North Carolina Dems gave fat payout to private law firm defending infamous Confederate tribute: report
Josh Stein on Facebook.

The top two Democrats in North Carolina approved a massive payout to a private law firm that was seeking to keep a controversial Confederate monument at one of the state's largest universities, according to a new report.

"Two years ago, UNC-Chapel Hill was embroiled in tumult over its controversial decision to hand over funds, along with its 'Silent Sam' statue, to a neo-Confederate group. Now, new documents obtained under a public records request to the state attorney general show that the offices of North Carolina governor Roy Cooper and attorney general Josh Stein signed off on a major increase in the amount an outside lawyer was allowed to bill on the issue, to the tune of $250,000," Durham's INDY Week reported Wednesday.

Womble Bond Dickinson LLP and attorney Ripley Rand received the payments after the statue was given to the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV)

"Greg Doucette, a Durham attorney who first blew the whistle on the irregular settlement between the SCV and the BOG by pointing out that the lawsuit was filed and settled within minutes, says Stein in particular had a duty to step in. 'I think it was malpractice by the attorney general’s office,' Doucette says. 'The whole thing was corrupt as f*ck.' Doucette says that a criminal investigation is warranted. He believes that Rand’s statements in court and by university officials in legal filings constitute a 'sham legal proceeding.' The so-called settlement, he says, was a way for the university to make a deal without the required transparency for the allocation of university funds," the weekly explained.

Elizabeth Haddix, the managing attorney for the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, also questioned the deal.

“We were extremely disappointed about how Attorney General Stein responded to this,” Haddix says. “Given that the public money issue had already been a major issue in the case, the lack of transparency, the obvious collaboration between the [Board of Governors] and the SCV, Ripley Rand’s personal relationship with Judge Baddour, and the improper back-channel communications that happened all around the case and before the consent order was entered was a real concern.”

Haddix concluded "there should have been a lot more transparency and there should have been a lot more questions asked by these public officials.”

Read the full report.