Easleys taking wrong course by remaining silent

Published 10:26 pm Tuesday, May 26, 2009

By Staff
Former North Carolina Gov. Mike Easley is in a world of hurt — and it’s of his own making. Allegations engulfing him and first lady Mary Easley have garnered more and more speculation of late simply because Easley has refused to be forthcoming.
Since the story broke in the Raleigh News and Observer within the past month, Easley has steadfastly refused to offer anything more than a two-sentence statement defending himself.
He has not responded to several requests for interviews from the Associated Press and is holed up like a man who is, well, guilty of something. It’s our view that regardless of innocence or guilt, his reputation has already been tarnished by his avoiding the tough questions and thus creating the perception that he has something to hide.
According to the AP, authorities are looking into allegations about free flights on privately owned planes and loaner cars from dealerships, They’re also investigating a land purchase in a gated coastal community and how Mary Easley obtained her job at N.C. State University in 2005 that with a recent gigantic raise now pays her $170,000 a year.
Mary Easley had — euphemistically speaking — a press conference last week, but didn’t say a word. Instead, she stood next to her lawyer at the podium as he declared she had no plans to resign. “Prudent” was the word he used to describe Mary Easley’s silence.
The AP reported that the Easleys have not been charged with a crime, and it still unknown if the allegations of their unethical behavior are true. It could be months before that’s determined — longer, of course, if the Easleys maintain their silence.
The longer the Easleys wait to get out their full side of the story, the further harm they’ll do themselves. If they’re guilty of crimes or of unethical behavior, it’s best to get it out now, admit fault, apologize, and move on.
Unfortunately, they are so far mimicking too many former public officials whose lives were turned upside down when they tried to cover up ill-advised behavior. We hope the Easleys are eventually exonerated, but they’ll have to help themselves if that’s to happen.