Corruption

Chad Stevens

Last weekend marked the fifth anniversary of the Upper Big Branch mine disaster in West Virginia—the nation’s worst coal mine disaster in decades. Massey Energy, one of the largest American coal companies, ran the mine, and its CEO Don Blankenship has since been indicted on charges that he deliberately concealed health and safety violations at the mining site.

Stephen LaRoque
North Carolina General Assembly

Stephen LaRoque, a former high-ranking member of the North Carolina House of Representatives, pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting theft at a federal court in Greenville on Monday.

LaRoque, who resigned his house seat after he was indicted in 2012, entered a plea as part of a deal with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, allowing him to avoid a trial originally scheduled for next week. He will pay $300,000 in restitution and faces up to 10 years in prison, the attorney’s office said in a statement. Sentencing is scheduled for May 12.

Steph Guinan / Carolina Public Press

The State Ethics Commission is a small group of officials that has the large task of looking out for public corruption. 

Commissioners investigate everything from public officials’ investments to possible conflicts of interest in state government. But a 2012 report gave North Carolina a “C” when it comes to ethics enforcement. 

Wake County District Attorney Colon WIlloughby
http://web.co.wake.nc.us/ / Wake County District Attorney's Office

  

In his 27 years as Wake County’s District Attorney, Colon Willoughby has prosecuted everything from high-profile murder cases to corruption in state government. For Willoughby, integrity and impartiality are vital components of the role. 

NC Department of Health and Human Services logo
NC Department of Health and Human Services

  

North Carolina's Department of Health and Human Services' policy manual requires justification memos whenever the department hires contract workers.

A records request by the News and Observer shows several hirings were made without the proper documentation. Host Frank Stasio talks with Joe Neff, investigative reporter for the News and Observer, about the department’s procedures.

GlaxoSmithKline
GlaxoSmithKline

Authorities in China say a number of senior executives working for GlaxoSmithKline in that country have been placed under criminal investigation for suspected bribery and tax related violations.  The British pharmaceutical company's US headquarters are in Research Triangle Park. 

In an interview broadcast on WUNC, the BBC’s John Sudworth reported that the ministry of public security said the employees offered large bribes to officials, medical associations, hospitals and doctors to boost drug sales.