In one of their most heated exchanges at the second statewide TV debate, Walter Dalton brought up a 1997 U.S. Supreme Court case, which raised the question of whether Pat McCrory, as Charlotte mayor pro tem, had acted inappropriately when the Charlotte City Council voted to condemn some farmland on behalf of Duke Energy, McCrory’s employer at the time.
Justice I. Beverly Lake Jr., a Republican, raised questions about McCrory’s actions in a dissenting opinion in the case.
“He was looking after that special interest,” Dalton said. “He was certainly not looking after the farmer. I think that says it all. I am going to work for the working people and the senior citizens and the middle class.”
In his response, McCrory dodged the charge and didn't answer for the court opinion.
“I have 34 years of business experience with Duke Energy that I am very proud of,” McCrory said. “I was employed with them while I was mayor and never was there a question of ethical indiscretion. … This is the private sector experience that we desperately need in the executive office. We need someone who understands business.”
Dalton also renewed his call on McCrory to release his tax returns for his current employment with the large Charlotte law firm of Moore & Van Allen. Since McCrory was neither a lawyer nor a registered lobbyist, Dalton wondered whether the firm was using McCrory as a potential future governor to line up clients. Dalton even used his now favorite, cha-ching, cha-ching line.
--Rob Christensen and John Frank, staff writers