Illario Pantano, a two-time GOP congressional candidate from the Wilmington area, will start next week as assistant secretary for the State Division of Veterans Affairs.
Pantano is a businessman, author and former Marine who first came to national attention when he was accused by the Marines of murder after shooting two unarmed Iraqis held in captivity during the Iraq War in 2004. An article 32 hearing found no credible evidence or testimony for the accusation and the Marines declined to prosecute Pantano, dropping all charges.
Pantano served as vice chairman of Veterans for McCrory during last year's gubernatorial campaign. Administration Secretary Bill Daughtridge interviewed four individuals for the position, according to a spokesman. Pantano will be paid $90,000 per year.
The position assists veterans and their families in getting their benefits, in providing nursing care, in coordinating with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and other duties.
Pantano's hiring was first reported in The Insider newsletter.