Wednesday, December 02, 2009

More trouble for Dems

N.C. Senate Majority Leader Tony Rand, a Democrat who plans to step down from his post by the end of the year to become Gov. Bev Perdue's chairman of the N.C. Post-Release Supervision and Parole Commission, has been accused of engaging in insider trading in a business where he is chairman of the board, N&O business writer Alan Wolf reports.

A lot of speculation around Raleigh has concerned why Rand would step down now. One theory was that he had had enough of the Senate and wanted out. The latest news story will spark more speculation, of course. It's all "hogwash," Rand told the N&O.

One ironic link: The company whose board he chairs was a spinoff of Sirchie Finger Print Laboratories, a business begun by former state Sen. John Carrington, a Republican who ran into trouble with the feds over some illegal exports of law enforcement equipment to China. He paid a fine and served a year on probation in that case.

Wolf writes on the N&O Web site:

In a complaint filed with the U.S. Department of Labor, Paul Feldman, who claims he was illegally fired as president of Law Enforcement Associates in August, alleges that Rand had a scheme to profit from manipulating the value of LEA stock.

Rand, the Fayetteville Democrat who plans to step down from the state Senate this month, has been chairman of LEA's board since 2003. The company, which makes security and surveillance equipment, was spun off in 2001 from Sirchie Finger Print Laboratories, a Franklin County company started by former state Sen. John Carrington.

In his complaint, Feldman also alleges that Rand told another LEA executive that he previously had traded the stock of Raleigh-based First Citizens Bank based on inside information he had gotten from former president Frank Holding. Rand said that he "planned to do the same to LEA stock," Feldman wrote.
Rand called the charges "insane" and "hogwash."

"He's a disgruntled ex-employee," Rand said Wednesday in a phone interview. "I'm embarrassed that Frank Holding has even been mentioned in this mess. But I guess that is part of it, when you are in business and in politics. People think you are fair game and maybe you are."