SBI to close meeting probe in ‘near future’

Published 9:54 am Wednesday, February 21, 2007

By Staff
Anonymous letter remains a mystery; still investigating
By NIKIE MAYO, News Editor
The State Bureau of Investigation’s probe into the King Chicken meeting between some Beaufort County commissioners and school board members will be over “in the near future,” said a spokeswoman for the state’s attorney general.
Canada didn’t know if closing the case would take “two days or two weeks” or longer.
That’s more than anyone in Beaufort County has heard lately, said spokesmen from both sides of the case.
Since last fall, the SBI has been looking into what occurred during a May 2006 meeting at King Chicken restaurant on Carolina Avenue. Present at the meeting were commissioners’ Chairman Jay McRoy and Commissioner Robert Cayton, then-school board Chairman Bryant Hardison and school board member F. Mac Hodges.
Hardison said McRoy called the meeting to discuss the schools’ budget. According to Hardison, McRoy said the schools would not get the money unless Superintendent Jeff Moss were fired. McRoy describes the meeting as “four people having breakfast.” McRoy said he couldn’t speak about finances on behalf of the whole county board.
Moss said Tuesday he has had no update or contact with the SBI since the agency’s interviews here were finished. The county leaders’ interviews were wrapped in late November, and school leaders’ were questioned several weeks earlier.
County Manager Paul Spruill said he and commissioners had heard “not a thing in the world” as of Monday.
Meanwhile, the contents of the anonymous letter remain a mystery. It was sent to Gov. Mike Easley’s office, according to a resolution the commissioners adopted in December.
A telephone request from the Daily News to the governor’s office in December for a copy of the letter was fruitless because the correspondence couldn’t be found. The governor’s office doesn’t track anonymous letters received, spokeswomen said then. That policy is still in effect.