More records sought in probe of former N.C. governor's wife

RALEIGH, N.C. — Federal investigators have subpoenaed documents related to the wife of former Gov. Mike Easley from state auditor Beth A. Wood.

Wood's office was served with a subpoena late Friday, said Dennis Patterson, a spokesman for the auditor's office, on Tuesday.

Last fall, the auditor's office, then led by Les Merritt, said that it had determined that state-funded trips Mary Easley took to France, Estonia and Russia while first lady included "unreasonable and excessive expenses." Patterson said he could not reveal whether the auditor's office had investigated Easley's controversial $170,000-a-year job at N.C. State University or anything else about her beyond the trips.

The investigators had not yet picked up any documents as of mid-day, he said.

NCSU received similar subpoenas last week from federal prosecutors seeking records about how Easley got her job and, last year, a promotion and raise. They also issued subpoenas seeking testimony from two university officers.

Investigators are looking into activities of former Gov. Mike Easley, including travel records. A News & Observer series earlier this month detailed dozens of free flights that Mike Easley had accepted from friends and supporters, some in apparent violation of campaign laws and ethics rules. An earlier N&O story revealed that Mary Easley was driving a car owned by a Charlotte auto dealer and NASCAR team owner, and that the Easleys' son was driving an SUV owned by another car dealer.

Mary Easley got a job at NCSU in 2005. Last summer, the university expanded her duties and gave her an 88 percent raise.

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