NC Gov.'s staff accused of doctoring Garden Parkway letters

by: Holly Maynard Updated:


RALEIGH, N.C. - North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue’s staff has been accused of altering a crucial letter from the Department of Transportation.

The letter told lawmakers not to fund the controversial Garden Parkway. However, by the time the letter reached the state Senate, it said the body should fund the toll road project.

Now, questions are swirling about the series of letters to state Senators.

The first letter was allegedly altered by the governor's staff.  It was signed by the state's transportation chief, Jim Trogdon, and requested $63 million be added to the budget to start construction on two toll projects, one of which is the Garden Parkway. 

The parkways would run from I-485 in Charlotte to Interstate 85 in Bessemer City.

But then, another letter from Trogdon was sent, telling senators the first letter was bogus.  Trogdon said he did not sign or approve it.

Reports from Raleigh said the alleged fraudulent letters came from Perdue's office and were drawn up by the governor's staff on DOT stationary with an electronic signature from Jim Trogdon.

Some Republicans want answers.

“When you’re spending tens of millions of dollars, it’s based upon information from the executive branch to the legislative branch that is, in fact, true. If somebody’s lying to you, you’re not going to make the right decision,” said Sen. Peter Brunsetter, the rules committee chairman.

Late Tuesday afternoon, Trogdon’s and Perdue’s offices issued statements saying the letters were all a misunderstanding. The letters said Trogdon was unavailable to approve the budget letters last week and a mix up between his office and the governor’s office resulted in the wrong letters being sent to lawmakers.

Trogdon will have to explain it to a Senate panel during a hearing on Wednesday.