UPDATE, July 18: Hall resigned today, saying “It is the right decision for the organization and the rural communities we serve.” Gov. Pat McCrory had asked him and the board chair to quit, and has stopped the flow of money to the center.
Controversy continues to cloud the North Carolina Rural Economic Development Center. A state audit report released Wednesday says the center "has failed to provide proper oversight of millions in state money and pays its longtime president an 'unreasonable' salary of $221,000," Raleigh News & Observer.
|Billy Ray Hall|
In June, we noted the News & Observer's two-part series saying the center is controlled by politicians, has claimed to create jobs that don't exist, and has spent millions of taxpayer dollars to support big businesses. The center responded to the accusations, saying the stories were inaccurate. Our story, the News and Observer's stories, and the center's responses to us can be viewed here.
Hall responded to the recent claims in a statement to the News & Observer, saying auditors had “identified opportunities for us to strengthen the way we monitor the performance of those who receive grants and we are currently making improvements to address those issues," and the center is committed to “being a good steward of state funds.” (Read more) Republicans who recently took over state government are trying to reduce the center's funding; the audit was done by the office of State Auditor Beth Wood, a Democrat.