VOUCHER PROPONENT DARRELL ALLISON NAMED IN NCCU BID-RIGGING LAWSUIT: The lawsuit describes "a series of secret meetings" on N.C. Central's plans to build new on-campus student housing, including a Sunday evening meeting at Akinleye's home in September and an October meeting at Allison's office in downtown Raleigh. At the October meeting, Durant alleges that he told Allison the university needed to run "a fair, open and competitive" contract process. The suit alleges that Allison responded, "In the private sector, we go through those processes too, but we already know the developer we are going to pick up front." Allison denied that. "I know nothing about the vendor process," he said. "I didn't inquire about it. ... I would never reach my hand, or intervene in any way, to manipulate that."
BERNIE SANDERS WIELDING INFLUENCE IN SOME NC DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY RACES: Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent whose insurgent progressive movement shook up the 2016 Democratic primary campaign, will be in Durham on Thursday for a public event at Duke University Chapel. The impact of his presidential campaign and continued push for progressive policies will be evident, too, on the May 8 primary ballot all over North Carolina. Supporters of Sanders are running in Democratic primaries in several congressional districts, facing long odds but boosted by endorsements from groups created by alumni of the Sanders’ campaign. Sanders, a potential 2020 candidate for president, and former North Carolina NAACP chairman Rev. William Barber II will participate in a discussion on “The Enduring Challenge of a Moral Economy: 50 Years After Dr. King Challenged Racism, Poverty, and Militarism,” at 8 p.m. at the Duke Chapel.
FORMER PLAYBOY MODEL NOW FREE TO TALK ABOUT AFFAIR WITH TRUMP: Karen McDougal’s settlement with the company that owns the National Enquirer “restores to me the rights to my life story and frees me from this contract that I was misled into signing nearly two years ago,” she said in a statement Wednesday. In August 2016, the tabloid’s parent company, American Media Inc., paid McDougal $150,000 for the rights to her story about the alleged relationship, but the story never ran. Last month, McDougal filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles asking to invalidate the contract, which she said she was misled into signing. The suit alleged that the company didn’t publish the story because AMI’s owner, David Pecker, is “close personal friends” with Trump. It also charged that Trump’s attorney, Michael Cohen, had inappropriately intervened and was in secretly involved in discussions with AMI executives about the agreement.
GOP BANKING ON EVANGELICAL CHRISTIANS FAITHFUL TO TRUMP HELPING THEM WIN MID-TERMS: Conservative leaders, increasingly worried about a challenging 2018 campaign, are intensifying their appeals to evangelical voters frustrated with Washington, warning that failure to support GOP lawmakers in November will imperil Donald Trump and his agenda. In churches and email solicitations, through voter guides and major conferences, organizations that target Christian conservative voters plan to argue at every turn that the success of Trump’s presidency — and potentially, its very existence — is on the line this year. “The GOP’s only hope is the president,” said Tony Perkins, the president of the socially conservative Family Research Council, which is active in 15,000 churches across the country. Some are discussing putting the issue of impeachment on their issue-based voter guides, a stark reminder of the potential consequences of a Democratic-controlled Congress.
CUBA SELECTING A NEW PRESIDENT TO REPLACE RAUL CASTRO: A 57-year-old bureaucrat will take Raul Castro's place as the president of Cuba on Thursday as a government led by a single family for six decades tries to ensure the long-term survival of one of the world's last communist states. Members of the National Assembly voted Wednesday on Miguel Mario Diaz-Canel Bermudez's nomination as the sole candidate for president. The result won't be officially announced until Thursday morning but it's already clear because the assembly approves all executive branch proposals by margins of 95 percent or higher. The 86-year-old Castro will remain head of the Communist Party, which is designated by the constitution as "the superior guiding force of society and the state." As a result, he will still be the most powerful person in Cuba for the time being.