Dana Cope

SEANC members to choose Dana Cope's replacement

A chance to right the ship and move forward:

The outsider candidate is Art Anthony, one of two former board members who blew the whistle by bringing evidence of misconduct to The News & Observer.

The insider candidate is Ross Hailey, SEANC’s first vice president and sole member of the committee that initially investigated allegations of misconduct.

No doubt there is a flurry of e-mails and backroom bullying going on that would rival NCDP maneuverings, but hopefully members will note the significance of having a long weekend to contemplate their decision. By 1893, over half of the states had enacted Labor Day holidays, but North Carolina was not one of them. And right now, our state has the lowest union membership rate, hovering close to only 2%. And the *worst* effect Dana Cope had on SEANC is to reinforce the prejudicial and management-fostered meme of corrupt union bosses. Business as usual ain't gonna work anymore:

Grand Jury indicts Dana Cope

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He should have flown away in his little plane when he had the chance:

A Wake County grand jury indicted Cope, 45, on two counts of obtaining property by false pretenses. He had been SEANC’s director for 15 years before resigning in February, shortly after Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman launched a criminal investigation.

The case has also prompted the resignations of two other top SEANC officials: Tom Harris, counsel and chief of staff; and Toni Davis, communications director. SEANC’s financial director was demoted and its member services director was put on a year’s probation.

I take no satis...Okay, I take some satisfaction in his downfall, but I sincerely hope SEANC recovers (quickly) from this mess. State employees need and deserve a strong Association to help them weather the GOP storm, which would reduce their ranks significantly if left unchecked.

Dana Cope's fall from grace continues

Leaving sweat stains on his proper shirts:

The News & Observer independently obtained additional records of Cope’s spending. They show he used a SEANC credit card last fall for purchases from a luxury tour company, a North Hills art gallery, a Texas purveyor of upscale Western wear and a London clothier.

Those sorts of expenditures have prompted Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman to ask investigators to broaden their inquiry into Cope’s spending. In addition, SEANC is working to claw back a severance payment given to Cope when he resigned.

Don't have much sympathy for SEANC's efforts to "claw back" (love that terminology, by the way) whatever size pile of money they gave Cope when he exited the stage. They had ample evidence he had sunk his claws into a lot of Association funds for personal use in recent years, so throwing more money at him was inappropriate at best. Here's some of that personal use:

Probe into Cope's financial irregularities gets serious

Not exactly sure how serious, but SEANC's 55,000 members deserve better answers than they've gotten so far:

Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman said Monday she is asking the State Bureau of Investigation to conduct a criminal inquiry about possible financial improprieties at the State Employees Association of North Carolina.

Freeman said the SBI inquiry is one step short of a criminal investigation. The SBI will review and attempt to validate information provided to Freeman. "Regardless of how outrageous people may feel the conduct has been, the question is whether there is evidence a crime has occurred," Freeman said. "Poor judgment and abuse of authority does not necessarily equal criminal activity."

Dana Cope's questionable spending of SEANC funds

It's good to be the King Executive Director:

A memo justified the check as computer work done by the D.C. company with a name very similar to the local landscaping company. The owner of the computer company said he closed the firm in 2003 and never worked in North Carolina. Cope and SEANC’s general counsel admit the memo is phony but will not explain beyond saying it’s a personnel matter.

There was irrigation work done at the SEANC building four months later. But that work cost $685.25 and was done by a long-established company in Garner, records show. Since last March, Cope has directed SEANC to write checks totaling $109,078.50 to Perspective Landscape Concepts, the company also working on projects at Cope’s Raleigh home, or to its owner, Perry Pope.

Pope, the owner of Perspective Landscape Concepts, declined to say whether SEANC money had paid for work at Cope’s house. “I don’t want to answer that question,” Pope said. “I don’t have to answer that question.”

For those SEANC board members wringing their hands over this, you have nobody to blame but yourselves. We've been calling for Cope's ouster since before any of these checks were written, for several good reasons. And when you continue to support him as you have done and apparently still are:

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