Charlotte Newspaper Deep-Sixes Late Story on Hagan Self-Dealing Stimulus Scandal

The Charlotte Observer seems to be suffering from a vanishing-Kay-Hagan-scandal problem today. Republicans seized on a new story (cached here) on how Senator Hagan's husband benefited from the "stimulus" program. But the link went into "Page Not Found."

Local TV station WBTV was reporting that the Hagan family self-dealing is under "further legal review." That's not a great story for the weekend before the election. Is that why its link broke? It reported this:

State officials say a stimulus grant given to a company run by Kay Hagan's husband needs "further legal review."

WBTV obtained a memo written by the Department of Energy and Natural Resources which includes a letter to the state's auditor from last month. The memo states that NCDENR is looking into potential conflict of interest claims involving Senator Kay Hagan.

NCDENR says they have reviewed grant records and found conflict of issue claims warranted further legal review. Kay Hagan's husband manages one of the companies in question, who received an energy efficiency grant money in 2010.

According to the NC Department of Energy and Natural Resources, the grant agreement included provisions prohibiting family members from receiving incentive payments, “these rules require, among other things, that no one with direct lineal relations may receive incentive payment. For example, the mother, father, brother, sister, son or daughter or a contractor working in this Program cannot receive Awards, contracts and subcontracts.”

The federal Department of Energy Assistance grant agreement had similar regulations that included members of the immediate family, partners, or people who has a financial interest in the firm selected for the grant.

The $250,644 grant in question went to JDC Manufacturing LLC. JDC Manufacturing is managed by John Hagan, David Hagan, and Charles “Chip” Hagan.

Chip Hagan is Senator Kay Hagan's husband.

A search for "Hagan" at the Observer website shows they haven't really dug into this story. There's a brief citation of Politico's reporting on September 26. There's a (perhaps unavoidable) reference to it in a debate story on October 7, with the scandal-blurring headline "Conflict-of-interest charges fly in North Carolina Senate contest." It quickly matched up the Hagan charges with charges against Republican Thom Tillis from "the state Democratic group Forward North Carolina."

On September 20, the Observer displayed how badly it was beat on this story by merely reporting "Hagan: A life in politics, helped by family success." Now, it's the other way around.

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