NC House Speaker Tim Moore has some explaining to do.
Moore leads Republicans in North Carolina’s House of Representatives and is second only to Senate Pro Tempore Phil Berger when it comes to political muscle in the state.
WRAL just broke the news that Moore and an unidentified “John Doe” are being sued in Wake County Superior Court over Moore’s alleged extramarital relationship with the wife of a Wake County Public Schools assistant principal.
Scott Lassiter serves as an administrator at Connections Academy Middle School and was on Apex’s Town Council from 2011-2015.
Lassiter’s lawsuit alleges that his wife Jamie Liles Lassiter, who serves as Executive Director of the North Carolina Conference of Clerks of Superior Court, engaged in an extramarital affair with Moore which ultimately led to the end of the Lassiter’s marriage.
The suit claims that when confronted by her husband,
“Mrs. Lassiter tearfully confessed that she had been involved in an extramarital affair with Defendant Tim Moore for more than three years, that she had engaged in sexual activity with Defendant Tim Moore (including group sex with other individuals seeking Defendant Tim Moore’s political favor), and that she feared ending the relationship with Defendant Tim Moore would result in losing her job.”
According to the lawsuit, Mr. Lassiter and Speaker Moore met at a Biscuitville to discuss the matter four days later.
At the Biscuitville meeting, Moore allegedly admitted the affair and asked Lassiter if there was anything [Moore] could do for Lassiter, “implying that he could use the power he held as Speaker in some way to benefit Plaintiff.”
The lawsuit also claims that earlier this month an unidentified man (“John Doe” in the court filing) secretly installed a camera in a tree in Lassiter’s yard pointing at Lassiter’s house “to capture photos and video recordings of Plaintiff without Plaintiff’s consent.”
For his part, Speaker Moore claims the allegations are “baseless” and says he intends to “vigorously defend this action.”
With North Carolina’s Republican state legislators poised to massively expand public funding for school vouchers, a new analysis of school enrollment vs. current voucher spending finds that private schools may be fraudulently claiming millions of dollars in vouchers for students they don’t have.
Charlotte-area Representative Tricia Cotham’s recent betrayal of her constituents by switching parties just months after being elected handed a supermajority to the NC GOP and effectively ended Governor Cooper’s ability to veto bad legislation.
Cotham and her school-privatizing colleagues then filed a bill which will increase funding for vouchers by hundreds of millions of dollars a year as well as eliminating income eligibility requirements, meaning taxpayers will now subsidize the private school tuition of wealthy families whose children already attend private schools.
You’d think that North Carolina’s Republican leadership would want taxpayers to know whether they’re getting a good return on investment for all those billions of dollars that will now be flowing into private schools instead of public schools. After all, we’re talking about the self-styled party of fiscal responsibility, right?
But NC’s “Opportunity Scholarship” voucher system is the least accountable in the nation, requiring no tests to measure student learning outcomes. We have no way of knowing whether all that money is actually helping children.
Nordstrom compared enrollment numbers with voucher claims and found multiple cases where private schools claimed more vouchers than they had students, and even some cases where private schools accepted voucher payments from the state after the schools had closed.
Credit: Kris Nordstrom, NC Justice Center
The data shows at least $2.3 million in fraudulent payments, but it’s possible the real number is much higher. That’s because hundreds of vouchers have been paid out to schools that don’t even report enrollment.
Our General Assembly needs to pump the brakes on voucher expansion and focus on improving Opportunity Scholarship’s accountability–both in tracking how taxpayer money is doled out and in objectively measuring the impact of vouchers on student learning outcomes. North Carolina deserves nothing less.