of contact has close ties to North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory.

Readers will remember this post from last month outlining all of the lobbyist connections surrounding the I77 HOT lanes project – connections that point to the state’s highest elected official.

One of those connections was to a company named Mercury, LLC whose North Carolina point of contact is listed as one Russell Peck.  Peck served as McCrory’s campaign manager in 2012.

In that original post, the only connection mentioned to Mercury was that the firm had done work in the past for one of Cintra’s frequent business partners, an Australian company named Macquarie Infrastructures.  However, it now appears that Mercury may be doing work for Cintra on the I77 project.

The ad in Wednesday’s Statesville paper closed the loop on this connection.

Below are images of two PDF files of the Statesville.com ad.

The first one is from Wednesday morning.  As you can clearly see, the heading on the file says Mercury, LLC – the same name as the governor’s former campaign manager’s firm.

mercury

Sometime Wednesday afternoon, the site changed to the image below.  The only difference in the file was who placed the ad.  It now says I77 Mobility, the Cintra subsidiary building the HOT lanes.

mobility

Can you say “Oops!!!”

Someone recognized their “error”, then went in and made the change.

Folks, this explains a LOT.

Last year, Governor Pat blew off a letter from a majority of Lake Norman’s Commissioners asking to delay signing commercial close with Cintra.  Most of those who signed the letter were fellow Republicans

Earlier this year, he ignored a rising crescendo of opposition to the project when he let his NCDOT sign the financial close.

Now, he is going around the state telling everyone there is no turning back.

These types of ads have been popping up everywhere.  Campaign-style mailers.  Web ads.  Letters.  It is hard to turn around these days without coming across something from Cintra/I77 Mobility/Mercury(?).

In addition to the ads in the Statesville paper, Cintra/I77 Mobility/Mercury(?) took out full page ads this week in current weekly papers in North Mecklenburg.

They are in hardcore selling mode on a project that supposedly cannot be stopped.

The question is “Why???”

At least part of that answer would now appear to be good old fashioned cronyism.  Somebody pays for these ads.  Somebody gets paid to make them.  Somebody gets paid to place them.

Now, it looks like that somebody may have a direct connection to the Governor’s Mansion.

The fact that the “error” on Statesville.com just happened to involve a company with the same name as a firm with close ties to the governor sure is a big coincidence if it were in fact not the actual case.  It is too big a coincidence for any reasonable person to believe.

So, next time you see one of these ads, do this.

While channelling your best archvillain Gru from the Despicable Me cartoons, add this tagline…

“Brought to you by Governor Pat McCrory and his band of minions.”

Doing that will make all of this make a lot more sense.  Using the Gru voice might also make you feel the slightest bit better about such a villainous situation.

Speaking of villains and dens of thieves…

“Den of Thieves” was the title of a book outlining corruption on Wall Street in the 1980’s – insider trading and the like.  People will remember forever the names Ivan Boesky and Michael Milkin as the real-life archvillains of that era.

One has to wonder what names will be remembered similarly here in North Carolina before this tale of I77 HOT lanes is all over.

*Rick Short writes at A Short Chronicle.

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