Filings with the North Carolina Ethics Commission show Gov. Pat McCrory failed to properly disclose his ownership of Duke Energy stock in 2013.
McCrory has been under scrutiny for his relationship with Duke Energy since a massive coal ash spill in February coated 70 miles of the Dan River with toxic sludge.
McCrory worked for the utility for 28 years, which critics say helped lead to more relaxed regulations and weak punishments for the spill. The governor has said that there has been no special treatment for Duke.
The governor said he sold all of his stock with the power company; and in a filing with the state Ethics Commission for 2013, McCrory did not list his ownership of Duke Energy stock.
However on Wednesday, McCrory filed an amendment saying he did still own at least $10,000 worth of stock in Duke Energy at the end of last year.
McCrory apologized for the mistake and insisted the discrepancy is a misunderstanding. McCrory said his attorneys believed the disclosure applied to stocks he owned as of the day he filed in April 2014.
“I’m sorry. My legal counsel misread it and I thought we were following the instructions,” McCrory said.
The filings require disclosure of stocks owned up until Dec. 31, 2013.
“The form was filled out based on an interpretation from my legal counsel that the information should be current as of April 15, 2014. Following his discussion with staff for the State Ethics Commission, it was clarified that disclosure should be based upon ownership as of December 31, 2013,” McCrory said in a statement. “When we determined our interpretation was incorrect, we immediately took steps to correct it.”
This is the second correction the governor has made for his 2014 filing.
In the filing dated April 15, 2014, McCrory listed that he owned stock in Spectra Energy. A filing a month later, removed Spectra from that list with a note that the stock had been sold prior to April 15.
However an August 2014 amendment adds Spectra Energy back on to the 2014 filing and also adds Duke Energy.
A spokesman for McCrory said the governor sold his Duke Energy stock between April 9 and 14, more than two months after the Feb. 2 coal ash spill.
On Wednesday, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources issued Duke Energy a directive to submit plans for moving coal ash from four of its waste pits as part of an executive order McCrory issued after lawmakers adjourned without agreement on a proposed plan requiring the company to dig up or cap its 33 pits.
DENR also directed Duke to increase drinking water testing at the company’s ash dumps.
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