Gov. Bev Perdue said she has asked the state Department of Transportation to look into the purchases of expensive high-tech surveillance equipment from a private security firm with ties to Tony Rand, her incoming parole board chairman.
"I think we need to get to the bottom of all the questions that have been raised in the media," Perdue told reporters Tuesday after a news conference at a Raleigh warehouse to announce a new task force, Rob Christensen reports.
"I have asked that the Secretary of Transportation to do that," Perdue said.
She said purchases made by the Division of Motor Vehicles and other state agencies were being reviewed. She said the results would be made public.
The News and Observer reported over the weekend that at least four state agencies had purchased equipment from the Raleigh-based Law Enforcement Associates since 2003.
Rand is chairman of the board of the company. He is stepping down as Senate majority leader to become Perdue's parole chief.
Perdue noted that she had purchased about 1,000 shares in LEA's stock earlier in the decade, but that she never sought to sell it.
"I continue to lose money on it," Perdue said. "But I held it the way I held stocks in other North Carolina companies believing in the dream of North Carolina."
Asked how she came to buy the stocks, Perdue said, "I would imagine it was something that was discussed just among friends because it was a company where we knew the principals."
But she also said that state government should show a preference in buying goods and services from North Carolina companies, even if it means paying three or four percent more.
Perdue said there should be complete disclosure surrounding state contracts.
"The bottom line is North Carolina should have and is in the process of having a state contract and purchasing system which completely discloses every contract, every price and every company awarded that contract in a fair and transparent manner," she said.