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:
Thomas Harris, SEANC’s legal counsel, said the organization’s executive committee is satisfied with how the money has been spent. “We paid money to the Perspective Landscape Concepts for work that has been done and has yet to be done,” Harris said. “The replacement of the irrigation system is one of the things still to be done in the future.”
The SEANC checks went to the organization’s account at Blue Line. As of Jan. 7, Cope had used $8,191.91; the account held an additional $13,208.09, according to a Blue Line memo. Cope told SEANC’s executive committee about the flight lessons only after The N&O inquired about them in January. First Vice President Ross Hailey Jr. said the board gave a retroactive approval to the lessons.
You're allowing Cope to spread the responsibility for his actions over a larger group of people, and encouraging even greater misuse of funds in the future.