Wake District Attorney Colon Willoughby had decided not to pursue criminal charges following a trio of SBI investigations involving allegations of wrongdoing at the state Division of Motor Vehicles.
The SBI was called in to investigate in 2009 over improper gifts and meals provided DMV employees by Verizon Business, which holds a lucrative no-bid contract to provide computers to state inspection stations. The SBI was also asked to determine whether the state paid Verizon for hundreds of computers that were never delivered.
After reviewing the SBI's report, Willoughby said this week that the gifts and meals, while unethical, did not rise to the level of criminal bribery. He said he also thought that the administrative penalties issued against the employees involved were punishment enough.
"I didn't think criminal charges were warranted," Willoughby said. "Most of that involved ethics and management issues. There was evidence of improper relationships, but there was no evidence of bribery."
The DA said the SBI found no evidence of criminal wrongdoing involving $64,124 in no-bid purchases by DMV from surveillance equipment maker Law Enforcement Associates, a small Raleigh company with ties to then-Senate majority leader Tony Rand.
The purchases were made under the supervision of then-DMV commissioner George Tatum, who is a friend of Rand's, and then-Department of Transportation Sec. Lyndo Tippett, who is Rand's longtime personal accountant. Records showed both Tatum and Tippett owned thousands of shares of LEA stock, as did members of their immediate families.
Willoughby said the purchase amounts involved were relatively small and that there was no direct evidence that Rand, Tippett or Tatum exercised undue influence to persuade their subordinates to buy equipment from the company in which they had an ownership stake.
"There wasn't any evidence of undue influence," Willoughby said.
Willoughby said there would also be no criminal charges from the accusation that Rand pressured the owner of a company that makes devices to thwart drunken drivers to sell out to LEA.
Larry "Jerry" Mobley, the founder and sole owner of Monitech, said that after he spurned Rand's offer to buy his business that he faced retaliation from DMV, which regulated his ability to sell his products in North Carolina.