LaRoque found guilty on all 12 charges

More details will follow later, but the instructive parts of this story have been available for some time now, and there's more to this than just a greedy man getting caught with his hands in the till.

Economic problems that plague our rural areas are unique and extremely difficult to address. There simply isn't enough capital already in place to generate the type of growth that could end up being self-sustaining, which is why the federal government created and funds various programs to invest in those areas. Sometimes these efforts succeed, and sometimes they fail, but that's the nature of business. And for many communities, these programs may be their last chance:

Eloy’s post-war economy adjusted to the change in the cotton economy and the city has grown steadily. In 2001, however, a major job loss resulted in a spike in unemployment to 14.7% by 2010, almost twice the national average of 7.9%. Today, Eloy’s historic downtown is dominated by vacant buildings
surrounded by large, empty lots.

The lagging local economy, large fixed costs associated with starting a new business, and a lack of business training was an obstacle to the successful entrance of new businesses to Eloy. The City decided the best resource they could provide local entrepreneurs was to create a business incubator in the downtown area that would provide affordable office space for lease as well as business training and counseling.

To create the business incubator, the City partnered with the Holmes Family Trust and USDA. Holmes Family Trust, managed by descendants of one of Eloy’s first residents, owned most of the downtown buildings and donated the large, old post office building for redevelopment as a business incubator.

USDA provided a $99,000 Rural Business Enterprise Grant to the City for renovations on the historic building, and the Holmes Family Trust matched the USDA grant. After the financing for the redevelopment of the building was secured, the City established a partnership with Central Arizona College which runs business development centers throughout the state. They now provide training and support to the tenants of the new Eloy business incubator.

The newly renovated historic downtown building, officially named Eloy Business Center, has eight office spaces. The building is equipped with modern amenities that all tenants share. Tenants have access to WiFi, a fax machine, a copier machine, and meeting space. The Eloy Business Center rents out the office space to local businesses at affordable prices to promote business growth. In addition, Central Arizona College offers one-on-one confidential counseling at no cost to the small business tenants. The counseling covers many topics such as financial planning, marketing, feasibility studies, and strategic planning.

There are many other case studies to look at, but a very common core element has to do with partnering. Between the government, charitable groups and non-profits. These partnerships represent more than just groups who decide to come together on particular projects; it's a formula, in which each element provides structural integrity. The federal government's involvement ensures continuity of the project and a certain level of integrity, and many of these private-sector partners will not engage without that government element.

The reason I stressed that last part is to demonstrate the far-reaching effect selfish and corrupt behavior like former Representative LaRoque engaged in could have. Not only did he betray the trust of his neighbors by taking money that should have been injected into the community, he has put the very process of rural development loans in jeopardy. And if those loans dry up, it's very likely the partners will also step back, and the people who live in our rural areas will pay the price.

I might be able to forgive LaRoque for being a greedy bastard, but I can't forgive him for so casually putting the entire system of rural development at risk.


Even worse

McCrory's privatization scheme is going to make LaRoque's transgressions look like a stroll in the park. Special interests are already bellying up to the corporate welfare trough, with friends in high places to grease the skids. What little transparency we have will be erased in the name of "corporate privacy." And folks with inside connections will line their pockets at taxpayer expense.

And remember, LaRoque has long been a poster child for Republican "leadership" and a BFF of Toxic Thom's. Who knows, maybe LaRoque will be one of Tillis' surrogates in the lock-up.

Finally! Self-Reliance and Accountability!

“Government can’t be all things to all people,” said LaRoque, a conservative Republican from Kinston, in a televised debate before his 2010 re-election. “We need more self-reliance and accountability.” (source NCPolicyWatch)

Now Stephen will have ample opportunity to practice the self-reliance and accountability that he craves.

"I will have a priority on building relationships with the minority caucus. I want to put substance behind those campaign speeches." -- Thom Tillis, Nov. 5, 2014

LaRoque was a bad egg.

Is it wrong to be gleeful that this person has been convicted? On some level, I'm sure it is, but I'm gleeful anyway to see this colossal jerk get what he had coming to him.

This man was stink, stank and stunk all rolled up into one very bad example of the kind of leaders the "Tea Party" stranglehold on the GOP has produced.

Something tells me there is more to come . . .

Well Said

I wouldn't touch him with a 29-1/2 foot pole.

"I will have a priority on building relationships with the minority caucus. I want to put substance behind those campaign speeches." -- Thom Tillis, Nov. 5, 2014

Thank God I'm not the only one

I actually caught myself feeling bad about feeling good that this jerk was found guilty. I half-expected him to weasel out of the charges and get elected to the House again in a few years, while still playing the feudal lord/loan shark game back at home.

I'm pretty sure if he tries any of that stuff in prison, he will at least get his feelings hurt...

scharrison said...

"I'm pretty sure if he tries any of that stuff in prison, he will at least get his feelings hurt..."

...and I am practicing remarkable restraint by not replying with what popped into mind...

"I will have a priority on building relationships with the minority caucus. I want to put substance behind those campaign speeches." -- Thom Tillis, Nov. 5, 2014


I remember reading about this some time ago. Karma is hell.

Stan Bozarth

He had the best lawyer, the best possible representation

If anyone could have sprung him, Cheshire could. Steve, I easily overcame the suspicion that I ought to feel bad about feeling good by reflecting on the likelihood that LaRoque is immune to a sense of shame. He is going to continue to self-justify, to consider his conviction a miscarriage of justice, and to operate in or out of prison the same old way. His problem isn't just that he is corrupt, but that he's actually rather stupid. That won't change.