In N. Carolina, governor's wife suddenly mired in controversy

RALEIGH — She's led a campaign to stop teens from drinking and worked to put North Carolina on the arts map. She's read to schoolchildren and honored teachers. She's trained lawyers and police officers.

Mary Easley, 58, has been North Carolina's first lady for nearly eight years. For most of that time, when she sought the spotlight, it was for causes important to her, such as underage drinking, education or the arts.

But as Gov. Mike Easley's second and final term winds down, Mary Easley has been dragged into the public eye over first-class trips to Europe at state expense and an 88 percent pay increase for her job at N.C. State University.

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