08/04/11 — Questions are raised about LaRoque salary

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Questions are raised about LaRoque salary

By From staff reports
Published in News on August 4, 2011 1:46 PM

N.C. Rep. Stephen LaRoque

State Rep. Stephen LaRoque is coming under fire for his involvement in two nonprofits that he heads in Kinston.

The organizations, East Carolina Development Co. and Piedmont Development Co., are now housed and run under a for-profit company, the LaRoque Management Group, according to a report published Wednesday by N.C. Policy Watch, an arm of the N.C. Justice Center, a progressive nonprofit anti-poverty organization.

In the group's report, LaRoque is criticized for receiving $100,000 to $195,000 a year in compensation, stacking the board of directors with immediate family members, which isn't completely in line with USDA and IRS rules, funneling federal loan money to close associates and for making loans above the USDA cap.

However, the report also goes on to state that while these issues are being examined by the USDA, neither LaRoque or the nonprofits have been disciplined by federal officials in any way.

Phone messages left for LaRoque were unreturned.

Bob Jackson, Wayne County's Republican Party chairman, looked at the report Wednesday night and acknowledged that it did raise some questions that likely should be looked into.

"If there was anything that was illegal, then certainly we would support whatever remedy there is. If he's done anything illegal, certainly that needs to be addressed," he said. "But if it's not illegal, then you have to look at whether it's improper, and if it's improper in who's mind."

He added that while there has been some differences of personality regarding La-Roque's style of legislating, most in the GOP have been satisfied with the job the Lenoir County Republican has done in his first year back in Raleigh.

"I don't know everything he has done," Jackson said. "He certainly was one of the central guys on the annexation issue and we certainly appreciate his efforts in that regard."