Saturday, September 6, 2008

City of Greensboro + $125 an Hour Lobbyist + Brooks Pierce Law Firm = Conflict of Interest

North Carolina Secretary of State

It was interesting to find out that the City of Greensboro has it's own $125.00 an hour lobbyist by the name of Camilla Cover CLICK HERE . She works as a paralegal for the Law Firm Brooks, Pierce, McLendon,Humphrey,Leonard,LLP CLICK HERE .

In the State of North Carolina according to the Secretary of State web site there are only around 8 counties who use lobbyist and only 13 cities and towns who also use lobbyist. The cities and towns who use lobbyist in 2008 session are Concord,Durham,Greensboro,Hickory,Kannapolis,Raleigh,Wilson,Boone,Cary,
Clayton,Louisburg,Norwood,Oak Island.

Let's take a closer look at Camilla Cover from Brooks Pierce Law Firm who is the City of Greensboro's personal lobbyist at the state level for 2007 and 2008. According to her returns from the period ending for June 30, 2008 she billed the city a total of $13,745.00. If you want to see these returns CLICK HERE , then proceed to principal expense. You can also add that just in the month of May of 2008 when the North Carolina Legislators went back in session , she worked 41.6 hours for a total bill to the City of Greensboro $5,200, go to the title of this post above and click it to see the pdf file sent to Greensboro City Attorney Terry Wood on behalf of Camilla Cover from Brooks,Pierce,McLendon, Humphrey,and Leonard. This pdf file shows just how she bills the City of Greensboro and just how much time and what she was doing for Greensboro as a lobbyist.

As you can see the lobbyist for the City of Greensboro is paid very well at $125.00 an hour. Let's take a look at some other returns from past years to show you what the Law Firm of Brooks Pierce have billed the City of Greensboro. Here is the billing from Camilla Cover for 2007

quarter ending March 31,2007 $14,485.50
quarter ending June 30, 2007 $22,594
quarter ending September 30,2007 $2,875
quarter ending December 31, 2007 $87.50
2007 TOTAL = $40,042

Let's also take a look at the billing cycle of 2005 and 2006 . This is where we can also add a lot more lobbyist who put another wrinkle to the point of this whole conflict of interest between the City of Greensboro and the Law Firm of Brooks ,Pierce etc. etc. . Here is a list of the lobbyist from the 2005/06 report to the Secretary of State:

Derek Allen,George House,Jim Phillips Jr,Camilla Cover,and Ed Turlington are all listed as lobbyist for the City of Greensboro. CLICK HERE to see the whole list.Here is the total bills for 2005 and 2006

Jan.1 2005- Sept. 2 2005 $36,972.63
Sept. 3 2005 - Dec. 31, 2005 $1,155.40
Jan 1,2006 - July 28, 2006 $28,059.10
July 29, 2006 - Dec. 31, 2006 $1,275.00
TOTAL= $67,462.13

Are the citizens of Greensboro happy with their tax dollars of around $121,249.13 from 2005-2008 going to this endeavor of having your own lobbyist at the state level of North Carolina?Doesn't the League of Municipalities do practically the same thing ?

As you can see the Brooks Pierce Law Firm gets paid by the City of Greensboro but as you can see, one of the lawyers in the Brooks Pierce Law Firm is Derek Allen CLICK HERE , he is no longer a lobbyist for the City of Greensboro but is now one of a very few local lawyers who come in front of the Greensboro City Council plenty of times in zoning cases as a lawyer from this firm.

But in a quasi judicial setting how is it that a law firm gets paid from the city and a lawyer from that law firm comes in front of the city in zoning cases? That is a total conflict of interest between the City of Greensboro and Brooks,Pierce,McLendon,Humphrey and Leonard Law Firm.You can also add that Derek Allen was also the city's lobbyist back in 2006 to that mix also.

We can also take a look at what happened at the Board of Adjustments meeting in August of 2008 according to the Rhino Times CLICK HERE where they had a case come before them and some members were missing from the meeting and they had 5 present. Derek Allen from Brooks Pierce Law Firm was in the audience but once he spoke on a case 2 members of the Board of Adjustment had conflicts of interest with Derek Allen , chairman John Cross CLICK HERE is also a lawyer with Brooks Pierce Law Firm and another board member Scott Brewington's wife is with the Brooks Pierce Law Firm CLICK HERE , both members had to recuse themselves from this case and it had to be continued to the next meeting because you need 4 votes and they only had 3 at the meeting for this case.

The slamming of citizens on these boards and commissions with members of the Triad Real Estate and Building Industry Coalition aka TREBIC CARTEL where Brooks, Pierce, McLendon, Humphrey & Leonard, LLP is a silver member is out of control. It is time for the City of Greensboro quit putting members of this coalition on all these boards and commissions .Let's try a novel idea and put average citizens on these boards and commissions not put anymore TREBIC members . Below is just a few that have happened in just the past month with no opposition at all from any other city council member.

Greensboro City Council Member Mike Barber putting Mary Skenes from Yost and Little Real Estate, a TREBIC bronze member on the Zoning Board. Mary Skenes is also Mike Barbers campaign treasurer.

Greensboro City Council Member Zack Matheny putting Nathan Duggins from Tuggles Duggins and Meschan Law firm , a TREBIC silver member on the Greensboro Transit Authority . He also put Richard Beard from Simpson Schulman and Beard Developer , a TREBIC bronze member on War Memorial Commission.

Greensboro City Council Member Goldie Wells reappointing Ray Trapp from Triad Apartment Association , a member of TREBIC to zoning board.

It might be time for someone to do a Freedom of Information Act on the City of Greensboro and just take the planning board,zoning board, board of adjustment and Greensboro Transit Authority and really find out just how many are connected to TREBIC.Jordan Green, Hammer Brothers , N&R are you listening.

Triadwatch is trying to inform the citizens of this area on aspects of local government that need to change for the better. The only way to do this is to inform the citizens of the triad. These observations and my interpretation of conflicts of interest could be argued differently by someone else which I am sure someone from Brooks Pierce etc. etc. will take a different angle as to my analysis. But, to have a law firm take money from the city then turn around and represent a client in front of the city to me is a conflict of interest.


Roch101 said...

Can you tell me your point in 25 words? I didn't get it.

triadwatch said...

read again

triadwatch said...

roch, a lot of this information needs to get exposed for all to see. It needs to be brought out in the open. Because nobody else is doing it.

Anonymous said...

what year did you grad from Grimsley?

triadwatch said...